What it means to be healthy or to heal is not universal from culture to culture, from religion to religion. Indeed, in many cultures religion and healing are intimately tied to each other. In Native American communities healing is conceived as the place where ideas about the body and selfhood are brought to light and expressed within healing traditions. Healing is defined as self-making, and illness as whatever compromises one's ability to be oneself. This book explores religion and healing in Native America, emphasizing the lived experience of indigenous religious practices and their role in health and healing. Indigenous traditions of healing in North America emphasize that the healthy self is defined by its relationship with its human, spiritual, and ecological communities.
Here, Crawford brings together first-hand accounts, personal experience, and narrative observations of Native American religion and healing to present a richly textured portrait of the intersection of tradition, cultural revival, spirituality, ceremony, and healing. These are not descriptions of traditions isolated from their historical, cultural, and social context, but intimately located within the communities from which they come. These portraits range from discussions of pre-colonial healing traditions to examples where traditional approaches exist along with other cultural traditions-both Native and non-native. At the heart of all the essays is a concern for the ways in which diverse Native communities have understood what it means to be healthy, and the role of spirituality in achieving wellness. Readers will come away with a better understanding not just of religion and healing in Native American communities, but of Native American communities in general, and how they live their lives on an everyday basis.
About the Author
Suzanne J. Crawford O'Brien is Assistant Professor of Religion and Culture at Pacific Lutheran University. She is the author of Native American Religious Traditions and American Indian Religious Traditions: An Encyclopedia. She has also published journal articles and book chapters.
Table of Contents
Series Foreword- Susan Starr Sered and Linda L. Barnes
Foreword -Ins M. Talamantez
Preface- Suzanne J. Crawford OBrien
1. Introduction -Suzanne J. Crawford OBrien
2. Lightning Followed Me: Contemporary Navajo Therapeutic Strategies for Cancer- Maureen Trudelle Schwarz
3. This Path Will Heal Our People: Healing the Soul Wound of Diabetes- Michelle M. Jacob
4. Alcohol Abuse Recovery and Prevention as Spiritual Practice- Dennis F. Kelley
5. Figuring It Out: Sundancing and Storytelling in the Lakota Tradition- Larissa Petrillo
6. Restoring Sacred Connection with Native Women in the Inner City-Denise Nadeau and Alannah Young
7. Healing Generations in the South Puget Sound- Suzanne J. Crawford OBrien
8. The Stories Are Very Powerful: A Native American Perspective on Health, Illness and Narrative- Eva Marie Garroutte and Kathleen Delores Westcott
9. If All These Great Stories Were Told, Great Stories Will Come! -Rodney Frey, Tom Yellowtail, and Cliff SiJohn
Afterword - Thomas Csordas
About the Contributors