A Hunkpapa/Minneconjou, Lakota Sioux, John Fire Lame Deer was born on March 17, 1903, to Sally Red Blanket and Silas Fire in a log cabin between the Rosebud and Pine Ridge reservations. His father, also known as Silas Let-Them-Have-Enough, was a Hunkpapa Lakota, and his mother was a Minneconjou Lakota. John Fire was one of 10 children and raised in large part by his maternal grandparents, Good Fox and Plenty White Buffalo. After six years at a local Indian Bureau school, he attended boarding school for two years before running away.
When John Fire was 16, he undertook a vision quest in which his great-grandfather, Minneconjou Lakota chief Lame Deer (Tahca Ushte), appeared before him and instructed him to become a medicine man and teacher. Fire took on the name Lame Deer and eventually became an important religious teacher. For most of his youth, however, he led a wandering life. He was variously a rodeo clown, a tribal policeman, and a bootlegger. In 1930, he was convicted of car theft and jailed for nine months in Chillicothe, Ohio. During World War II he was drafted and served in the U.S. Army.
John Fire Lame Deer told his life story to Richard Erdoes, who in 1972 published Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions. John Fire Lame Deer appeared in the 1976 feature film Return of a Man Called Horse, directed by Irvin Kershner. John Fire Lame Deer died on December 15, 1976.
Courtesy: Encyclopedia of the American Indian in the Twentieth Century.
Archie Percy Fire
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