American Indian Medicine Ways

Spiritual Power, Prophets, and Healing

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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.


R. David Edmunds
Joseph B. Herring
Benjamin Jenkins
Troy R. Johnson
Michelle Lorimer
L. G. Moses
Richard D. Scheuerman
Al Logan Slagle
Clifford E. Trafzer
American Indian Medicine Ways deserves a spot on the bookshelf.”—Patrisia Gonzales, Pacific Northwest Quarterly

"This is a must-have book for historians, anthropologists, and scholars of religion, as well as for everyone inter­ested in Native spirituality and medicine ways. As an anthropology student, I certainly would have enjoyed reading and discussing these essays in graduate seminars."—Aleksandr Chudak, The Chronicles of Oklahoma

“For anyone interested in the spiritual ways of American Indians, this collection provides a compelling introduction to the metaphysical and physical reality of Indian Country from the past to the present.”—Donald L. Fixico, author of Indian Resilience and Rebuilding

“Clifford E. Trafzer brings together leading scholars to examine the importance of American Indian medicine ways to American Indian history and contemporary American Indian life.”—William J. Bauer Jr., author of We Were All Like Migrant Workers Here

“The collection’s diversity of subjects, regions, and cultures supports the larger idea of native spirit power in its various forms and uses, and how this larger concept remains relevant today.”—Tash Smith, author of Capture These Indians for the Lord
American Indian Medicine Ways
320 Pages 6 x 9
Published: October 2017Paperback ISBN: 9780816537174
Published: October 2017Ebook ISBN: 9780816537426

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