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Native American Indian Medicine forTtreatment of illness

Taliman (1999) provided a portrayal of native perspectives on illness, using the example of a 1993 deadly outbreak of hantavirus in the Southwest, mislabeled as a Navajo disease since the first victims lived on or near the reservation. In an effort to overcome this and other threats, and because Native people have knowledge about living in high altitudes and deserts in the Southwest, a conference was held that included over 250 people. Elders, traditional healers, educators, tribal leaders and scientists and policy makers met together at the Native Peoples/Native Homelands Global Climate Change Workshop and spent days discussing problems and solutions.

Taliman (1999) stated that the Native Americans were not surprised at the problems since there had been a prediction in Navajo history that there would be a time of confusion and chaos. The Native perspective included the following:

I am a Navajo and I belong to the Earth. The Earth is my mother, my provider, my caretaker. I am her child. She nourishes me from her body and her soul. I belong to the land. I am rooted in my Mother Earth. Her deserts, canyons and mesas encircle me. Her mountains, fields and forests are a part of me. I belong to my people, the Dine'. Our clans live between the Four Sacred Mountains. These mountains protect us. On this land between these mountains, we strive for unity and balance. When all is in balance with our Earth Mother, our Sky Father, and the People, then there is hozho, or harmony (p. 35).

Thus the native perspectives were that all of life is related and interconnected and a balance must be maintained for harmony to exist. This balance is obtained through prayers and songs, and reverence and respect. Natives reported that the Holy People had warned against destruction of the earth and told about rocks and elements at sacred places that must not be disturbed. Consequences of this desecration would include disease, drought, and devastatio...

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