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Archie Fire Lame Deer

Archie Fire Lame Deer

Hollywood stuntman and lakota siouxmedicine man
The basics
Date of birth South Dakota, U.S.A.
Date of death Jan 16, 2001
Authority VIAF id ISNI id Library of congress id
The details

Archie Fire Lame Deer or Tȟáȟča Hušté (1935-2001) was a US Army veteran, a Wicasa Wakan or Medicine man and a lecturer on Lakota people, traditions and religion. He grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation served in the US Army during the Korean war, was a Hollywood stuntman and translator. With Richard Erdoes he wrote Gift of Power: the life and teachings of a Lakota medicine man. He is the son of John Fire Lame Deer Lakota Medicine Man and the subject of the classic book, "Lame Deer Seeker of Visions with Richard Erdoes.


Archie Fire Lame Deer (April 10, 1935 – January 16, 2001) was a Lakota Sioux spiritual leader, a medicine man and a lecturer and activist of Lakota spirituality.

He was born in Corn Creek, South Dakota, on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. His father was John Fire Lame Deer, a well known Lakota holy man. Archie grew up with the guidance and teachings of his grandfather, Henry Quick Bear. He attended school at the St. Francis Indian School, but was able to run away at age 14 after many tries. He enlisted in the army twice and was a veteran of the Korean War, a member of the Special Forces and a P.O.W.

Among other temporary careers Archie was a ranch hand on numerous South Dakota ranches, a rattlesnake exterminator, a Hollywood stuntman, a rodeo rider and a foreman on a Hollywood ranch. Upon giving up alcohol addiction in 1971 he also became a drug and alcohol counsellor. Through the Los Angeles Indian Center he ran a program for Native American offenders imprisoned in both State and Federal institutions in California. Archie was instrumental in bringing Lakota purification ceremonies into prisons across the United States and also helped found and run the Santa Barbara Indian Center.

The last twenty years of his life Archie Fire Lame Deer has travelled throughout the world teaching Lakota spiritual beliefs and way of life. In his travels he met and talked with numerous spiritual leaders including the Dalai Lama and the Pope. In 1980 he also spoke in Rotterdam at the Fourth Russell Tribunal on Indigenous Peoples' Rights.

For many years Chief Lame Deer was the intercessor at the annual Crow Dog's Sundance on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, just like his father before him. When Archie died, his son John took his place as a Chief and medicine man and carries on the traditions of the Lame Deer family.

Archie Fire Lame Deer was subject of the book Gift of Power: The Life and Teachings of a Lakota Medicine Man, which he wrote together with Richard Erdoes in 1992. https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-939680-87-0


On July 12, 1980, Lame Deer was in the process of conducting a vision quest ceremony for two men, one of whom, Ronald Delgado, was a diabetic. Delgado died during the four-day ceremony. Lame Deer was promptly denounced as a "known fraud" and a "twinkie" (New Age practitioner) by a few Native American activists and by some white New Age groups. Chief Archie Fire Lame Deer was not one of those "fake" medicine men who took money or was "unqualified". Archie Fire Lame Deer came from a family of known and respected Oglala Lakota Wicasa Wakan, "Medicine Men" in South Dakota.

Charges were never filed against Lame Deer.

Prior to the incident, Lame Deer had been interviewed by Peter Matthiesen in 1978 and again in 1979. Mathiesen gratefully acknowledged that Lame Deer had "been kind enough" to include him in a sweat lodge purification ceremony at that time, and described ceremonies of respect performed by Lame Deer at Point Conception and other places around Santa Barbara, California. He quoted Lame Deer as being extremely concerned about improperly performed sweat lodges and Sun Dance ceremonies, often conducted by younger Indians with no sense of the proper timing or "feelings" of the year, wind, or weather.

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