Note: Charlie Lame Deer wrote this article for the UK based Hindu Today Magazine May 2013 Edition. As Editor, I edited and designed the article and added the pictures, once approved by Charlie. Full article below
Charlie’s Grandfather John Fire Lame Deer is the author of several books including ‘Lame Deer, SEEKER of Visions’ ‘Lame Deer Speaks’ and “Lame Deer – Sioux medicine man” See full bio at end of article
By Charlie CetanWi Lame Deer
As I research Hinduism and East Indian culture am finding many startling similarities between the “Lakota” people and the Tamil People of South India. For example the aarti and puja offerings-Aarti in in my language means to build an elevated place to pray and Puja means ‘thirst. and pujapi means ‘they thirst. It is the ceremony of the pouring, offering and worship of the water-Maka We Le-Blood of the Mother or Earth Mother.
Maka means Mother and it is the same word Mata for linguistically the letters ‘k’ and ‘t are interchangable. The Kentucky region of the USA is home to my ancestors and the mound where I live is the spring solstice wing of the Sacred Serpent Uncakila. Today by the will of the cre ator there is a Hindu temple in Louisville, Kentucky; it is a Vishnu -Shiva temple. Unknown to most is that it has been built on what was once a Native American temple mound of the Mandan Indian People. Surely it is not first time Vishnu or Shiva have been worshiped on that spot.
Charlie Lame Deer’s Grandfather, John Fire Lame Deer was a Mineconju-Lakota Sioux born on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. His father was Silas Fire Let-Them-Have-Enough. His mother was Sally Red Blanket. He lived and learned with his grandparents until he was 6 or 7, after which he was placed in a day school near the family until age fourteen. He was then sent to a boarding school, one of many run by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs for Indian youth. These schools werpe designed to “civilize” the Native Americans after their forced settling on reservations.
Lame Deer’s life as a young man was rough and wild; he traveled and rode the rodeo circuit as a rider and later as a rodeo clown. According to his personal account, he drank, gambled, womanized, and once went on a several day long car theft and drinking binge. Eventually, he happened upon the house where the original peace pipe given to the Lakota by White Buffalo Calf Woman was kept; much to his surprise, the keeper of the pipe told Lame Deer she had been waiting for him for some time. This served as a turning point in Lame Deer’s life. He settled down and began his life as a wichasha wakan (“medicine man”, or more accurately, “holy man”).
Making his home at the Pine Ridge Reservation and traveling around the country, Lame Deer became known both among the Lakota and to the American public at a time when indigenous culture and spirituality were going through a period of rebirth and the psychedelic movement of the 1960s had yet to disintegrate. He often participated in American Indian Movement events, including sit-ins at the Black Hills, land legally belonging to the Lakota that had been taken back by the United States government after the discovery of gold. The Black Hills are considered to be the axis mundi or center of the world to the Lakota Indians.