I need white people to stop pretending consent was possible during slavery […]
It’s a shame you couldn’t be more respectful about this. I am Cherokee. And for anyone who talks about their “race” being brutalized, it makes me laugh, really. No one /actually/ cares anymore, even the people I know personally on reservations, which, y’all aren’t stuck on, also, where’s your tribal court that gets nothing done? The white court system in this country is on your side.
Apparently you were given the opportunity to serve your country and go to college and study, of all things, history. (I applaud you, because I can’t afford to go.) At which I’m sure you had many a stuffy, white professor who masturbated to the rapist founding fathers… but I’m sure you payed that no mind.
Please have more respect when you write such things. The obscene language is just overpowering and destroys any respect I could have had for you.
And this is why I’m blogging about the Tulsa shootings today. NDNs, especially Cherokee and other former slave-holding tribes, y’all need to do something about the violent hatred of Black people in your communities. We HAVE to talk about this.
The unity of all life, is a theme that runs through the myths of the creation of the Native North American world. Native American peoples believe that the Earth is female. She gives birth to all the animals, birds, insects, human beings and plants, and continues to offer them healing from her abundant store. Her life force is imbued equally in minerals, plants, and animals, including humankind. Different species are interlinked, so that a plant for example can offer a human healing, but in return the human must care for the plant.
Healing in this tradition involves maintaining and if necessary restoring the natural balance in the land and people, a harmony that operates on the spiritual as well as on the mental and physical planes. Medicine in the Native North American world means power or energy.
A Medicine Women is therefore healer, teacher, preacher and weaver of magic. Jamie Sams, a Native American shaman of Cherokee and Seneca descent explains: “When we look at the idea of Medicine, we have to embrace the total person, the body, the heart and the mind and spirit. When these parts are out of balance, there is a need for healing” A person’s medicine is that power which is generated by his or her own talents and strengths, used in a positive way to achieve the right path in life, a path that is called the Beauty Way.
Medicine Women have always been as prevalent as Medicine Men among the Native American peoples. Even where there is a Medicine Man, it is his wife who is keeper of the herb, plant and tree lore that is central to the healing tradition, and who will prepare the herbs for smudging and create healing potions and salves.
A family might have a strong tradition of Medicine Women who inherit the role, or a women may be chosen as a gifted child who might be trained by a practicing Medicine Woman. But in every case, the calling of the initiate is confirmed in a special dream, which is sometimes induced by fasting or a period of solitude. In the dream, the spirit of an animal, a plant or one of the goddess/spirit women imparts secret healing knowledge that can only be validated by the Medicine Women of the people.
The Medicine Women’s training is not complete until middle age. For healing wisdom does not involve just a knowledge of healing plants; it is a connection with the living spirits of the trees, the herbs and the wise ancestors. An initiate learns to read the cause of imbalance or missing strength from the aura of a sick or distressed person, and to identify the plant whose aura reflects the missing quality or antidote. The process therefore involves intuitive and clairvoyant powers, and the ability to contact The Ancestors to call down their healing energies.
Because women were revered as daughters of Grandmother Spider Woman, Medicine Women were once asked to make shields for warriors or those who traveled far away, or to endow the shields with power using special chants.
Modern Native American Medicine Women hold the repository of ancient secrets and acts as a powerful cohesive force through difficult times, teaching the ways ways of the ancestors to those of the young who are willing to listen. They have also increasingly handed on their wisdom to other nations, holding moon lodges where women can learn to harmonise with their own cycles, to gather herbs for healing potions and to smudge away their own imbalance. To learn more about the ways of the Amerindian wise women, I can heartily recommend the book ‘Medicine Women’, by Lynn Andrews.
I hope that you enjoy reading this post as much as I did learning about the ways of the Native American Medicine Women, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it and would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Love and Light
There’s a Cherokee/Seneca medicine woman talking about the “beauty way” *and* there’s a rec for lynn andrews’ medicine woman?
I’m no expert but I thought the “beauty way” was a Navajo concept.
And Lynn Andrews was called out as a fraud by native people literally decades ago.
And there is no single one “way” that medicine people do anything across all 500+ native tribes. Native people are not a monolith.
I rarely see such appropriation and commodification so blatantly, but I’m not suffering alone here.
For more Native criticism of appropriation of spirituality, i suggest “Plastic Shamans and Astroturf Sundances.”
More, though, is going on here, which is the sometimes heart-stopping recognition on the part of leaders of a slave-owning nation that many of those slaves who are so easy to think of as being THEM are in fact US. To be blunt, a history of modern slavery is also a history of rape. To be a slave among the Cherokees was to be sexually available to those who controlled your life. By the 1890s, a legal distinction between the Freedmen and those who were Cherokee “by blood” emerged, but in the moral universe such a distinction was hard to make, and even today the claim of those in the Cherokee majority who say they are primarily interested in maintaining their nation for those who can verify that they have Cherokee lineage rings hollow alongside the murky history of violence that Cherokee slaves and their descendants have inhabited. Such claims fail to rise to the level of those earlier Cherokees who understood that the tragic absurdity of reconciling a nation to its history of slavery requires wisdom and compassion, not insulting and ridiculous appeals to faulty membership requirements and the poses of victimhood.