Re: Reverse Indian

Wed, 2 Nov 1994 15:38:38 -0600

>I need help to verify a statement. I want to know if that behavior, so
>called "Reverse Indian" or "Backward Indian" ever existed in Lakota
>culture. That behavior was looked like something like: backward
>horseriding, sloaping instead cleaning, etc...
>If so, I would like the right term to call it, the reasons or
>circomstences which triggerd that kind of behavior, if women were
>involved in such behavior. I would like to know were I can find some
>litterature on it.

I think what you have in mind is the "heyoka," a man or woman who has seen a
vision of the Thunderbird (Wakinyan) and, as a consequence, dress oddly and
"does everything backwards."

This information is from the notes of James Walker, who serves as a physician
to the Oglala Sioux (Lakota/Dakota) in the late nineteen and early twentieth
century. For social and mythological information see the indices of the
following s.v. heyoka, Thunderbird, Wakinyan, Winged One/God:

James R. Walker, _Lakota Myth_, ed. Elaine A. Jahner (Lincoln: University of
Nebraska, 1983)

Walker, _Lakota Belief and Ritual_, ed. Raymond J. DeMallie and Elaine A.
Jahner (Lincoln: U of N, 1980)

This information is, obviously, very old. Perhaps someone on the list can tell
us if the heyoka still exists today (if it is a topic that can be discussed

Jim Davila
assistant professor of religion
Central College, IA