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Opinion
Tim Giago: Exposing false medicine men


"In the early 1990s I asked my staff writer at Indian Country Today, Avis Little Eagle, to write an investigative series on fake medicine men and women. She tackled what turned out to be a 10-part series with trepidation.

It seemed that everywhere we turned in those days, there was another catalog or news story featuring medicine men and women of dubious distinction. An eerie similarity arose in the backgrounds of many of these would be healers and spiritualists.

So many of these new age shaman made similar claims. They had been adopted by a medicine man (it was always a man and he was usually Lakota or Cherokee). They had learned all of the centuries old methods of healing and ministering by these traditional teachers and when they felt they were ready, they set out on their own to spread the good news of Indian medicine and healing.

In the many catalogs where their ads were placed most had assumed names they presumed to be Native American (Blue Dove, Swift Deer, etc.) and set up shop. They developed a system of monetary charges for sweat lodge ceremonies, vision quests and so on. Of course, every true Lakota and Cherokee knows that there are no charges for the services of the medicine people."

Get the Story:
Notes from Indian Country (The Native American Times 11/7)

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