NAFPS Archives > Archive No. 1

"Buck Ghosthorse" Lakota Impersonator


Medicine Men for Rent by Avis Little Eagle Lakota Times Jul 9, 1991
Sacred rites of the Lakota are performed sacrilegiously for a naïve and eager public seeking enlightenment but in reality merely getting their wallets lightened.
Pipe ceremonies sweatlodges and vision quests along with Lakota Hunka adoption ceremonies are in demand by a New Age generation which believes pseudo medicine mens’ sincerity in teaching them.
Pan American Indian Association, Medicine Wheel Circle or Gathering, American Indian Church, Split Feather Tribal Council are just some of the groups to be wary of.
Sheridan Murphy, spokesman for concerned Indians and non Indians in the Florida area, said the American Indian Students Organization of Ballard University  was formed at a time when there were no Indian rights groups in Florida.
He said groups such as the Split Feathers are “pseudo organization…created for money, proposals, and grants. You always find a Native American name to make them sound authentic.???
Murphy said his group challenged several medicine men it knows are phony and are operating for the sake of money. He came across Buck Ghost Horse in the Tampa-St Petersburg area where Ghost Horse and his group were holding sweats and operating under the name Split Feather Tribal Council. Murphy said the group had set up three 8 foot sweatlodges that could seat up to 26 people at the Safety Harbor Museum. “Our organization went out there and confronted the Split Feathers. They claimed to be a tribal council and were made caretakers of a burial site in Safety Harbor.???
Murphy said the group had a lot of spearpoints and other artifacts they claimed were their own and were using a “sacred pipe that looked like something out of Toys R Us. We heard quite a lot of complaints from people who lived around Safety Harbor. The Split Feathers were given exemptions for fire permits and then they were revoked because their fires were getting too big.???
Murphy said he received numerous complaints that the group was using marijuana in the sweatlodges. The American Indian Students Organization challenged the Split Feathers by getting depositions from people who lived around Safety Harbor and “people who were getting ripped off. Ghost Horse was chased right out of Florida. I told him it wasn;t right to be selling sweats and so on.???
Murphy said there are others who are selling sweats and medicine. “They are charging $100 a shot for a day of sweats.???  
RC Mowatt, a Comanche living in St Petersburg, also challenged Ghost Horse. Mowatt said he works with the United Network of Indian Tribes in Central Florida. It is working to establish an Indian center.
Mowatt has depositions and statements with Ghost Horse’s alleged BIA tribal enrollment number. “He wrote a letter for someone’s community service. His BIA number is supposed to be SH115906. His church tax number is 59-2627560, state number N12882.??? No tribal affiliation claim was connected with his alleged enrollment number.
“We know they were doing a lot of hurting to people. A lot of people wanted him out of state. Down here white people are always looking for something to try to make them Indian. They are what is considered New Agers.??? Ghost Horse and his crew “were doing acid and sending people out on their vision quests while they were tripping on LSD. They were paying $500 to get a vision quest like that.???
Ghost Horse claimed in a Times interview that he learned Lakota spirituality from Godfrey Chips and Joseph H Eagle Elk, Wallace Black Elk and Gerald Ice. He said he knows he is part Hunkpapa, Sicangu, and German, but would not reveal his birth name to the Times. He is not recognized by the Sicangu or Hunkpapa as an enrolled member.
Ghost Horse denied taking money for ceremonies, but interviews with numbers of those who attended refute that claim. A 1985 story about him the St Petersburg Times indicated “The dreams began when the boy was still living on the Rosebud Reservation.???
According to the article, his father took him to the “tribal medicine man??? who took him on a vision quest. “In a pickup truck, they drove deep into the reservation, 65 miles from the village, and left the boy in a rocky crater near the top of a mountain.???
Coincidentally, Ghost Horse also claimed to be an Indian boy raised by white parents. He told the Lakota Times that Ghost Horse is a dream name. But he told the St Petersburg paper his parents died when he was 15, leaving five Ghost Horse children to be adopted out.
Anyone familiar with South Dakota knows there are no craters and mountains on the Rosebud Reservation.  

Ghost Horse’s various groups such as Medicine Wheel Gathering or Circle change as fast as the colors of a chameleon. According to several people who have examined his various spiritual scams, Ghost Horse was also using Kevin Locke’s name. Ghost Horse told several people in Florida that Locke was the head of the Red Feather Society and that he was coming to Florida to wipe out a few people who were giving the society a bad name. They made it sound like some kind of Indian Mafia.
“We have women and children down here who are terrified of Kevin Locke,??? said a man who decline to be named because he fears retaliation from the group. What was going around was they would come back with dog soldiers called the Red Feathers to take care of <a target="_blank" href="">business</a> and people stirring up trouble. I didn’t understand how a man of the flute could be violent. That’s when I got away from them. If this is the way they are then I don’t need to be involved with them.???
Kevin Locke, an honorable Lakota man from Mobridge, said he did not know his name was being used by disreputable people. “This is completely off the wall. I know you’re really concerned about it. But I don’t usually try to refute or try to make counter remarks because it never stops. People have wild imaginations. I just let things like this slide off my back. I don’t know what can be done about them.???
Chuck Rogers of Pine Ridge said the Red Feather Society is an elite men’s society whose members have distinguished themselves in combat. Many are veterans wounded in action. It is today’s application of the old warrior society. The red feather stands for bravery. The society was started in 1983. Richards was upset that anyone would link it to dishonorable activity.
The Southeastern informant said Ghost Horse knows him as Little Hawk and went on to say he lost respect for Ghost Horse for the way he was capitalizing on spirituality. “Grass or marijuana was being smoked on the heated stones in sweatlodges along with being smoked in the pipe. He used other narcotics for medicinal purposes.???
“At that time, Jacob Linn and Buck were also robbing gravesites of sacred items and made claims they were their medicine bundles and also sold them (arrow points and other artifacts). Jacob Linn had sacred pipes and bragged about the fact he dug up points and artifacts at Cobbs Landing in Florida. Body parts were removed and kept. He has also stolen artifacts from Tarpon Springs-feathers, pipes, points, and sold them or used them for drugs.???
Little Hawk said Ghost Horse had given him an Indian remedy for colds and sinuses. He told him to grind rock salt and inhale it. He didn’t.
Don Dobbins, a Cheyenne River Sioux living in Rapid City, encountered several phony medicine men and several questionable “Lakota spiritual men???. He said he saw a tape that featured Ghost Horse. “He was speaking to a group of non Indians. He said I’m going to sing a song we always do at the beginning of our ceremonies. This is a greeting song. I recognized the song as the piercing song of the Sun Dance.???
Ghost Horse was very reluctant to address questions put to him by the Times. He denied knowing Peter Bear Walks/Alvarez and denied taking money for ceremonies. “I only get paid for talks or speeches.??? Ghost Horse said he never used drugs or exploited spirituality for <a target="_blank" href="">sex</a>ual favors. “The only drug I know that is used legitimately is peyote. As a recovering alcoholic, I don’t do drugs or alcohol.???
He denied knowledge of rapes allegedly committed in the course of ceremonies. “We don’t. I hear about those things. They never happen around us. I heard about one outside Chicago. Like I said the raping of women if anything like that is true, the men should be in jail. If children have been molested the men should be in jail or shot.???
Confronted with evidence he had traveled with Peter Bear Walks./Alvarez, he backed down. “The only Bear Walks I know was a guy in Florida years ago. He turned out to be more of a criminal so I just quit running around with him.???
Ghost Horse said he did not have proof of his Indian lineage. “I never checked to see. I’ve never tried to get enrolled. I don’t want anything. I’m just proud of my blood.???
He said he never claimed to be a medicine man, a direct contradiction of the story in the St Petersburg Times.
He said he learned his ceremonies and beliefs from Wallace Black Elk. Mr Black Elk is in no way related to the Oglala Black Elk but tried to capitalize on the name according to Charlotte Black Elk, a granddaughter of Black Elk of Black Elk Speaks fame.
Ghost Horse seemed to feel knowing Wallace Black Elk lends credibility to his questionable career. “I’ve worked with him a lot. Like the Chips family and Ices and Ben Black Elk Jr and Joseph H Eagle Elk, mainly.???
He said he didn’t know of people who take money for ceremonies. “I’m not saying it don’t happen. It sure as heck isn’t me.???

Note: Photo of BGH and wife Sinceray from St Petersburg Times article in living room with flags, pipes, and a carving of a large turtle Sinceray is seated on. Sinceray claimed to be Choctaw.  There’s also a note from Debbie that Sinceray committed suicide after mov ing to WA state.


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