by Cedric Red Feather
Galde Press, 2012
In the tradition of Chief Plenty Coups and Black Elk, comes another Native voice, Cedric Red Feather in his book, Mandan Dreams.
Red Feather is a waxikena, or Turtle Priest of his tribe, the Mandans, but his path was a challenging one. Damaged by his experiences in the Viet Nam War, the young Cedric Mandan spent a long time burying his pain in sleep, depression and alcohol until his brothers’ spiritual practices inspired him and he began to pursue his own spiritual path.
Red Feather speaks unashamedly of his transformation and his pain, and offers his spiritual wisdom and teachings to any and all who will listen. As we read of his progress, Red Feather shares a great deal of his people’s history, philosophy, and lifeways. He shares his family tree and features both modern and historic photos. We learn that the Mandans, who now reside in the upper Midwest/western Great Lakes region, migrated from the Gulf of Mexico in the distant past, and the Mandan tribe has long been known as the “mysterious” Mandans, who boasted a wide range of hair colors and a few with blue eyes. Red Feather tell us that is not mysterious—the Mandans have always welcomed all who came, including the Viking travelers before Columbus.
From the White Buffalo Calf Woman to the Sun Dance, we learn of the many variations on traditions from tribe to tribe, and the intention to bring together all peoples to pursue a greater spirit-driven life.
The book is alive with Red Feather’s own spirit, with drawings, personal photographs and even a never-before published photo found in the bottom of General George Armstrong Custer’s foot locker—Red Feather’s great-great-great grandfather.
This fascinating combination of personal and tribal history, spiritual traditions and personal spiritual growth will be a book to treasure for years to come and is sure to become a classic among Native American literature.
Reviewers Note: I had the great privilege recently to participate in one of Red Feather’s ceremonies on the shore of a Minnesota lake beneath the stars, fulfilling a prophecy given to Red Feather.
This book can be purchased at Eye of Horus and Galde Press.