The Dream Seekers
Native American Visionary Traditions of the Great Plains
In The Dream Seekers, Lee Irwin demonstrates the central importance of visionary dreams as sources of empowerment and innovation in Plains Indian religion. He examines 350 dreams from 150 years of published and unpublished sources to describe the shared features of cosmology for twenty-three groups of Plains Indians.
Irwin describes the different means of acquiring visions, including stress, illness, social conflict, and mourning and the spontaneous vision experience common among Plains Indian women. He also explores the stages of the structured male vision quest, unsuccessful or abandoned quests, and threshold experiences during a vision. His conclusion is that dreams not only strengthen the group's experience of a shared religious world view but also confer the right to enact new patterns of individual and collective behavior.
"The Dream Seekers offers new and genuine insights into the dream experience of the Plains Indians....(and) offers original comments on the dream experience itself -- the receiving of the dream and the transference of the dream's inherent power". -- American Indian Culture and Research Journal.
"No library -- private, professional, public, or academic, with any interest in Native American culture -- should be without this book". -- Western Historical Quarterly.
"Anyone with a particular interest in American Indian studies, anthropology, sociology, or religion will find this volume invaluable". -- Rapport.
320 pp — ©1996