A Cree Healer and His Medicine Bundle (2015) and Plant Teachers: Ayahuasca, Tobacco, and the Pursuit of Knowledge (2021) productively bring together two ways of seeing

I have recently been reading A Cree Healer and His Medicine Bundle: Revelations of Indigenous Wisdom (2015). The author notes read:

DAVID EARL YOUNG spent much of his childhood in Sierra Leone, West Africa. After returning to the U.S., he graduated with a BA in sociology and philosophy from the University of Indianapolis, followed by a BD in religion and anthropology from Yale University, an MA in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii, and a PhD in anthropology from Stanford University. Dr. Young taught anthropology for many years at the University of Alberta in Canada before retiring to take a teaching position at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan. He has conducted fieldwork in Mexico, Japan, China, and northern Canada. Dr. Young and his wife are retired and living on the island of Gabriola, off the west coast of Canada.

ROBERT DALE ROGERS, BSc, RH/AHG, FICN, has been a student of native plants and fungi from the Canadian prairies for more than forty years. He is a retired clinical herbalist, amateur mycologist, and professional member of the American Herbalist Guild. Rogers is an assistant clinical professor in family medicine at the University of Alberta. His over 20 books and ebooks may be found at www.amazon.com/author/robertdalerogers. They involve the traditional use of plants and fungi of the boreal forest with special attention to application by aboriginal healers.Rogers teaches plant medicine at Grant MacEwan University and the Northern Star College of Mystical Studies in Edmonton (www.northernstarcollege.com). He is a consultant to the herbal, mycological, and nutraceutical industries, is currently chair of the medicinal mushroom committee of the North American Mycological Association, and is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. Rogers lives in Edmonton, Canada with his wife, Laurie. You can visit their webpage at www.selfhealdistributing.com.

RUSSELL WILLIER was born on the Sucker Creek Reserve in northern Alberta. He grew up in a large family of twelve brothers and sisters. His father was a skilled hunter and trapper who passed his knowledge about the traditional Woods Cree way of life on to his son. Willier attended Catholic mission school but quit in order to help his parents on the family farm. Even at an early age, Russell showed signs of having been selected by the Spirit World to be a healer, but he resisted for many years. Eventually, he accepted this responsibility and received the medicine bundle of his great grandfather, Moostoos, a well-known healer in the area and signer of Treaty 8. By the time Willier received his medicine bundle, the knowledge of how to use the little plant packets inside it had been lost, so Russell showed them to elders and asked if they knew how these “combinations” were used. Gradually, over many years, Russell pieced together the information he needed to begin practice as a Medicine Man. Willier, who still lives on the Sucker Creek Reserve, travels extensively to treat those who call upon him for help.

I found the book very interesting which is why I have written the current post. I have also read Plant Teachers: Ayahuasca, Tobacco, and the Pursuit of Knowledge (2021) which I have found equally of interest and value.

The author notes for this study read:

The author of The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge, Jeremy Narby, PhD, studied anthropology at Stanford University and now works as Amazonian projects director for Nouvelle Plante, a nonprofit organization that promotes the economic and cultural empowerment of indigenous peoples. He lives in Switzerland.

Rafael Chanchari Pizuri is a native of the Peruvian Amazon, an elder of the indigenous Shawi people, and a traditional, healer. He lives in Iquitos, Peru.

A Feb. 6, 2019 Granta article rounds out the current post. The article is entitled:
“Confessions of a White Vampire: ‘Many of the people I was living with considered me a white vampire, who killed to extract human fat.’ Jeremy Narby on the Amazonian myth of the white vampire.”

1 reply
  1. Jaan Pill
    Jaan Pill says:

    Currently reading: Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands (2022).

    A blurb reads:

    Katie [Beaton] heads out west to take advantage of Alberta’s oil rush – part of the long tradition of East Coasters who seek gainful employment elsewhere when they can’t find it in the homeland they love so much. Katie encounters the harsh reality of life in the oil sands, where trauma is an everyday occurrence yet is never discussed. Beaton’s natural cartooning prowess is on full display as she draws colossal machinery and mammoth vehicles set against a sublime Albertan backdrop of wildlife, northern lights, and boreal forest. Her first full length graphic narrative, Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands is an untold story of Canada: a country that prides itself on its egalitarian ethos and natural beauty while simultaneously exploiting both the riches of its land and the humanity of its people.


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