Indian Spirit: Revised and Enlarged (ISBN 978-1-933316-19-2) by Michael O. & Judith Fitzgerald on


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Indian Spirit: Revised and Enlarged
editor: Michael O. Fitzgerald and Judith Fitzgerald
foreword by: James Trosper
introduction by: Thomas Yellowtail
Subject(s): Grade level / Lexile:

American Indian

10 – 11 / Lexile measure: 1130L

Format: Size / page count:


6" × 7.25" / 168 pages

ISBN: Date available:


Available now




Through its striking combination of stirring words and beautiful images from the Plains Indian pre-reservation “old-timers,” Indian Spirit reveals the very heart of the traditional Native American way of life: a world where  honesty, dignity, courage in the face of adversity, and a sense of the Great Spirit in all things, reigned supreme. The photos and words in Indian Spirit represent a wide variety of tribes, but the single message is clear, the heroic vision of the Native American, blending the courage of the warrior with the wisdom of the priest, stands as a example of all people in today’s world.

All royalties from the sales of Indian Spirit, will be donated to the Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.


  • Winner the Gold Midwest Book Award for “Culture” 
  • Winner of the Gold Midwest Book Award for “Religion/Philosophy/Inspiration” 

Reviews (hide/show)

Reviews for the previous edition of Indian Spirit

“This provocative compilation of vintage photographs of Plains Indians and selections of their oratory and writings is the latest publication in the Sacred Worlds series, which seeks to illuminate universal religious themes and traditions.

“The Fitzgeralds’ research for this project began while sifting through thousands of photographs in the Library of Congress; they soon realized that since photography was not widely available until the second half of the nineteenth century, there were few photographs from Eastern nomadic tribes. They therefore decided to use only photographs of ‘men who were raised into manhood during the nomadic days of the Plains Indians, prior to the reservation era.’

“The Fitzgeralds included only writings or oratory from elders born before 1904, with the exception of selected writings from the next generation, who were directly taught by those ‘old-timers.’ These quotations are all from male elders; another volume in the series, The Spirit of Indian Women, was published last year.…

“In a time when many tribes are striving to preserve their language and culture in order to pass it on to their young, this book makes a significant and lasting contribution to that effort.”
Deborah Donovan, writing in ForeWord Reviews
“Expertly edited by Michael Fitzgerald and enhanced with a Foreword by Thomas Yellowtail, Indian Spirit is a compendium that deftly combines powerful quotes with black-and-white photographs on every page to share with the reader the wisdom and faith of Native American leaders. The wisdom herein derives from leading figures drawn from many tribes, and the photographs offer unforgettable portraits of the people who spoke enduring words of reverence by which to live our lives. A moving tribute and vignette testimony, featuring an index by authors and an index of photographs for swift reference, Indian Spirit is a welcome and appreciated contribution to Native American Studies.”
Midwest Book Review
“The first thing to say about this stirring collection of spiritual quotations by Native Americans is how much these observations are enriched by the accompanying photographs of great chiefs born before 1904. In their faces we can see the sturdiness of character that resonates with their belief in the guiding force of the Great Spirit. Thanks to these strong and vivid images, it is not hard to imagine in our mind’s eye these individuals engaging in a spiritual practice described by Ohiyesa, a Wahpeton Dakota:
In the life of the Indian there was only one inevitable duty — the duty of prayer — the daily recognition of the Unseen and Eternal. His daily devotions were more necessary to him than daily food. He wakes at daybreak, puts on his moccasins and steps down to the water’s edge. Here he throws handfuls of clear, cold water into his face, or plunges in bodily. After the bath, he stands erect before the advancing dawn, facing the sun as it dances upon the horizon, and offers his unspoken orison. His mate may precede or follow him in his devotions, but never accompanies him. Each soul must meet the morning sun, the new sweet earth, and the Great Silence alone.
People from other world religions could easily identify with this dawn devotional.

“In fact, many quotes here connect Native Americans to other traditions. For instance, Crowfoot of the Blackfoot nation, sounds Buddhist when he says ‘What is life? It is a flash of a firefly in the night. It is a breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is as the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.’ The spiritual practice of hospitality evident in the words of Wabasha and Red Jacket is very much in line with the interfaith gestures of our times: ‘Trouble no man about his religion — respect him in his view of the Great Spirit, and demand of him that he respect yours. Treat with respect such things as he holds sacred. Do not force your religion on anyone.’

“Reading this book, it struck us again how much the spiritual practice of mystery animated the lives of Native Americans and provided the foundation for their respect for silence, gratitude, and hospitality.”
Spirituality & Health magazine
“While the nomadic American Indians of the Plains and forests have long since vanished, we can still glimpse the essence of that irreplaceable world in Indian Spirit, through its rare and beautiful photographs—some of which have never before been published—and in the moving words of some of the wisest leaders ever to have lived on this continent. Its pages open to us a world of honesty, generosity, self-mastery, courage in the face of adversity, nobility of soul, and of constant living awareness of the Creator in creation.

Indian Spirit is an elegy for the great chiefs. Their wisdom and beauty of soul shine through every page, wherein the heroic ideal of the traditional Indian, blending the qualities of warrior and priest, stands as a timeless example for all people.”
Banyen Books and Sound
“This little book is a gem. It offers wonderful insights into the mind and heart of the American Indian. No genuine ecologist can afford to ignore its message. Regardless of one’s own spiritual roots, the wisdom of these medicine men is powerfully enlightening.”
Rama Coomaraswamy, author of The Invocation of the Name of Jesus: As Practiced in the Western Church and The Destruction of the Christian Tradition
“There is a great deal we can learn from the ancient Indian leaders. When white Europeans decided to push the Native Indians out of the way in order to settle America, it’s both tragic and unfortunate that they did not pay heed to such wisdom. This country would have been better for it, and there would not have been as much suffering by American Indians.”
Senator James Abourezk, former Chairman of the U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee
Indian Spirit is a very beautiful book combining excellent photos with fine and meaningful quotations from the most prominent Plains Indians in the last one hundred and fifty years. Recommended reading for anyone who is interested in American history. The editor, Michael Fitzgerald, has managed with great consideration and understanding to compose this invaluable book.”
Åke Hultkrantz, author of Religions of the American Indians and Native Religions of North America: The Power of Visions and Fertility
“One can get lost in contemplating these photographed faces, the weathered skin of natural men, the dignity which is the outward manifestation of inner strength, patience and wisdom. These men were leaders by dint of their depth of character.…As for the quotations: simple grandeur from those who lived on the very face of the earth and the edge of existence.”
James Alexander Thom , author of Follow the River, The Long Knife, and The Red Heart
“Words alone are inadequate to express spiritual realities. This book expresses the Red Indian spirit because it combines the best photographs ever taken of the old-time chiefs with some of their best words. You can meet these old-timers and share their wisdom. People who read this book will better understand our sacred ways.”
Thomas Yellowtail, Crow Medicine Man and Sun Dance Chief (excerpted from his foreword to the book)
Indian Spirit provides a unique and precious window into the sacred world of the olden-day American Indians. The wisdom of these great chiefs is greatly needed in a society that has lost its sacred center.”
James Trosper, Shoshone Sun Dance Chief and Trustee of the University of Wyoming
“It is impossible not to be deeply moved when turning the pages of this beautiful book. The pictures and texts were carefully selected to convey the deepest dimension of the Indian spirit. The texts illuminate American Indian spirituality while correcting common misinterpretations. The selection of Native American portraits, some well known and others presented for the first time in such a setting, puts the reader face to face with what the Native American spirit is all about: dignity, nobility of bearing, straight-forwardness, domination of self, discipline of gesture, courage, a deep combination of power and peace, and a sense of the sacred.”
Jean-Pierre Lafouge, Marquette University
“Our ‘Indian Spirit’ has always been needed to help us help our own during difficult times. I will keep Indian Spirit handy to remind me of the difficult but glorious times of our people. I have now included it in my reading list.”
Richard Williams, Executive Director of the American Indian College Fund, Sioux tribal member
Indian Spirit is unusually handsome, the quality of the portraits outstanding. They are old friends, but reproduced more beautifully than ever in this volume. Congratulations.”
Father Peter J. Powell, Director, Saint Augustine’s Center for American Indians, author of Sweet Medicine
Indian Spirit is a wonderful book, containing not only beautiful photographs of Native Americans but also significant examples of their eloquent words of wisdom. Michael O. Fitzgerald and World Wisdon, Inc. are to be commended for this inspiring publication.”
Raymond Wilson, Fort Hays State University
“No other book on my desk has so keenly caught the attention and personal interest of my students as much as Michael Fitzgerald’s Indian Spirit. This revealing compilation of striking portraiture wed with the words of prominent Native Americans speaks with great clarity and grace of their truly unique and reverent worldview. This work has inspired intense, thought provoking student discourse—so much so that I plan to include it among the required religious texts in my Intellectual Heritage class.”
Gerald Musinsky, Temple University
Indian Spirit is an exceptional book. What strength, dignity and beauty reside in those noble faces! A splendid piece of work by Michael Fitzgerald and World Wisdom Books.”
Philip Zaleski, editor of The Best Spiritual Writing series

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