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Indian Spirit
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Indian Spirit: Revised & Enlarged
Indian Spirit: Revised & Enlarged
Click cover for larger image.
American Indian

Price:  $14.95

ISBN:  1-933316-19-2
Book Size:  6" x7.25"
# of Pages:  168
Language:  English


This fully revised and expanded new edition of Indian Spirit, the popular American Indian photograph-and-quote book, features a new Foreword by Shoshone Sun Dance Chief James Trosper. This completely re-designed edition contains many new quotes, photographs and American Indian motifs. Through its striking combination of stirring oratory and majestic portraiture from the Plains Indian pre-reservation “old-timers,” Indian Spirit reveals the very heart of the traditional Native American life-way: a world where dignity of soul, nobility of sentiments, discipline of gesture, and a sense of the Great Spirit in all things, reigned supreme. This heroic ideal of the Native American, blending the courage of the warrior with the wisdom of the priest, stands as a timeless exemplar for all peoples. All royalties will be donated to the Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

  Gold Midwest Book Award for “Culture”  
  Gold Midwest Book Award for “Religion/Philosophy/Inspiration”  
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Detailed Description of Indian Spirit

This fully revised and expanded new edition of Indian Spirit, the popular American Indian photograph-and-quote book, features a new Foreword by Shoshone Sun Dance Chief James Trosper. This completely re-designed edition contains many new quotes, photographs and American Indian motifs. Through its striking combination of stirring oratory and majestic portraiture from the Plains Indian pre-reservation “old-timers,” Indian Spirit reveals the very heart of the traditional Native American life-way: a world where dignity of soul, nobility of sentiments, discipline of gesture, and a sense of the Great Spirit in all things, reigned supreme. This heroic ideal of the Native American, blending the courage of the warrior with the wisdom of the priest, stands as a timeless exemplar for all peoples. All royalties will be donated to the Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

James Trosper says in his foreword to the revised edition, “Indian Spirit helps to preserve for current and future generations the wisdom of our old-time native elders. The words and images collected in this book should help to connect readers with the history of our native peoples and with the traditional ways given to us by the Creator…the lifeways of each people varied, but part of what Indian Spirit shows is that each of these ways is good, because each was given to the people by the same Creator. Indian Spirit offers a glimpse into the world of our ancestors, and provides a source of inspiration for our youth as well as for ourselves. May this book touch your heart.”

The photos and words in Indian Spirit represent a wide variety of tribes, but the single message is clear: The olden-day Indians and their way of life were imbued with the presence of the Great Spirit. These photos and words combine to communicate that presence, powerfully, to readers today.

A second book in the same series is The Spirit of Indian Women , also edited by the Fitzgeralds. Through the combined power of photos, art, and the wisdom of traditional voices, modern readers can come to feel something of the timeless spirit of Indian women. An invaluable resource for students of Native American culture and spirituality is our extensive bibliography of sources of biographies of American Indian women. Click here to see the bibliography.

  Gold Midwest Book Award for “Culture”  
  Gold Midwest Book Award for “Religion/Philosophy/Inspiration”  

About the Author(s)

Michael Fitzgerald

Michael Fitzgerald is an author, editor, and publisher of books on world religions, sacred art, tradition, culture, and philosophy. He has written and edited many publications on American Indian spirituality, including Yellowtail: Crow Medicine Man and Sun Dance Chief, and was adopted into Yellowtail's tribe and family. Fitzgerald has also taught university classes on religious traditions of North American Indians and lectured widely. His contributions to World Wisdom books and DVDs include:

Edited/Authored   Co-edited with others:   DVD projects:

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James Trosper

James Trosper is a respected voice on traditional Plains Indian spirituality. He is Medicine Man and Sun Dance chief of the Shoshone Tribe in Fort Washakie, Wyoming. Mr. Trosper is a direct descendant of the great Eastern Shoshone chief, Washakie. Mr. Trosper has traveled throughout America, assisting in the continuation of American Indian religious traditions, and explaining the Sun Dance religion of the Plains and Indian spirituality to Indian and white audiences. James Trosper has contributed the following to World Wisdom projects:

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Thomas Yellowtail

Medicine Man and Sundance Chief Thomas Yellowtail (1903-1993) was a pivotal figure in Crow tribal life and one of the most admired American Indian spiritual leaders of the last century. As a youth he lived in the presence of old warriors, hunters, and medicine men who knew the freedom and sacred ways of pre-reservation life. As the principal figure in the Crow-Shoshone Sun Dance religion during the last half of the 20th century, he was important in perpetuating the spiritual traditions of his Crow tribe.

Yellowtail's advice on following the ancient ways in the modern world has inspired many Indians, and many non-Indians as well. His words can be found in:


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Judith Fitzgerald

Judith Fitzgerald is a graduate of Indiana University and an artisan, calligrapher, and graphic designer. In 2004 Fitzgerald and her husband, Michael, published the first in an award-winning series of illustrated inspirational books on the world’s religions, called “Sacred Worlds.” The books in this series have received ten prestigious awards. Many of the photographs in this series and in her husband’s other books were taken by her during their travels to visit traditional cultures around the world.

The books that Judith Fitzgerald has edited, and designed, along with her husband Michael Fitzgerald are:


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Reviews of Indian Spirit

Reviews for the previous edition of Indian Spirit

“This provocative compilation of vintage photographs of Plains Indians and selections of their oratory and writings is the latest publication in the Sacred Worlds series, which seeks to illuminate universal religious themes and traditions.

“The Fitzgeralds’ research for this project began while sifting through thousands of photographs in the Library of Congress; they soon realized that since photography was not widely available until the second half of the nineteenth century, there were few photographs from Eastern nomadic tribes. They therefore decided to use only photographs of ‘men who were raised into manhood during the nomadic days of the Plains Indians, prior to the reservation era.’

“The Fitzgeralds included only writings or oratory from elders born before 1904, with the exception of selected writings from the next generation, who were directly taught by those ‘old-timers.’ These quotations are all from male elders; another volume in the series, The Spirit of Indian Women, was published last year.…

“In a time when many tribes are striving to preserve their language and culture in order to pass it on to their young, this book makes a significant and lasting contribution to that effort.”
Deborah Donovan, writing in ForeWord Reviews

“Expertly edited by Michael Fitzgerald and enhanced with a Foreword by Thomas Yellowtail, Indian Spirit is a compendium that deftly combines powerful quotes with black-and-white photographs on every page to share with the reader the wisdom and faith of Native American leaders. The wisdom herein derives from leading figures drawn from many tribes, and the photographs offer unforgettable portraits of the people who spoke enduring words of reverence by which to live our lives. A moving tribute and vignette testimony, featuring an index by authors and an index of photographs for swift reference, Indian Spirit is a welcome and appreciated contribution to Native American Studies.”
Midwest Book Review

“The first thing to say about this stirring collection of spiritual quotations by Native Americans is how much these observations are enriched by the accompanying photographs of great chiefs born before 1904. In their faces we can see the sturdiness of character that resonates with their belief in the guiding force of the Great Spirit. Thanks to these strong and vivid images, it is not hard to imagine in our mind’s eye these individuals engaging in a spiritual practice described by Ohiyesa, a Wahpeton Dakota:
In the life of the Indian there was only one inevitable duty — the duty of prayer — the daily recognition of the Unseen and Eternal. His daily devotions were more necessary to him than daily food. He wakes at daybreak, puts on his moccasins and steps down to the water’s edge. Here he throws handfuls of clear, cold water into his face, or plunges in bodily. After the bath, he stands erect before the advancing dawn, facing the sun as it dances upon the horizon, and offers his unspoken orison. His mate may precede or follow him in his devotions, but never accompanies him. Each soul must meet the morning sun, the new sweet earth, and the Great Silence alone.
People from other world religions could easily identify with this dawn devotional.

“In fact, many quotes here connect Native Americans to other traditions. For instance, Crowfoot of the Blackfoot nation, sounds Buddhist when he says ‘What is life? It is a flash of a firefly in the night. It is a breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is as the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.’ The spiritual practice of hospitality evident in the words of Wabasha and Red Jacket is very much in line with the interfaith gestures of our times: ‘Trouble no man about his religion — respect him in his view of the Great Spirit, and demand of him that he respect yours. Treat with respect such things as he holds sacred. Do not force your religion on anyone.’

“Reading this book, it struck us again how much the spiritual practice of mystery animated the lives of Native Americans and provided the foundation for their respect for silence, gratitude, and hospitality.”
Spirituality & Health magazine

“While the nomadic American Indians of the Plains and forests have long since vanished, we can still glimpse the essence of that irreplaceable world in Indian Spirit, through its rare and beautiful photographs—some of which have never before been published—and in the moving words of some of the wisest leaders ever to have lived on this continent. Its pages open to us a world of honesty, generosity, self-mastery, courage in the face of adversity, nobility of soul, and of constant living awareness of the Creator in creation.

Indian Spirit is an elegy for the great chiefs. Their wisdom and beauty of soul shine through every page, wherein the heroic ideal of the traditional Indian, blending the qualities of warrior and priest, stands as a timeless example for all people.”
Banyen Books and Sound

“This little book is a gem. It offers wonderful insights into the mind and heart of the American Indian. No genuine ecologist can afford to ignore its message. Regardless of one’s own spiritual roots, the wisdom of these medicine men is powerfully enlightening.”
Rama Coomaraswamy, author of The Invocation of the Name of Jesus: As Practiced in the Western Church and The Destruction of the Christian Tradition

“There is a great deal we can learn from the ancient Indian leaders. When white Europeans decided to push the Native Indians out of the way in order to settle America, it’s both tragic and unfortunate that they did not pay heed to such wisdom. This country would have been better for it, and there would not have been as much suffering by American Indians.”
Senator James Abourezk, former Chairman of the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee

Indian Spirit is a very beautiful book combining excellent photos with fine and meaningful quotations from the most prominent Plains Indians in the last one hundred and fifty years. Recommended reading for anyone who is interested in American history. The editor, Michael Fitzgerald, has managed with great consideration and understanding to compose this invaluable book.”
Åke Hultkrantz, author of Religions of the American Indians and Native Religions of North America: The Power of Visions and Fertility

“One can get lost in contemplating these photographed faces, the weathered skin of natural men, the dignity which is the outward manifestation of inner strength, patience and wisdom. These men were leaders by dint of their depth of character.…As for the quotations: simple grandeur from those who lived on the very face of the earth and the edge of existence.”
James Alexander Thom , author of Follow the River, The Long Knife, and The Red Heart

“Words alone are inadequate to express spiritual realities. This book expresses the Red Indian spirit because it combines the best photographs ever taken of the old-time chiefs with some of their best words. You can meet these old-timers and share their wisdom. People who read this book will better understand our sacred ways.”
Thomas Yellowtail, Crow Medicine Man and Sun Dance Chief (excerpted from his foreword to the book)

Indian Spirit provides a unique and precious window into the sacred world of the olden-day American Indians. The wisdom of these great chiefs is greatly needed in a society that has lost its sacred center.”
James Trosper, Shoshone Sun Dance Chief and Trustee of the University of Wyoming

“It is impossible not to be deeply moved when turning the pages of this beautiful book. The pictures and texts were carefully selected to convey the deepest dimension of the Indian spirit. The texts illuminate American Indian spirituality while correcting common misinterpretations. The selection of Native American portraits, some well known and others presented for the first time in such a setting, puts the reader face to face with what the Native American spirit is all about: dignity, nobility of bearing, straight-forwardness, domination of self, discipline of gesture, courage, a deep combination of power and peace, and a sense of the sacred.”
Jean-Pierre Lafouge, Marquette University

“Our ‘Indian Spirit’ has always been needed to help us help our own during difficult times. I will keep Indian Spirit handy to remind me of the difficult but glorious times of our people. I have now included it in my reading list.”
Richard Williams, Executive Director- American Indian College Fund, Sioux tribal member

Indian Spirit is unusually handsome, the quality of the portraits outstanding. They are old friends, but reproduced more beautifully than ever in this volume. Congratulations.”
Father Peter J. Powell, Director, Saint Augustine’s Center for American Indians, author of Sweet Medicine

Indian Spirit is a wonderful book, containing not only beautiful photographs of Native Americans but also significant examples of their eloquent words of wisdom. Michael O. Fitzgerald and World Wisdon, Inc. are to be commended for this inspiring publication.”
Raymond Wilson, Fort Hays State University

“No other book on my desk has so keenly caught the attention and personal interest of my students as much as Michael Fitzgerald’s Indian Spirit. This revealing compilation of striking portraiture wed with the words of prominent Native Americans speaks with great clarity and grace of their truly unique and reverent worldview. This work has inspired intense, thought provoking student discourse—so much so that I plan to include it among the required religious texts in my Intellectual Heritage class.”
Gerald Musinsky, Temple University

Indian Spirit is an exceptional book. What strength, dignity and beauty reside in those noble faces! A splendid piece of work by Michael Fitzgerald and World Wisdom Books.”
Philip Zaleski, editor of The Best Spiritual Writing series

Table of Contents for Indian Spirit



    Foreword by James Trosper

    Introduction by Thomas Yellowtail

    Photographs and Quotations

    Index of Photographs

    Index of Quotations

    Index of Photographers

    Primary Bibliography

    Biographical Notes

Excerpts from Indian Spirit

Indian Spirit

I am blind and do not see the things of this world; but when the Light comes from Above, it enlightens my heart and I can see, for the Eye of my heart sees everything. The heart is a sanctuary at the center of which there is a little space, wherein the Great Spirit dwells, and this is the Eye. This is the Eye of the Great Spirit by which He sees all things and through which we see Him. If the heart is not pure, the Great Spirit cannot be seen, and if you should die in this ignorance, your soul cannot return immediately to the Great Spirit, but it must be purified by wandering about in the world. In order to know the center of the heart where the Great Spirit dwells you must be pure and good, and live in the manner that the Great Spirit has taught us. The man who is thus pure contains the Universe in the pocket of his heart.

—   Black Elk, Sioux   —

We saw the Great Spirit’s work in almost everything: sun, moon, trees, wind, and mountains. Sometimes we approached him through these things. Was that so bad? I think we have a true belief in the supreme being, a stronger faith than that of most whites who have called us pagans... Indians living close to nature and nature’s ruler are not living in darkness. Did you know that trees talk? Well they do. They talk to each other, and they’ll talk to you if you listen. Trouble is, white people don’t listen. They never learned to listen to the Indians so I don’t suppose they’ll listen to other voices in nature. But I have learned a lot from trees: sometimes about the weather, sometimes about animals, sometimes about the Great Spirit.
—   Walking Buffalo, Shoney    —

The Lakota loved the earth and all things of the earth, the attachment growing with age. The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth. Their tipis were built upon the earth and their altars were made of earth... It was the final abiding place of all things that lived and grew. The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing. That is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of propping himself up and away from its life-giving forces. For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply and to feel more keenly; he can see more clearly into the mysteries of life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him... The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man’s heart away from nature becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans too. So he kept his youth close to its softening influence.

—   Standing Bear, Sioux    —

My friends, I have been asked to show you my heart. I am glad to have a chance to do so. I want the white people to understand my people. Some of you think an Indian is like the wild animal. This is a great mistake. I will tell you all about our people, and then you can judge whether an Indian is a man or not. I believe much trouble and blood would be saved if we opened our hearts more. I will tell you in my way how the Indian sees things. The white man has more words to tell you how they look to him, but it does not require many words to speak the truth. What I have to say will come from the heart, and I will speak with a straight tongue. The Great Spirit is looking at me, and will hear me... Our fathers gave us many laws, which they had learned from their fathers. These laws were good. They told us to treat all men as they treated us; that we should never be the first to break a bargain; that it was a disgrace to tell a lie; that we should speak only the truth; that it was a shame for one man to take from another his wife, or his property without paying for it. We were taught to believe that the Great Spirit sees and hears everything, and that he never forgets; that hereafter he will give every man a spirit-home according to his desserts; if he has been a good man, he will have a good home; if he has been a bad man, he will have a bad home. This I believe, and all my people believe the same.

—   Chief Joseph, Nez Perce    —

Even to this day the (sacred) pipe is very wakan. Long ago a people were camping and two young men from the camp were going ahead, it is said. They were going along a ridge. Then suddenly a very beautiful woman appeared climbing the hill. She was coming, carrying something. So they stood watching her, it is said. Then one of the young men said, “Well, my friend, I will do it with her.” “Look, my friend, see clearly! She is not a woman, probably something wakan, ” the other said. But the young man was not afraid. So he went there but no further, for from the sky a very big cloud fell on them, it is said. And when it cleared away, the young man was nothing but bones lying there, it is said. The woman-who-was-not-a-woman was coming in a wakan manner... So the other young man stood there trembling, it is said. Then the woman said this? “Young man, do not fear me!... I am bringing home news. I am bringing something so the people will live; it is the Buffalo Calf Pipe. They will live in a wakan manner. I will assist all of the people by showing them good ways.” She left saying, “Now after a while, I will arrive bringing news.” So the young man hurried home with the news, it is said. And then the crier took it and since the camp circle was large, the crier walked all around proclaiming the news, it is said. “Howo! Something is coming but it is coming in a wakan manner so no one think anything evil. Follow good ways. In a very wakan manner it comes,” the crier proclaimed, it is said. And so all the people prepared themselves, it is said. Now the woman came among the tipis, it is said. And she told them she had something, it is said. “The Buffalo Calf Pipe arrives here,” she said, it is said. Anyone who does bad deeds and uses this pipe will be rubbed out,” she said, it is said. The woman was a very beautiful woman, it is said. She was completely naked, it is said. Her hair was very long, it is said.

—   Thomas Tyon, Sioux    —

While the prayer with the pipe will start and end the day, it is also important to pray during the day. Each day, whatever I am doing, I am always praying and thinking of God. As I work along, whether I am out in the field, or wherever, I am always praying... Acbadadea knows that I pray to Him and He hears me... I am so used to it that I just can’t stop, and I think that it is the best thing a person can do. I say, that if you look for them, then you will find many parts of the day that could be spent in praying. I am sure that there are a lot of people who are that way, continually praying to God, remembering the Name of God... People think other things are more important than prayer, but they are mistaken. A person may have plenty of money but he doesn’t take that along with him. It is good to share what little we have, and pray. A person should measure his wealth in terms of the knowledge and love of God.
—   Yellowtail, Absaroke    —

The Indian conceived an eager desire to learn wisdom from the Master of Life; but, being ignorant where to find him, he had recourse to fasting, dreaming, and magical incantations. By these means it was revealed to him, that, by moving forward in a straight, undeviating course, he would reach the abode of the Great Spirit... The Great Spirit bade him be seated, and thus addressed him: I am the Maker of heaven and earth, the trees, lakes, rivers, and all things else. I am the Maker of mankind; and because I love you, you must do my will. The land on which you live I have made for you, and not for others. Why do you suffer the white men to dwell among you? My children, you have forgotten the customs and traditions of your forefathers. Why do you not clothe yourselves in skins, as they did, and use the bows and arrows, and the stone-pointed lances, which they used? You have bought guns, knives, kettles, and blankets from the white men, until you can no longer do without them; and, what is worse, you have drunk the poison fire-water, which turns you into fools. Fling all these things away; live as your wise forefathers lived before you.
—   Pontiac, Ottawa  —

Selection from our Library about Indian Spirit
 TitleSourceAuthor 1Author 2Subject WW HTMLWW PDFExternal Link
Selections from Indian SpiritIndian Spirit: Revised and EnlargedFitzgerald, MichaelFitzgerald, JudithAmerican Indian
Foreword to Indian SpiritIndian Spirit: Revised and EnlargedTrosper, James American Indian
Introduction to Indian SpiritIndian Spirit: Revised and EnlargedYellowtail, Thomas American Indian
Preface to Indian SpiritIndian Spirit: Revised and EnlargedFitzgerald, MichaelFitzgerald, JudithAmerican Indian
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