Thomas Buckley

in Standing Ground

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780520233584
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936447 | DOI:

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This chapter is a descriptive account detailing the typology of communal spiritual experts, the “doctors,” based on native testimony, statements, and storytelling. In the ethnographic accounts, “doctor” is projected as an exemplar of those commanding power. The chapter follows a continuum, one that continues to form an associational field in contemporary local discourse on “doctors.” Based on this continuum, doctors arise along a gamut of people with increasing powers to “do” things, “on purpose, every time,” at “higher and higher” levels. Many Indian people in northwestern California have had a variety of extraordinary “powers” gained through the inheritance or purchase of set prayers. These prayers, usually used in conjunction with herbs, have been the bases for making medicine toward a variety of ends, both good and bad. Thus, Yurok Indian doctors have risen along a continuum of human practitioners and powers and spiritual presences.

Keywords: communal spiritual experts; doctors; power; prayers; spiritual presences

Chapter.  16664 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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