• Gregory Shushan

“The Sun Told me I Would be Restored to Life” -- Native American Near-Death Experiences


The title of this article is a quote from a Shoshone Native American man named Enga-gwacu (Red-shirt) Jim, in his description of an NDE he had around 1890. He recounted how his soul left his body while still alive, but when he looked back it “dropped, cold and dead.” He then traveled to the spirit world and had various mystical experiences before the Sun — a being of light — told him he would return to life.


This is one of 25 Native American NDEs discussed in the article, which shows how they were commonly the basis for afterlife beliefs. In fact, entire religious movements sometimes originated in NDEs — including the famous Ghost Dance religion. This means that NDEs had a strong socio-political dimension, playing a key role in responding to Christian missionary teachings and in negotiating cultural-political threats from European dominance. Religious revitalization movements are typically studied from sociological and political approaches, but until now the significance of NDEs has been widely ignored.


"Gregory Shushan...brought his considerable experience as a scholar of near-death experiences in the origins of religion to a specific focus on Native American NDEs.... His article is rich in both case descriptions and ethnohistorical analysis" 

— Jan Holden, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Near-Death Studies and co-author of

The Handbook of Near-Death Experiences: Thirty Years of Investigation.


Click HERE and scroll down to read ‘“The Sun Told Me I Would be Restored to Life”: Native American Near-Death Experiences, Shamanism, and Religious Revitalization Movements.’" — and other articles!

Dr. Shushan is available for lectures, documentary film work, interviews, research, and other projects worldwide. 

  He is currently based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

For media or other inquiries,

please use this contact form:

  • Grey LinkedIn Icon
  • Grey Amazon Icon
  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey YouTube Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon

© 2018 Gregory Shushan

Sign up here to be notified of future events, publications, and blog posts:

By using the forms above, you consent to having your name and email collected and stored for the purposes stated: sending a query via the contact form, or subscribing to email updates relevant to this website, including commercial offers. Your personal information will be used for the specified reasons only, and you can unsubscribe at any time. If you would like to access, correct, amend or delete any personal information we have about you, please contact us via the contact form above. This website is hosted on the Wix.com platform. By using this website you are also agreeing to Wix.com's privacy policy (https://www.wix.com/about/privacy), including their use of cookies to track user information. Using secure servers behind a firewall, Wix.com may store your data through their data storage, databases and the general Wix.com applications. Your data is not shared with or sold to any other party.  

© Gregory Shushan