By Dr. Ake Hultkrantz, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion
University of Stockholm, Sweden
The photographs in this collection are used with the permission of Dr.Ake Hultkrantz, retired professor of religion at the University of Stockholm, Sweden. Taken by Prof. Hultkrantz during the years he conducted field work on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, between in 1948 and 1958, they reflect his early and enduring interest in Native American religion. Today, Prof. Hultkrantz is recognized as a world authority on Native American religions and shamanism.
Hultrkrantz’s work at Wind River resulted in his seminal book, Native American Religions of North America: The Power of Visions and Fertility, first published in 1987 by Harper Collins. Many of the photos reflect the close relationship Hultkrantz had with such well known Shoshone spiritual leaders as Tudy Roberts, Cyrus Shongutsi and Morgan Moon. It was, however, the famous Shoshone Sun Dance leader John Trehero who befriended and eventually adopted him as a son..
It is Ake’s friendship with John that has given us the opportunity to share these photos with students and researchers around the world. In December of 2001, we were invited to the Hultkrantz home in Stockholm to share these photographs and Ake’s memories with one of John’s grandson’s, James Trosper. It is an honor to be able to present them on our web site; many deal with the way in which John explained the Sun Dance to Hultkrantz and the way in which it was passed down to him from Yellow Hand – one of the two men initially responsible for bringing the dance to the Shoshone.. For a full account please refer to chapter III of Ake’s book, The Religion of the Wind River Shoshone: Hunting, Power and Visions