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Michael Fitzgerald’s life and work
This site includes Michael Fitzgerald’s biography, photos, film clips, online articles, slideshows, bibliography, links, and more.
Michael Fitzgerald
Michael  Fitzgerald
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Biography of Michael Fitzgerald

Michael Fitzgerald (b. 1949) is an author, editor, and publisher of books on world religions, sacred art, tradition, culture and philosophy who is based in Bloomington, Indiana. He has composed over a dozen books that have received more than twenty awards, including the ForeWord Book of the Year Award and the Ben Franklin Award. His books have been published in five different languages and at least ten of his books and two documentary films produced by him are used in university classes. Fitzgerald is an acknowledged authority on the religion and culture of the Plains Indians and is also the adopted son of the late Thomas Yellowtail, one of the most honored American Indian spiritual leaders of the last century. Fitzgerald holds an Honor’s Degree in Religious Studies from Indiana University, with Phi Beta Kappa and Magna Cum Laude distinctions, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University with Cum Laude distinction.

Michael Fitzgerald was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. From his earliest youth his father instilled in him the great love of virgin nature and the American Indians that was to play a prominent part in his adult life. Fitzgerald's father also passed on his great respect for traditional Oriental cultures that arose during the time he spent as the commandant of a Marine garrison in Tientsin, China, in 1945-1946.

Fitzgerald’s love of the American Indians blossomed when he was Joseph Epes Brown’s graduate teaching assistant for three semesters for “Religious Traditions of the American Indians”. When Brown departed for a teaching post in Montana in 1972, Fitzgerald replaced him and taught the course in the Indiana University Continuing Studies Department, at the Bloomington campus, for a period of two years. Brown introduced Fitzgerald to Benjamin Black Elk, son of the famous Lakota holy man, and Susie Yellowtail, who is now enshrined in the Montana Hall of Fame. Fitzgerald spent the summer of 1971 living with Thomas and Susie Yellowtail on the Crow Indian Reservation in Wyola, Montana, where he also participated in the tribal Sun Dance. Michael Fitzgerald was subsequently adopted into the Crow tribe.

In 1975 Thomas Yellowtail and his wife made the first of a series of annual October visits to the Fitzgerald home in Bloomington, Indiana. During some of those visits Fitzgerald recorded Yellowtail’s recounting of his life and the history and details of the Crow-Shoshone Sun Dance. These interviews were edited by Michael Fitzgerald and later published as Yellowtail: Crow Medicine Man and Sun Dance Chief and Native Spirit: The Sun Dance Way.

The Yellowtails were to provide the Fitzgeralds with introductions to many spiritual leaders of other American Indian tribes; thus Judith and Michael Fitzgerald have spent extended periods of time over a period of more than thirty-five years visiting traditional cultures and attending sacred ceremonies throughout the American West, including the sacred rites of the Crow, Sioux, Cheyenne, Shoshone, Bannock, and Apache Tribes. These contacts led to the creation of a number of books and two documentary films on the American Indians.

In 2004 Michael Fitzgerald and his wife, Judith, a graduate of Indiana University and an artisan, calligrapher, and graphic designer, published the first in an award-winning series of illustrated inspirational books on the world’s religions, called “Sacred Worlds”, with titles such as Indian Spirit, The Spirit of Indian Women, Christian Spirit, The Sermon of All Creation, and The Universal Spirit of Islam. Many of the photographs in this series and in Fitzgerald’s other books were taken by him during their travels to visit traditional cultures around the world.

Michael and Judith Fitzgerald continue to live in Bloomington, Indiana, as does their son and his family.

Mr. Fitzgerald has written and edited many publications on American Indian spirituality, including Yellowtail: Crow Medicine Man and Sun Dance Chief, first published in 1991 by the University of Oklahoma Press, which he recorded and edited (now in its fifth printing). About the book, the journal Choice wrote, it "describes in exquisite detail Yellowtail's philosophy.... It is a serious work of anthropology and history."

Another notable publication edited by Fitzgerals is Living in Two Worlds: The American Indian Experience (2010) by Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), which has won many awards and distinctions.

All royalties for Fitzgerald’s books and documentary films on American Indians are donated to various American Indian charities, including The American Indian College Fund, Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian, for support of Crow, Shoshone and Lakota Sun Dances and to provide books and films to tribal colleges and high schools located on Indian reservations throughout the US and Canada.


WW's Books/DVDs containing the work of Michael Fitzgerald

Books authored or edited by Michael Fitzgerald

DVD projects

  • The Sun Dance Way (DVD), directed by Jennifer Casey, produced by Michael Fitzgerald, 2006.
    • Official Selection for the “Montreal First Peoples’ Festival”
    • Official Selection for the “American Indian Film Festival”
  • Native Spirit (DVD), directed by Jennifer Casey, produced by Michael Fitzgerald, 2007.
    • Official Selection for the “American Indian Film Festival”
    • Official Selection for the “Talking Stick Film Festival”
  • The presentation “Beauty and the Sense of the Sacred: Schuon’s Antidote to Modernity” in Tradition in the Modern World: Sacred Web 2006 Conference (DVD), directed by Roger Gaetani, produced by M. Ali Lakhani, 2007.

Michael Fitzgerald’s Writings Online
 TitleSourceAuthor 1Author 2SubjectWW HTMLWW PDFExternal Link
In this interview with the journal, "Vincit Omnia Veritas," author Michael Fitzgerald answers a wide range of questions regarding the American Indian spiritual tradition and the light shed upon it through the writings of eminent Perennialist Frithjof Schuon. Fitzgerald explains Schuon's historical and metaphysical ties to the Native American tradition, and discusses the roles that Black Elk, Joseph Epes Brown, Thomas Yellowtail, and others played in Schuon's relationship with the primordial tradition of the Plains Indians. The interview appeared in "Vincit Omnia Veritas" III,2.
Frithjof Schuon and the American Indian Spirit: Interview with Michael Fitzgerald"Vincit Omnia Veritas" journal web site at www.religioperennis.orgFitzgerald, Michael American Indian
In this blunt assessment of Sedgwick's book, Fitzgerald states that "Despite [the book's] advertising claims, anyone interested in understanding the basis of Traditionalism must look elsewhere, because the book does not explore the actual writings or thought of any Traditionalist author in detail. The book purports to be a scholarly document, but it fails on several counts to meet the criteria of such a work. This review will examine the following notable flaws…" and then proceeds to detail the severe shortcomings of this book on such grounds as shoddy research, scholarship, and fact-checking, and the author's efforts at sensationalism. However, above all, it appears to be the author's seeming inability to grasp the nature of Traditionalist thought that allows him to come to conclusions--or what is worse, to remain non-commital and resort to insinuations--that are absurd to those who are more familiar with the this school of thought.
Review of "Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century""Sacred Web" journal web site (from issue 13)Fitzgerald, Michael Book Review
This memorial piece on the late Martin Lings first appeared in the journal Sacred Web. In it, Michael Fitzgerald gives a detailed biographical sketch of Dr. Lings from his earliest to latest years. The sketch includes mention of Dr. Lings' many accomplishments, his books of prose and poetry, his association with Frithjof Schuon (including some comments of Schuon on Dr. Lings), as well as Fitzgerald's own observations on the remarkable character of Lings, whom he knew well. This piece is essential reading for those who would know more about this important traditionalist/perennialist writer and mentor.
In Memoriam: Dr. Martin LingsThe online library of articles at religioperennis.orgFitzgerald, Michael Biography
This bibliography is intended to be a comprehensive list of auto-biographical writings of American Indian women who were born in the first half of the twentieth century. This bibliography was the primary basis for the text in the book The Spirit of Indian Women , co-edited by Judith and Michael Fitzgerald and published by World Wisdom in 2005, and expands and updates work originally done by Gretchen Bataille and Kathleen Mullen Sands.
Bibliography of American Indian Women Auto-biographiesThe Spirit of Indian WomenFitzgerald, Michael American Indian
Preface to The Spirit of Indian WomenThe Spirit of Indian WomenFitzgerald, MichaelFitzgerald, JudithAmerican Indian
Selections from The Spirit of Indian WomenThe Spirit of Indian WomenFitzgerald, MichaelFitzgerald, JudithAmerican Indian
Selections from Indian SpiritIndian Spirit: Revised and EnlargedFitzgerald, MichaelFitzgerald, JudithAmerican Indian
Preface to Indian SpiritIndian Spirit: Revised and EnlargedFitzgerald, MichaelFitzgerald, JudithAmerican Indian
The People of the BookThe Universal Spirit of Islam: From the Koran and HadithFitzgerald, JudithFitzgerald, MichaelIslam
Selections from Christian SpiritChristian SpiritFitzgerald, JudithFitzgerald, MichaelChristianity
 11 entries (Displaying results 1 - 10) View : Jump to: Page: of 2 pages
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Michael Fitzgerald Film Clips film clip holdings: 1

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Clip Title: Will we see a Cultural Mosaic, Melting Pot or Both
Summary: This free teaching aid is a “Flash” film which has a voice-over of author and editor Michael Fitzgerald following PowerPoint slides that include maps and film clips. It is designed for use in classroom discussions around the question whether the future of the U.S. will see a "cultural mosaic", a "melting pot" or both, particularly in relation to the lives of American Indian youth.
Total Running Time - 13 minutes 59 seconds
Low Res File Size - 44M (streamed)
High Res File Size - 44.2M (streamed)

 Film Clips with Michael Fitzgerald (1)
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Page: of 1 pages

Will we see a Cultural Mosaic, Melting Pot or Both
This free teaching aid is a “Flash” film which has a voice-over of author and editor Michael Fitzgerald following PowerPoint slides that include maps and film clips. It is designed for use in classroom discussions around the question whether the future of the U.S. will see a "cultural mosaic", a "melting pot" or both, particularly in relation to the lives of American Indian youth.
Total Running Time - 13 minutes 59 seconds
Low Res File Size - 44M (streamed)
High Res File Size - 44.2M (streamed)


Quotes on Michael Fitzgerald

Living in Two Worlds is an amazing achievement, a powerful ingathering of knowledge and wisdom, and a significant offering to the growing field of Native American cultural studies and history.”
Midwest Book Review

“My son, Michael Fitzgerald, has been a member of my family and the Crow tribe for over twenty years. Michael has helped to preserve the spiritual traditions of the Crow Sun Dance and he has helped to show us the wisdom of the old-timers.”
Thomas Yellowtail, Crow medicine man and Sun Dance chief

“Michael Fitzgerald has heard the poignant narratives of the American Indian people, and has lived among the Crow people for extended periods of time since 1970. He has studied American Indian religious traditions on the earth, among the people, in ceremonies and family gatherings. We thank Fitzgerald for his deep-seated appreciation, honor, and respect for American Indian culture, its religion, language, and lifeways.”
Janine Pease, founding president of the Little Big Horn College, and National Indian Educator of the Year

“Fitzgerald has a great sense of discernment in selecting editorial material which addresses directly the concerns of contemporary man.”
Prof. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, George Washington University, and author

“I greatly appreciate the recovery work that Fitzgerald is doing, work that makes available for the classroom and popular use texts that have been all but buried in libraries. Work such as Fitzgerald’s is exactly the kind of work that needs to be promoted for a more complete understanding of early American Indian writings and oratory.”
Stephen Brandon, University of New Mexico

“Expertly edited by Michael Fitzgerald and enhanced with a Foreword by Thomas Yellowtail, Indian Spirit is a compendium that deftly combines powerful quotes with black-and-white photographs on every page to share with the reader the wisdom and faith of Native American leaders. The wisdom herein derives from leading figures drawn from many tribes, and the photographs offer unforgettable portraits of the people who spoke enduring words of reverence by which to live our lives…. Indian Spirit is a welcome and appreciated contribution to Native American Studies.”
Midwest Book Review

“One of the great callings of art is to excavate a lost part of our culture, and the Fitzgeralds answer this summons handsomely here in a compact exploration of Native American women’s spirituality.”
Publishers Weekly, on The Spirit of Indian Women

The Spirit of Indian Women … is an act of reclamation as much as of spirituality: it reproduces precious and seldom-seen photographs of Native American women, most of them from the later 19th century. Their images are interwoven with oral accounts, songs, and other documents that offer priceless glimpses into the little-understood lives and experiences of America’s foremothers…. The Spirit of Indian Women is a special treasure. Highly recommended.”
Library Journal, on The Spirit of Indian Women

“A copy of this beautiful little book [Christian Spirit] should be in every home. Offering after offering overwhelms us with consciousness of Heaven’s generosity to Christianity in the way of sacred art.”
Martin Lings, author of Ancient Beliefs and Modern Superstitions

The Sermon of All Creation is founded on the very ancient and venerable Christian tradition of insight drawn from ‘God’s second Book.’ Dazzling photographs, saturated with color, share pages with quotations from the likes of Catherine of Siena, Augustine of Hippo, and William Penn; the volume includes an index of authors for easy reference.”
Library Journal,on The Sermon of All Creation: Christians on Nature

“This book [The Universal Spirit of Islam: From the Koran and Hadith] sets out to explore if these sources [the Koran and hadith] provide a basis for improving interfaith relations. The Fitzgeralds give the reader space to come to their own conclusions, not taking sides in their preface. Their selections of Koranic and hadith passages show a unique sensitivity to and understanding of Islam. Accompanied by lovely photographs … as well as reprints of Islamic art and illuminated Korans, the titular ‘spirit’ of Islam comes across as reflective, wise, and bridge-building. The Fitzgeralds have reorganized some of Islam’s most sacred texts and art in an easy-to-understand format, not only underscoring the interfaith resources in Islam but the spiritual side of Islam as well.”
Publishers Weekly

“I am successfully using The Essential Charles Eastman as a supplemental text in my Intellectual Heritage classes. Michael Fitzgerald’s choices represent the pinnacle of Eastman’s intent to enlighten and harmonize the disparate elements of these two diametrically opposed, yet convergent cultures: Native America and post-Colonial Civilization. I sincerely recommend The Essential Charles Eastman for any educator or interdisciplinary course in which critical comprehension of pan-historic and multi-cultural ideology is vital.”
Prof. Gerald Musinsky, Temple University

“[Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy] is the definitive biography of Schuon that all students will have to consider when discussing this undoubtedly interesting and provocative spiritual master. Highly recommended.”
—from a review by Steven T. Katz in CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries

“I want to say a Crow Indian prayer: ‘Great Spirit, the work that Mike [Fitzgerald] is doing is important.… So, I pray for Mike that You help him, guide him, and protect him as he completes his work.… Aho! Aho!’”
Joe Medicine Crow, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the US.

Thanks

Published Works of Michael Fitzgerald

Books

Yellowtail: Crow Medicine Man and Sun Dance Chief. Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991.

Light on the Indian World: The Essential Writings of Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), edited by Michael Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2002; second edition (The Essential Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa): Light on the Indian World), Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2007.

Indian Spirit, edited by Michael Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2003; second edition (Indian Spirit: Revised and Enlarged), edited by Michael Fitzgerald and Judith Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2006.

Christian Spirit, edited by Michael Fitzgerald and Judith Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2004.

The Sermon of All Creation: Christians on Nature, edited by Michael Fitzgerald and Judith Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2005.

The Spirit of Indian Women, edited by Michael Fitzgerald and Judith Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2005.

The Universal Spirit of Islam: From the Koran and Hadith, edited by Michael Fitzgerald and Judith Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2006; New Delhi: Pentagon Press, 2007.

Titus Burckhardt, The Foundations of Christian Art: Illustrated, edited by Michael Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2006.

Thomas Yellowtail, Native Spirit: The Sun Dance Way, edited by Michael Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2007.

Joseph Epes Brown, Spiritual Legacy of the American Indian: With Letters Written While Living with Black Elk, edited by Marina Brown Weatherly, Elenita Brown, and Michael Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2007.

HH the 68th Jagadguru of Kanchi, Introduction to Hindu Dharma: Illustrated, edited by Michael Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2008.

Titus Burckhardt, Foundations of Oriental Art and Symbolism: Illustrated, edited by Michael Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2009.

Frithjof Schuon: Messenger of the Perennial Philosophy. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2010.

Living in Two Worlds: The American Indian Experience, edited by Michael Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2010.

A King James Christmas: Biblical Selections with Illustrations from Around the World, edited by Catherine Schuon and Michael Fitzgerald. Wisdom Tales. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2012.

Children of the Tipi: Life in the Buffalo Days, edited by Michael Fitzgerald. Wisdom Tales. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2013.

DVDs

The Sun Dance Way (DVD), directed by Jennifer Casey, produced by Michael Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2006.

Native Spirit (DVD), directed by Jennifer Casey, produced by Michael Fitzgerald. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2007.

Articles in English

“Estate Tax Implications of Close Corporate Stock Redemptions”, Trusts & Estates, April, 1978.

“The Medicine Teachings of Thomas Yellowtail, Crow Sun Dance Chief”, Shaman’s Drum, Summer 1991.

“View from the Bottom”, first published in Nation’s Business, February 1993.

“Prerequisites for Sustained Growth”, in The McGraw-Hill Guide to Managing Growth in Emerging Business, Stephen Harper, ed. McGraw-Hill, 1994.

“Frithjof Schuon’s Role in Preserving the Red Indian Spirit”, Sophia, Winter 1998.

“Frithjof Schuon: Providence Without Paradox”, Sacred Web 8, December 2001.

“Book Review: Against the Modern World: Traditionalism and the Secret Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century”, Sacred Web 13, July 2004; Vincit Omnia Veritas I, 2, 2004.

“In Memoriam: Dr. Martin Lings”, Sacred Web 15, June 2005; Vincit Omnia Veritas II, 1, 2005.

“Beauty and the Sense of the Sacred: Schuon’s Antidote to the Modern World”, Sacred Web 20, November 2007.

“Frithjof Schuon and the American Indian Spirit”, Vincit Omnia Veritas III, 2, 2007.

“The Universal Foundations of Islam”, Universal Dimensions of Islam: Studies in Comparative Religion, World Wisdom 2011.

Books in French

Yellowtail: Homme médecine Crow et chef de la Danse du Soleil. Les Sept Flèches, 2008.

Le monde sacré des femmes amérindiennes : Paroles et images du passé (The Spirit of Indian Women). Les Sept Flèches, 2008.

L'esprit sacrée des amérindiens (Indian Spirit). Vega, 2012.

Articles in French

“Le rôle de Frithjof Schuon dans las préservation de l’esprit indien”, in Frithjof Schuon: Connaissance et Voie d’Intéritorité. Connaissance des Religions, 1999.

Books in Spanish

Yellowtail (Cola Amarilla): Autobiografía de un hombre medicina y jefe de la danza del sol de la tribu cuervo. Hesperus, 1994.

Articles in Spanish

“Prologo Histórico”, in Edward S. Curtis, Los Debuinos de América. La Pipa Sagrada, 1993.

“Yellowtail”, in Caminos. Mexico City, Mexico, 1997.

“El papel de Frithjof Schuon en la preservatión del espíritu del indio piel roja”, in Frithjof Schuon: Notas biográficas, studios, homenajes. Sophia Perennis, 2004.

Books in Dutch

Stemmen van Indiaanse vrouwen (Spirit of Indian Women). Ankh-Hermes Uitgeverij, 2011.

Books in Japanese

インディアン・スピリット (Indian Spirit). Merkmal Ltd, 2011.

Books in Farsi

Foundations of Christian Art. Hikmat Press.


Photographs of Michael Fitzgerald








Grand entry of the Whistling Waters clan of the Crow tribe at a pow-wow in Lodge Grass, MT, July 4, 1991. From left are Thomas Yellowtail, Joe Medicine Crow and Michael Fitzgerald.

 

Michael Fitzgerald, Thomas Yellowtail and Susie Yellowtail, at the Yellowtail home in Wyola, Montana, Summer 1971



Slideshows on Michael Fitzgerald


Online Resources about Michael Fitzgerald

The "city wiki" about Bloomington, Indiana has a page on Michael Fitzgerald, focusing on his activities related to Bloomington. Click here to read this page on Michael Fitzgerald, which also lists a number of other useful links related to Fitzgerald and his accomplishments.
The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, in Indiana, has an online news article on the Fitzgerald family, giving some additional details of Michael Fitzgerald's entrepreneurial and philanthropic activities. Click here to read the article, with more on Fitzgerald's contributions to Bloomington organizations here.
The Indiana High School Swimming Hall of Fame web page includes some interesting biographical details on Mr. Fitzgerald. Click here to read the section on Michael Fitzgerald.
The Fitzgerald family supports cultural diversity and world music through the Lotus Education and Arts Foundation of Bloomington, Indiana. For more information on “The Lotus-Fitzgerald Endowment,” click here.
There is also a Wikipedia page on Michael Fitzgerald with additional information and many links.


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