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Medicine Trails: A Life in Many Worlds Paperback – September 1, 2009
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By Mavis McCovey and John Salter. Heyday Books.
By Malcolm Terence
As a young woman, Mavis McCovey was trained to enter a spirit world by her Karuk Indian elders -- older medicine women. What's unsettling is that McCovey, now an old woman in the Klamath River town of Orleans, sounds somehow believable. For us materialists, judging magic is simple. It's all either delusional, illusional or confusional. But that pat judgment gets dicey when the spirit guide is a hero of what we now call the Herbicide Wars of the 1980s. This magic is not easily discounted.
In her new book Medicine TrailsMedicine Trails: A Life in Many Worlds, which she wrote with the seamless assistance of anthropologist John Salter, McCovey begins a narrative of her life from her birth in 1933 and goes back several generations before. There are the tragic histories like the time her grandfather, then still a boy, watched white miners burn their village and shove Indians back into the burning buildings. Or the great-grandmother who was kidnapped and raped in her early teens by soldiers in Oregon, then rescued by an itinerant peddler and returned to Orleans.
As a child, McCovey repeatedly had visions of future events that she might blurt out to the embarrassment of the adults around her. She talks also of her training by elders, some of it in a form of telepathy wherein their instructions entered her mind without speech. But the stories of magic are interwoven with the daily life of several generations in Orleans and, after her marriage, in Yurok villages downriver.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had heard about this book from a few people, and finally got a chance to read it. What impressed me the most is that Mavis is still alive, despite all the things that she and her... Read morePublished on December 2, 2012 by Grau
I have read many books on our local native americans and this is by far the best. I highly recommend this book to everyone.Published on May 13, 2010 by Mardi