Native American Medicine Essay

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Native American Medicine

In the western world medicine is used primarily in the art of healing.   Native Americans utilized the world of medicine for not only healing, but also religion and culture.   There is no separation between them, the overlap.   Native Americans believed that natural things are connected and harmonic with the universe.   All natural things were mysterious and beyond their understanding.   Medicine men were   considered magical, super natural and mysterius.   Native Americans believed disease and human suffering was caused by disharmony in nature.   If a person was sick or suffering he was in disharmony with nature.   This is why Native Americans were very concerned with the condition of their surroundings, for example not abusing natural resources.

Medicine men conducted tribal ceremoniesdealing with birth to death, rain making, and war party pertection.   Many medicine men were also chiefs of their tribe.   For example Sitting Bull and Geronomal were both medicine men and chiefs.  

Native Americans believed that violating tribal law could have severe consequences.   Illness, mental health, bad luck, or a trauma were blamed on disconnection to the spirit world.   If the tribe broke traditional beliefs they believed evil spirits would cause harm to the tribe. If evil spirits were attacking the tribe it was the job of the medicine man to put himself into a trance and enter the spirit world to fight the evil spirit, the battle could take days to weeks.

When the medicine man was dealing with physical illness he would use herbal remedies gathered from his environment trying to bring people into harmony.   Along with the use of herbs, sweet baths, wearing medicine bags along with healing rituals people were healed.   Treatments were always confidential between the person and the medicine man.

Medicine men learned healing techniques by watching what plants sick animals were eating.   Then using the same plants for similar human...

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