Coming Full Circle is an interdisciplinary exploration of the relationships between spirituality and health in several contemporary Coast Salish and Chinook communities in western Washington from 1805 to 2005. Suzanne Crawford O’Brien examines how these communities define what it means to be healthy, and how recent tribal community–based health programs have applied this understanding to their missions and activities. She also explores how contemporary definitions, goals, and activities relating to health and healing are informed by Coast Salish history and also by indigenous spiritual views of the body, which are based on an understanding of the relationship between self, ecology, and community.
Coming Full Circle draws on a historical framework in reflecting on contemporary tribal health-care efforts and the ways in which they engage indigenous healing traditions alongside twenty-first-century biomedicine. The book makes a strong case for the current shift toward tribally controlled care, arguing that local, culturally distinct ways of healing and understanding illness must be a part of contemporary Native healthcare.
Combining in-depth archival research, extensive ethnographic participant-based field work, and skillful scholarship on theories of religion and embodiment, Crawford O’Brien offers an original and masterful analysis of contemporary Native Americans and their worldviews.
Suzanne Crawford O’Brien is an associate professor of religion and culture at Pacific Lutheran University. She is the author of Native American Religions and the editor of Religion and Healing in Native America: Pathways for Renewal.
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Table of Contents
List of Illustrations vii
Introduction: The Case of Ellen Gray xvii
Part 1 Locations
1 Theoretical Orientation: Embodied Subjectivity and the Self in Motion 3
Part 2 Illness, Healing, and Missionization in Historical Context
2 "The Fact Is They Cannot Live": Euroamerican Responses to Epidemic Disease 35
3 "Civilization Is Poison to the Indian": Missionization, Authenticity, and the Myth of the Vanishing Indian 71
Part 3 Restoring the Spirit, Renewing Tradition
4 "A Good Christian Is a Good Medicine Man": Changing Religious Landscapes from 1804 to 2005 103
5 Both Traditional and Contemporary: The South Puget Intertribal Women's Wellness Program 149
6 Coming Full Circle: Defining Health and Wellness on the Shoalwater Bay Indian Reservation 190
Part 4 Person, Body, Place
7 "Rich in Relations": Self, Kin, and Community 223
8 The Healthy Self: Embedded in Place 264
9 "A Power Makes You Sick": Illness and Healing in Coast Salish and Chinook Traditions 287
Conclusion: The Case of Ellen Gray, Reconsidered 311