Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture and Spring Journal Books
Sioux Traditions
$ 32.95

C. G. Jung and the Sioux Traditions: Dreams, Visions, Nature and the Primitive

by Vine Deloria, Jr.
edited by Philip J. Deloria and Jerome S. Bernstein

ISBN: 978-1-882670-61-1
292 pp.

This book will be available for immediate shipment on its release date of May 15, 2009.

In the winter of 1924-25 while visiting the U.S., C. G. Jung visited the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico where he spent several hours with Ochwiay Biano, Mountain Lake, an elder at the Pueblo. This was a seminal encounter in Jung's life. It impacted him psychologically, emotionally, and intellectually and had a sustained influence on his theories and understanding of psyche, as witnessed by his reference to Mountain Lake in one of his last letters written shortly before his death.

Dakota Sioux intellectual and political leader, Vine Deloria Jr., began a close study of the writings of C.G. Jung over two decades ago, but had long been struck by certain affinities and disjunctures between Jungian and Sioux Indian thought. He also had noticed that many Jungians had perceived this relation as well and were often drawn to Native American traditions. And, while Deloria never hesitated to critique others’ appropriation of Native culture, he also saw in this phenomenon something deeper and more interesting: the possibility that these philosophical systems might, at a deep level, share crucial affinities.

This book, the result of Deloria’s investigation of these affinities, is written as a measured comparison between the psychology of C. G. Jung and the philosophical and cultural traditions of his own Sioux people. Moving between Jung’s writings and Sioux tradition, Deloria constructs a fascinating dialogue between the two systems that touches on cosmology, the family, relations with animals, visions, voices, and individuation. He does not shy away from addressing the differences between the two and the colonial mindset that characterized Jung’s own cultural legacy. In this sense, Deloria offers a direct “speaking back” from the cultural position that Jung so often characterized as “primitive” in his writings.

Vine Deloria Jr. passed away in 2005 and this, his last book, resounds with the wit, vigor, and range that marked his writing. It makes a signal contribution to Jungian Studies, while simultaneously illuminating the possibilities and pitfalls in efforts to transcend intellectual and philosophical boundaries.


Vine Deloria, Jr.

About the Author:

Vine Deloria Jr., an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, was born March 26, 1933 in Martin, South Dakota. His father, Vine Deloria, Sr., and grandfather, Philip J. Deloria, were Dakota Sioux Episcopalian clergymen, and they laid the groundwork for Deloria’s subsequent interest in religion and politics, as well as his willingness to mediate and to challenge both Indian and non-Indian peoples. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1954-1956, and graduated from Iowa State University in 1958, the Lutheran School of Theology in 1963, and the University of Colorado School of Law in 1970. Deloria taught at Western Washington University, UCLA, the Pacific School of Religion, and Colorado College before accepting a position as Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Arizona in 1978. At Arizona, Deloria helped create an M.A. in American Indian Studies and formed the nucleus for what remains one of the nation’s best American Indian Studies programs. In 1990, he moved to the University of Colorado, where he held appointments in American Indian Studies, Law, History, Religious Studies, and Political Science.

In 1969, Deloria exploded the generally black-white terrain of American race politics with a bestselling book, Custer Died For Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto. In it, he laid out in biting and witty prose the social and political contexts underpinning an American Indian cultural politics. That politics, he argued, was not simply a reflection of African American or other ethnic political movements of the period, but was in fact rooted in the distinct history and political status of Native peoples. Deloria followed Custer with a rapid burst of writing and editing in the early 1970s, producing the books We Talk, You Listen (1970), God is Red: A Native View of Religion (1972), and Behind the Trail of Broken Treaties (1974), as well as the edited volumes Red Man in the New World Drama Revisited (1971) and Of Utmost Good Faith (1971). In these works, Deloria insisted that treaty rights—codified in hundreds of legal agreements and recognized in the U.S. constitution—must be the guiding principle in relations between the United States and Native American people.

Deloria always wrote with American Indian concerns in mind, but his works moved in other directions as well. In 1974, the editors of six prominent journals of religion collectively named him a “Theological Superstar of the Future,” one of eleven “shapers and shakers of the Christian faith.” God is Red was a highly influential piece of theological writing, and he followed it with a sustained engagement with theology and philosophy, producing works such as The Metaphysics of Modern Existence (1979), Evolution, Creationism, and Other Modern Myths (2002), and a large number of essays, later collected in For This Land (1999) and Spirit and Reason (1999). In these works, he insisted upon new approaches to metaphysics, arguing that spiritual traditions were tied as much to land as to mobile religious traditions, and that modern spirituality ought to invest in a specifically American perception of land, one that would bring tribal and non-tribal peoples into the same orbit. This optimistic reading of the possibilities stemmed, in large part, from his willingness to engage European philosophers and theologians deeply, but it also reflected a growing skepticism concerning science and its often instrumentalist uses, which he saw both in terms of Indian people (expressed in his 1995 polemic Red Earth, White Lies) and the earth itself. C.G. Jung and the Sioux Traditions, his last work, offers an apt culmination of all these intellectual traditions.

About the Editors:

Philip J. Deloria, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of History and Program in American Culture at the University of Michigan, the author of Indians in Unexpected Places and Playing Indian, and is the son of Vine Deloria, Jr.

Jerome S. Bernstein, M.A., NCPsyA., is a Jungian analyst in private practice in Santa Fe and the author of Living in the Borderland: The Evolution of Consciousness and the Challenge of Healing Trauma

Table of Contents

  • Foreword: Philip J. Deloria, editor
  • Foreword: Jerome S. Bernstein, editor

  • Introduction: Psychology and the Psyche
  • Chapter 1: Jung and the Indians
  • Chapter 2: The Negative Primitive
  • Chapter 3: The Positive Primitive
  • Chapter 4: The Jungian Universe
  • Chapter 5: The Sioux Universe
  • Chapter 6: Jung and the Animals
  • Chapter 7: Animals and the Sioux
  • Chapter 8: The Family: The Individual and Kinship
  • Chapter 9: The Voice and the Vision
  • Chapter 10: Dreams and Prophecies
  • Conclusion: Coming Together