Published on January 9, 2013 by Carol
Author: George P. Horse Capture
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“Provides real insight into the religion of the nineteenth-century Gros Ventre (Atsina) Indians. Known to themselves as the White Clay People, this little-known tribe now shares the Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana with the Assiniboines. However, throughout much of their recorded history they were allied with the Blackfeet. The book is a record of the spiritual life of Bull Lodge (born ca. 1802, died 1886), religions leader, healer, and for a time, keeper of the Feathered Pipe, one of the two tribal objects of the Gros Ventres…[It] makes absorbing reading. Beginning at the age of twelve. Bull Lodge sought spiritual power through the tribal Feathered Pipe. From the ages of seventeen to twenty-three he was favored with a series of seven visions on seven buttes that together outline a Gros Ventre cultural geography…”The strength of the narrative is the rich detail of ritual description: fasting, sacrifices, vision experiences, the practices of healing. By describing ritual in the context of a man’s life, the book gives a uniquely historical understanding of the dynamics of traditional religious life. It provides deeper understanding of the Gros Ventres’ way of life and gives a valuable comparative perspective on plains Indian religion”. (Raymond J. DeMallie, Western Historical Quarterly). George Horse Capture is field manager of Fort Belknap Ventures. Inc., a tribal enterprise to develop and market traditional Indian art. At present he is helping to establish a tribal museum.