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The Medicine Men: Oglala Sioux Ceremony and Healing (Studies in the Anthropology of North Ame)

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0803279391
ISBN-10: 0803279396
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

For the residents of the Pine Ridge Sioux reservation in South Dakota, mainstream medical care is often supplemented or replaced by a host of traditional practices: the Sun Dance, the yuwipi sing, the heyok'a ceremony, herbalism, the Sioux Religion, the peyotism of the Native American Church, and other medicines, or sources of healing.

About the Author

Retired from the National Naval Medical Center, where he served as chief of psychiatry, and from Georgetown University School of Medicine, Thomas H. Lewis now lives in Montana.
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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in the Anthropology of North Ame
  • Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (March 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803279396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803279391
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,425,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Tom Lewis spent ~ 10 years at Pine Ridge, working as a psychiatrist in the local hospital. During that time he had the opportunity to interact with many prominent Lakota healers, including Frank Fools Crow, the most eminent of them all at that time. In this book he presents us with a sympathetic account of his encounters with yuwipi men, Eagle ceremony leaders, herbalists and other medicine people; he also includes interviews with white and Indian informers and his own observations of the life on the rez. He tries to be nice, but many details are quite scathing; the books describes graphically the Lakota disregard for their own environment, health and traditions; the drunken brawls, the dysfunctional family life, the distrust of the white man. The high rate of medical problems among the Oglala is associated with poverty, education difficulties, family disorganization, a disintegrating culture, the absence of an economic base, and pervasive difficulties with role, status and motivation.
The weakest point of the book is that Lewis never bothered to actually learn about Lakota healing; the book is written from a Westerner's "rational" perspective, taking no account of the reality of the indigenous view of the world and its mysteries. "Why", asks Lewis, do these people "rely on the imagery of the unreal, the mysteries of mythological formations, the magical techniques"? His answer is that the modern Lakota healer acts basically as a psychotherapist, reassuring his clients and weaving them back into the web of mutual social obligations. In my opinion, and experience, Lewis' contrast between the "magical thought" of the healers he encountered and the "scientific thought" he ascribes to himself look nowadays a bit naive and passe.
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Format: Paperback
Lewis a psychiatrist and medical anthropologist who stayed at the Pine Ridge Res in the late 60's and early 70's. From the book: "...he describes the Indian Healers - their techniques, personal histories and qualities, the problems addressed and the results obtained" . This is an excellent book for Native American studies, those interested in non AMA healing techniques and also should be required reading for all med students.
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