This book is a must-read for anyone interested in Native Americans, the challenges the Native American communities face, or generally in holistic healing.
Author Kenneth “Bear Hawk” Cohen provides insights to Native American customs and practices, while motivating non-Natives to examine their relationship to the earth and the spiritual realms.
Cohen describes some of the elements involved in Native America healing, such as vision-seeking, dreaming, fasting, smudging, prayer and chant, music, counseling, energy therapies, ceremony and herbs.
This multifaceted approach considers the whole person, along with the community and environment in which the person lives. Native American medicine emphasizes living in harmony with the earth and all its inhabitants, including animals, plants and stones.
An especially interesting chapter is that on tobacco. Though mainstream American culture thinks of tobacco as unhealthy, Native American culture considers it sacred. When used as prescribed by Native American traditions, tobacco has many healing properties.
In another chapter, Cohen describes a natural, balanced way of standing, known as the Paleolithic Posture. This posture allows people to feel grounded and graceful.
Though in respect to Native American traditions, Cohen does not detail the sweat lodge process, he informs us of its importance and its sacredness to Native American medicine practitioners.
I finished reading this book with a deeper understanding and respect for Native American culture and its traditions. I better appreciate cultures with traditions that respect the whole person, the community, and that strive to live in harmony with the earth and all its inhabitants, rather than attempting to achieve domination over these others.
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