supernatural experience in which an individual interacts with a guardian spirit to obtain advice or protection. Of particular importance to indigenous North and South American peoples, these rituals varied from tribe to tribe. Generally vision quests required extensive preparation, occurred over a period of several days, and involved solitary vigils, prayer, and fasting; some cultures augmented the experience with hallucinogens and self-mortification. It was not unusual for vision quests to be integral parts of more elaborate rituals, such as the sun dance of the Plains Indians. Despite having been heavily discouraged and even outlawed by colonial governments in the 19th and 20th centuries, vision quests continued to be practiced by many indigenous peoples during the early 21st century.