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Native Spirit and The Sun Dance Way
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Native Spirit and The Sun Dance Way (2 disc DVD set)
Native Spirit and The Sun Dance Way (2 disc DVD set)
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American Indian

Price:  $32.95

ISBN:  1-933316-32-2
Format:  NTSC
Run Time:   3 hrs, 15 min
Number of discs:  2
Region:  All


Official Selections for Montreal's First Peoples Film Festival and The American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco:

Native Spirit is narrated by Tantoo Cardinal (Dances with Wolves), who takes the viewer back to the days of Red Cloud when "Our old men talked to spirits and made good medicine. Our young men herded the horses and made love to the girls. In this way our grandfathers lived and were happy."

In the second documentary, The Sun Dance Way, Gordon Tootoosis (Legends of the Fall) brings to life the voice of Thomas Yellowtail as he describes the mysterious and ancient Sun Dance ceremony. For more information on the cast and characters, the content of the documentaries, and to see video clips, visit the web site of the DVD program. Educators should go to the version for classroom use when purchasing the program.

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Detailed Description of Native Spirit and The Sun Dance Way

For more information on the Native Spirit book please see Native Spirit: The Sun Dance Way .

The Sun Dance Way is a unique documentary that introduces the Sun Dance, the spiritual center of the Native American religion. The words of Thomas Yellowtail, a revered Sun Dance chief of the Crow Indian tribe, are brought to life by the internationally known American Indian actor, Gordon Tootoosis.

Educators should go to the version for classroom use when purchasing the program.

Much more information on the content of the documentaries as well as selected video clips from the two DVD discs can also be found at the Native Spirit Info web site, You can use the following links to:

•  Get information on the content of the two DVD discs.

•  View video clips of the documentaries

•  Learn more about the cast and contributors.

Through Native Spirit you can experience:
•  A deeper understanding of the complex Crow-Shoshone religion, including the power of the Sun Dance;
•  Interviews with prominent Indian leaders including Janine Pease , Joe Medicine Crow , and James Trosper ,
•  A stunning feast of rare visual images from unique photographs and video footage of Crow and Shoshone Sun Dances from as early as 1903.

About the Author(s)

Jennifer Casey

Jennifer Casey is an independent film maker and director who has traveled extensively throughout the Plain Indians reservations. A former teacher, Mrs. Casey has met with numerous tribal leaders and Sun Dance chiefs.

Jennifer Casey is the director of the following World Wisdom documentaries: Native Spirit and The Sun Dance Way, and Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy. She also wrote and directed the 49-minute documentary Origins of the Perennialist School, which can be viewed on the World Wisdom website or on youtube.

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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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Reviews of Native Spirit and The Sun Dance Way

Native Spirit & The Sun Dance Way will be a valuable addition to the materials used in my World Religions class. It is a beautifully crafted documentary, which is both accurate in its content and respectful of the underlying meaning of Native American religious traditions.”
James S. Cutsinger, Professor of Theology and Religious Thought at the University of South Carolina

Native Spirit & The Sun Dance Way is an informative and moving documentary which treats its subject with the appropriate sensitivity and respect. It communicates a real sense of the grandeur, beauty and nobility of the spiritual heritage of the Plains Indians. Drawing heavily on the words of the late Sun Dance Chief, Thomas Yellowtail, it gives an authentic account not only of the Sun Dance rite but of the whole spiritual economy of which it is the central expression. Native Spirit brings this traditional wisdom to the attention of Indians and non-Indians alike, and will contribute to the preservation of modes of experience and understanding which are so urgently needed in the modern world.”
Harry Oldmeadow, La Trobe University, Australia

“The Crow-Shoshone Sundance film conveys great dignity and spiritual power.”
James Alexander Thom, author of Follow the River; The Long Knife; and The Red Heart

“The films can serve as a comprehensible way to help students understand some of the most central yet difficult concepts in Native American life. The movies help students truly understand Native Americans’ deepest ideas about their religion and culture. By seeing the rituals carried out in the films, students see with their own eyes how those traditions have functioned within plains indian culture and are alive in America today. By hearing the powerful words of Native Americans and the clear interpretations of a strong narrator’s voice, students hear many of the central messages of Native American oral traditions. The movies also prompt students to reflect on Native American traditions and want to learn more. Many of my students, who were from around the country and world, found the film to be helpful and very interesting.”
Dr. John Buggeln, American Studies Coordinator, Culver Academies

“The two-disc DVD set, Native Spirit and the Sun Dance Way, will appeal to those broadly interested in American Indian spiritual life as well as those with more specific questions about the history of religious change among First Peoples on the Missouri River Plains of North America. This is a beautifully and lovingly photographed statement of American Indian life in the late 20th and early 21st century which brings Native American voices to the fore. My personal entry into this rich collection of material is through the Sundance disc which I use in my classes at Yale University. In courses on religion and ecology I attempt to bring students into extended reflection on the integral connections of religious life with economic, social, ecological, and political realities. This excellent overview in Native Spirit and the Sun Dance Way assists students in Native American Studies to understand those relationships without reducing or exploiting the diverse spiritual visions of living communities.”
John Grim, Yale University, series editor of World Religions and Ecology

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