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Holy people either attain that position because of one particular powerful vision they had, or are in constant communication with the spirits and can manipulate the world around them. Famous North American Indians of the first kind include Chief Sitting Bull and Chief Crazy Horse, whose people regarded them as holy men. These men had limited contact with the spirits world, and used it with particular success in times of war to benefit their peoples. The second type try to impose their will on the spirits. The Yaqui, for instance, like to transform their body into that of an animal. These holy men are expected to act for the good of their people, though occasionally they work to cause harm to those who are seen as enemies of their people. These types of holy men could be called shamans because they are responsible for the welfare of their people, and use their powers to diagnose and cure disease.

There are different ways of becoming a holy man in different North American Indian tribes (Zimmerman and Molyneaux, 1996). Adult males actively seek spiritual powers among the Crow. They undergo bodily deprivation and even self-torture in an attempt to receive visions which would give them special prowess in battle or help them acquire wealth. Most of the men who try never achieve these visions. Holy power come to the Washo without them asking for it. Their first experience is a series of


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