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The Introduction by Thomas Yellowtail to "The Feathered Sun" by Frithjof Schuon

Introduction, by Thomas Yellowtail, to

The Feathered Sun: Plains Indians in Art and Philosophy (World Wisdom, 1990)
by Frithjof Schuon


I am very pleased to make an introduction for Frithjof Schuon. Our friendship is now more than 36 years old and we have seen each other often during that time. Each time we meet we speak about many different things, but we always talk about traditional Indian religion. Because of these talks, I know how he feels about our way.

When we first met, I was a common man and not well known. Although I was a sun dancer, I was not yet selected to be a medicine man and the Sun Dance Chief of the Crow tribe. Our friendship has always been based on the love we both have for all sacred things and prayer. This is the most important thing for both of us, prayer and the sacred. In this we are in the same boat.

We first met in 1953. In that summer of 36 years ago, my wife and I were members of a group of Crow Indian dancers who toured Europe, North Africa and the Middle East performing traditional Indian dances. On that trip we performed in Paris for several weeks. One day the Schuons introduced themselves to my wife and me in the lobby of our hotel. They explained to us that they had watched our performance for several days and wanted to meet us. We spoke awhile and knew right away that we had much in common. During the next few days in Paris we saw them often and even held a Sun Dance prayer meeting with them in our hotel room. We arranged to meet them later and stay with them at the Schuon home in Switzerland. About a month later our opportunity came and my wife and I spent a week in the Schuon home. That is how we met.

In both 1959 and 1963 the Schuons traveled to the United States to attend the Shoshoni Sun Dance with me and to meet with Indians of many tribes. In 1963 we camped together in Yellowstone Park. I was with Mr. Schuon in Sheridan, Wyoming in 1959 when he was adopted into the Sioux tribe in a ceremony at the All American Indian Days. Each year since 1980 we have come together for a visit. During one of these visits in 1987, I held a ceremony and adopted him as a member of my family. It is better that he is now both a Crow and a Sioux.

Mr. Schuon's paintings are very good. The paintings in this book are only a few of the many paintings he has made. His paintings show the spirit of the olden day Indians. They allow a person to look back and see the old timers in their sacred surroundings. Everything around the olden day Indians reminded them of their sacred center: the nature, the clothing, the tipi and the way of life. This is how it was and how it should be. Because Mr. Schuon knows and loves the spirit of the olden day Indians he can show this spirit in his paintings. This is very good to see. For most readers the paintings will help them understand how these old timers lived. I myself enjoy the paintings very much.

It is a very good thing to see a book with Mr. Schuon's writings about the American Indians. His words are important because he sees the Indian traditional religion with the eyes of a man who prays and who loves the Indians. He has studied all the religions in the world so he can compare our Indian ways to the ways of other religions.

If a reader starts to read a chapter and becomes confused because of some of the difficult words, don't stop or put this book down. Keep reading and you'll come to thoughts that you will understand. Every-one interested in religion can gain something with this book. Anyone who doesn't know the Indians will learn something about how it was in olden days and how it should be. Anyone who already knows something about the Indians will never forget this book. It is certainly an important message.


Wyola, Montana September 22, 1989