Land and Medicine

Betty Booth Donohue

in Bradford's Indian Book

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780813037370
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813042336 | DOI:
Land and Medicine

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This chapter explicates the various narrative strands of Native American healing chants or medicine texts (the author's coinage) and concentrates on the particular strands that feature ancient tribal gods, hero warriors, plants such as corn and tobacco, primal animals, tricksters, and the earth. All the above-mentioned narrative strands are essential to a medicine chant's ritual protocols, but the land narratives are especially important because, in many traditional Native worldviews, the earth is seen as a sentient force with creative capabilities. Medicine texts, such as the Navajo Beautyway or Blessingway, are designed to restore balance. Working as a change agent, the land of the New World, assisted by Passaconoway, a medicine man, began Indianizing or modifying the English settlers. As the colonists were altered, so were their writing habits.

Keywords: Beautyway; Blessingway; corn; hero warriors; Passaconaway; primal animals; tribal gods; tobacco; tricksters; sacred places

Chapter.  5690 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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