American Indian Medicine Ways
320 pages, 6 x 9
43 b&w illustrations
Release Date:17 Oct 2017

American Indian Medicine Ways

Spiritual Power, Prophets, and Healing

The University of Arizona Press
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
Clifford E. Trafzer is Distinguished Professor of History and the Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs at the University of California, Riverside. Trafzer has been an archivist and museum curator, and he is the author or co-author of many books, including As Long as the Grass Shall Grow and Rivers Flow, A Chemehuevi Song, River Song, and The Snake River–Palouse and the Invasion of the Inland Northwest.

1. Spirits, Landscape, and Power: Ways of Quechan, Navajo, and Apache
Clifford E. Trafzer and Benjamin Jenkins
2. Main Poc: Potawatomi Wabeno
R. David Edmunds
3. Kenekuk, the Kickapoo Prophet
Joseph B. Herring
4. Masking and Effigy in the Northeastern Woodlands
Troy R. Johnson
5. Spiritual Traditions of the Great Plains
Troy R. Johnson
6. Smohalla, Washani, and Seven Drums: Religious Traditions on the Northwest Plateau
Clifford E. Trafzer and Richard D. Scheuerman
7. Tolowa Indian Shakers: The Role of Prophecy at Smith River, California
Al Logan Slagle
8. “The Father Tells Me So!”: Wovoka, the Ghost Dance Prophet
L. G. Moses
9. California Indian Women, Wisdom, and Preservation
Michelle Lorimer and Clifford E. Trafzer
10. Coosewoon: Visions, Medicine, and Sweat Lodge
Clifford E. Trafzer

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