A Native American Indian medicine man, spiritual leader, philosopher, and acknowledged spokesman and intertribal shaman for the Cherokee and Shoshone tribes, Rolling Thunder, served as a consultant to the popular films Billy Jack (1971), and its sequel, Billy Jack II (1972). His way of life as a powerful healer, teacher, and activist gave him widespread fame following the films. Internationally known, Rolling Thunder's spiritual counsel and tribal skills were sought on a regular basis by many in the entertainment industry.
Rolling Thunder was among the first ever to be studied by mainstream institutions and undergo many laboratory tests to determine the authenticity of his shamanic skills. It had been said that his powers over the elements of nature surpassed any seen in recent times. Reports of Rolling Thunder's ability to "make rain" on a clear day, to heal disease and wounds, to transport or teleport objects through the air, and his telepathic skills were legendary until he agreed to submit himself to testing. His abilities have been investigated and documented by such organizations as the Menninger Foundation.
An advocate for Native American rights, as well as for ecological harmony, Rolling Thunder traveled widely and was in great demand worldwide for his insight and teachings. He himself joked that he had to make it rain and thunder "in order to clean the polluted air" before he spoke in a new city. Speaking before spiritual, ecological, psychological, and healing gatherings, Rolling Thunder participated in conferences sponsored by the Association for Research and Enlightenment (Edgar Cayce's Foundation), the Menninger Foundation, the East West Academy of the Healing Arts, the Stockholm United Nations Conference on the Environment, the World Conference of Spiritual Leaders of the United Nations, and the World Humanity Conference in Vancouver, B.C., among others.
Often controversial, and regarded even militant at times, Rolling Thunder was known for being outspoken and "telling it like it is." "The Great Spirit guides me to tell people what they need to know, not what they want to know," he often said. Never making claims for his special powers, he reminded those who called him a medicine man, or who spoke of his healing abilities, that "All power belongs to the Great Spirit." Then he would add, "You call him God." In response to the charges of being militant, Rolling Thunder said, "Yes, I'm a militant. So was your great healer they call Jesus Christ."
Boyd, Doug. Rolling Thunder. New York: Dell Publishing Co., Inc.: 1974.
Steiger, Brad, and Sherry Hansen Steiger. Indian Wisdom And Its Guiding Power. West Chester, Penn.: Whitford Press: 1991.
Steiger, Sherry Hansen, and Brad Steiger. Hollywood and the Supernatural. New York: St. Martin's Press: 1990.