Synopses & Reviews
In this definitive work a product of more than half a century of research and close observation the noted anthropologist Omer C. Stewart provides a sweeping reconstruction of the rise of peyotism and the Native American Church. Although it is commonly known that the modern peyote religion became formalized around 1880 in western Oklahoma, it had roots in precontact American Indian ritual. Today it is practiced by thousands upon thousands of American Indians throughout the West.
Long a subject of controversy, peyotism has become a unifying influence in Indian life, providing the basis for ceremonies, friendships, social gatherings, travel, marriage, and much more. As Stewart demonstrates, it has been a source of comfort and healing and a means of expression for a troubled people.
"Peyote Religion is a masterful study of the history of peyotism. Simply and engagingly written, it will appeal to scholars and general readers alike interested in the American Indian." Choice
"Occasionally a book is published for which it is difficult to find the
proper superlatives. Mere praise does not begin to convey the substance of
the book....[It is] a classic in the field of American Indian studies, anthropology and religious writings, far surpassing everything heretofore
written on the subject." New Mexico Historical Review
"This fascinating, encyclopedic history is written not only for anthropologists and people interested in religious movements, but for the peyotists
themselves. We should all be grateful for Stewart's devoted research and for
this book, which will long endure." American Indian Culture and Research Journal
"Stewart has written a wonderfully complete and very readable account
of this important Native American religious movement....Anthropologists and historians will immediately recognize his book as the authoritative
text on peyotism in the United States." South Dakota History
Includes bibliographical references (p. 389-436) and indexes.
About the Author
Omer C. Stewart received the Ph.D. from the University of California,
Berkeley, as a student of A. L. Kroeber, Robert H. Lowie, and Carl Sauer.
No non-Indian knew the Native American Church and its history better