Honoring the Medicine by Kenneth Cohen

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Title: Honoring the Medicine: The Essential Guide to Native American Healing

Genre: Reference

Page Count: 429

Publication Date: 2003

Summary: This well researched book explores Native American healing, spirituality and life philosophies.  Native American practices are compared with other worldwide indigenous practices and religions. Topics covered include the Vision Quest and dreams, smudging, sweat lodges, sacred pipe ceremonies, herbal healing, good and bad spirits and the importance of nature.

Recommended: Yes, this book is an excellent introduction to Native American beliefs and practices and would make a good reference book.

If You’re Offended: There are only three instances of bad language.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Although pipes with a separate stem and bowl are now the most common, in ancient times, simple tubular pipes were created from the leg bones of deer, antelope, or other animals. Tobacco was packed in the wider end of the pipe, and the entire pipe could be wrapped with sinew or rawhide to prevent the hot pipe from cracking and to make it easier to hold.”    “Smudging means using the smoke and scent of a smoldering aromatic plant to purify a space of toxic energy, feelings, thoughts, or spirits and to create a fragrant atmosphere that attracts healing and helping powers.”

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American Indians: Answers to Today’s Questions

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Author: Jack Utter

Genre: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 494

Publication Date: 2001

Summary: In a question-and-answer format, this book explores the past and present situation of American Indians.  Topics range from Treaties and Agreements, Culture and Religion, Warfare and Health to Education and Land and Resources. Because tribes vary, this book gives a broad overview of Native Americans.

Recommended: Yes.  Though my professor assigned this book as a textbook, it would make an interesting read, either all the way through or just the questions that you find relevant.

If You’re Offended: No problems here.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Today it is generally the tribes which define who is and who is not a member – though Congress ultimately has authority to intervene.”   “Official U.S. military involvement in warfare against American Indians occurred over a 115-year period, from 1776 to 1891. However, the U.S. Army was involved in a dozen or more ‘police actions’ relating to Indian tribes between 1891 and 1907.