Expert on Indian Culture
Omer Call Stewart, longtime anthropologist at the University of Colorado and expert on Indian culture, died Dec. 31, 1991 in Boulder Community Hospital, Boulder, Colo. He was 83.Dr. Stewart's primary work as an anthropologist involved the use of peyote as a hallucinogenic drug in religious rituals by the Native American Church.
His study of the origins of peyote and its use spread through various North American tribes culminating in a book, Peyote Religion, published in 1987.
Dr. Stewart testified on behalf of Indians in several trails on the use of peyote resulting in favorable judgements in California, New Mexico, Washington, Arizona and Colorado.
He was also an expert witness for Indians in lawsuits against the U.S. government for non-payment of appropriated Indian land. In addition, he participated in the Institute of Behaviour Sciences Tri-Ethnic Project in Ignacio, Colo.
Born the third of seven children on August 17, 1908, Provo, Utah to Esther Call and John Riggs Stewart. Dr. Stewart graduated from high school in Salt Lake City. After more than two years as a Mormon missionary in France and Switzerland, he studied at the University of Utah, graduating in 1932.
He earned his doctorate in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1940 and taught briefly at the University of Texas and the University of Minnesota.
During World War II, he worked as an intelligence officer at the Pentagon and as a undercover agent in the Middle East. In 1945, Dr.
Stewart began his teaching career at the University of Colorado and was the first chairman of the Anthropology Department. He retired in 1973, but continued to carry out anthropological research until his death.
He was a member of the American Anthropological Association, Society of American Archeology and Society for Applied Anthropology. He was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi and Phi Sigma honorary fraternities.
Dr. Stewart's survivors include his wife, Lenore; two sons, Stephen and Carl; a daughter, Kate Smith; a brother Justin, Salt Lake City; two sisters, Eleanor Olson, Sundance; and Ida Coppolino, Salt Lake City; and five grandchildren. Preceded in death by a daughter, Ann Janin.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 25, 1992 in the Unitarian Church, Boulder, Colorado. Contributions may be made to the Native American Rights Fund, Boulder, Colorado, or the Friends of Pyramid Lake, P.O. Box 8947, Reno, Nevada 89507.
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