Sweet Medicine: The Continuing Role of the Sacred Arrows, the Sun Dance, and the Sacred Buffalo Hat in Northern Cheyenne History
(Civilization of the American Indian Series) By Peter J. Powell

University of Oklahoma Press | 935 pages | 1998-03 | ISBN: 0806130288 | PDF | 7.5mb

Father Peter J. Powell's work with the Cheyenne is in a class by itself. His telling of stories in the mythic past of the Cheyenne have a depth of understanding worthy of Campbell, Zimmer and Eliade. So many books on the Native Americans are not satisfying because the authors do not know enough to ask the right questions and they merely repeat what other authors have written. Father Powell lived among the Cheyenne, became a very trusted informant and tells the stories with an uncommon grasp of the subject. His list of primary sources is impressive, more so as we learn who many of these people are and who their fathers, mothers and grandparents were. The way he moves from present to near past to distant past to mythic past and back to present reinforces Cheyenne belief that the distance between them is much shorter than our culture thinks. A wonderful source book, it fills in so many gaps between Grinnell, Hyde, Bent and Lavender--and takes us deeper than any of them.