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American Indian Medicine Ways: Spiritual Power, Prophets, and Healing
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University of Arizona Press
Pub Date: 2017
ISBN: 9780816537174
Clifford E. Trafzer
American Indian Medicine Ways: Spiritual Power, Prophets, and Healing
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American Indian Medicine Ways: Spiritual Power, Prophets, and Healing

by Clifford E. Trafzer

Indigenous people of wisdom have offered prayers of power, protection, and healing since the dawn of time. From Wovoka, the Ghost Dance prophet, to contemporary healer Kenneth Coosewoon, medicine people have called on the spiritual world to help humans in their relationships with each other and the natural world. Many American Indians--past and present--have had the ability to use power to access wisdom, knowledge, and spiritual understanding.

This groundbreaking collection provides fascinating stories of wisdom, spiritual power, and forces within tribal communities that have influenced the past and may influence the future. Through discussions of omens, prophecies, war, peace, ceremony, ritual, and cultural items such as masks, prayer sticks, sweat lodges, and peyote, this volume offers examples of the ways in which Native American beliefs in spirits have been and remain a fundamental aspect of history and culture. Drawing from written and oral sources, the book offers readers a greater understanding of creation narratives, oral histories, and songs that speak of healers, spirits, and power from tribes across the North American continent.

American Indian medicine ways and spiritual power remain vital today. With the help of spirits, people can heal the sick, protect communities from natural disasters, and mediate power of many kinds between the spiritual and corporeal worlds. As the contributors to this volume illustrate, healers are the connective cloth between the ancient past and the present, and their influence is significant for future generations.