Native American Healing
This book takes the reader on a unique tour through a ceremony designed and used regularly for more than a decade by the author, a widely respected Lakota ceremonial and spiritual leader and healer. Hailing from the fourth generation of a family of singers and song keepers for the Rosebud (Sicangu) Sioux Tribe, the author has chosen a chapter format based on the songs used in the ceremony. Readers unfamiliar with Native American spiritual traditions may be surprised to learn that these traditions are interwoven part and parcel with the music that accompanies them. No music, no ceremony. After a preface and 2 chapters of introduction to ritual and ceremony and the role of music, 16 of the remaining 17 chapter divisions in this book are related to songs used in the ceremony. Each of these 16 chapters opens with the words to a song, in both Lakota and English. The words to each song serve to provide the focal point around which each chapter is organized.
There is a lively contemporary debate among Native American people in general, and Lakota people in particular about whether spiritual traditions should be shared with outsiders, especially with non-Native Americans. One side of the debate has it that sharing these traditions gives away Native American's identity as a people. Another feels equally strongly that the spiritual traditions are a genuine expression of Native American life, and that sharing them is an affirmation of the dignity and unique character of native peoples.
The author chose to stay out of the debate by sharing those things which were uniquely his - his personal experiences that led him to develop the understanding that prepared him to function effectively as a spiritual leader and healer. These experiences are related Indian style, as stories about day-to-day experience, stories, for example, about digging turnips with his grandfather and conversations with his grandmother or about his experiences at an eastern prep school. Each chapter contains one or more stories whose lesson is focused by the words of the song that introduces the chapter. Non-native readers may be surprised to learn by book's end that becoming a healer is at least as much associated with developing a balanced understanding and state of mind as it is with technique and ritual.
Native American Healing is much more about the formative education of a healer than it is about his training for the specific duties of the work. Further, it is a contemporary record of a refined individual expression of a spiritual tradition whose roots were deeply planted in North American soil long before Columbus sailed west. It is, in another respect, a record of Native American experience over the last 50 odd years and of what one man, by his own choice, made of that experience. Because it has a foundation in common experience, the book's appeal cuts across boundaries of race and culture. It is genuinely a book for all seasons and all people.There are also two companion audio CDs available where Howard sings the songs used for the ceremony described in this book.
Also see CD: The Sacred Songs of Native American Healing
Also see CD: Lakota Sacred Songs as Sung in Ceremony
265 pp — ©2002