Topic: Medicine Man

Yuchi Treatment of Disease

The shaman secretes himself with the medicines, and filling a pot with water, steeps them, all the time blowing into the concoction through a hollow cane. This cane is about two and one-half feet long and has three red ribbons tied on it. (See PI. VII, Fig. 1.) This takes place between the stanzas of the appropriate song. Nearly all of the songs are sung four times, then a long blowing is given the medicine, after which it is thought properly charged with magic power. It is then given to the patient, who drinks it and washes in it, applying it according to the shaman’s advice. The song and ritual is believed to throw the disease into some animal, but not the one causing it. The following are a few of the medicine songs with the corresponding diseases, their symptoms and medicines. Names of medicine songs, according to the creatures believed to cause the diseases Symptoms Medicinal Herbs Deer Swelling, boils Cedar leaves Deer Headache Willow spices (?) Sun Headache Sunflower Young Deer Swollen joints and muscles. Cedar leaves and Deer Potato {Licinaria scariosa). Water Moccasin Swollen cheeks, toothache and sore gums. Dried twigs and leaves. Hog Nausea and indigestion (Hicrocicum species). Water Wolf Nausea, dysentery Sassafras. Snake Hunting Swollen face and limbs Cedar leaves. Little Turtle Coughing, sores on limbs and neck. Wild Cherry bark. Panther ┬áNausea, gripes...

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Blackfeet Medicine Pipes and Healing

The person whom the whites term “medicine man” is called by the Blackfeet Ni-namp’-skan. Mr. Schultz believes this word to be compounded of nin’nah, man, and namp’-ski, horned toad (Phrynosoma), and in this he is supported by Mr. Thomas Bird, a very intelligent half-breed, who has translated a part of the Bible into the Blackfoot language for the Rev. S. Trivett, a Church of England missionary. These gentlemen conclude that the word means “all-face man.” The horned toad is called namp’-ski, all-face; and as the medicine man, with his hair done up in a huge topknot, bore a certain resemblance to this creature, he was so named. No one among the Blackfeet appears to have any idea as to what the word means. The medicine pipes are really only pipe stems, very long, and beautifully decorated with bright-colored feathers and the fur of the weasel and other animals. It is claimed that these stems were given to the people long, long ago, by the Sun, and that those who own them are regarded by him with special favor. Formerly these stems were valued at from fifteen to thirty head of horses, and were bought and sold like any other property. When not in use, they were kept rolled up in many thicknesses of fine tanned fur, and with them were invariably a quantity of tobacco, a sacred whistle, two...

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