February 13, 2007

Medicine man heals New Yorkers

American Indian Chief Performs Healing Ceremony for Upper West SidersA fragrant mix of smoky sage and red willow bark filled an Upper West Side meeting room that's windows were covered with blankets and plastic sheeting and whose door jams were sealed with duct tape. Standing near the center of the room, an American Indian chief and medicine man, Harold "White Horse" Thompson, chanted and waved stone-filled rattles that pierce the darkness with streaks of light.

About 30 men and women who had come to the Children of Life interfaith center sat around the chief. They had come to participate in an American Indian healing ceremony called a Lowampi.

A small but growing number of New Yorkers are embracing Mr. Thompson's holistic healing philosophy and making periodic trips to meet with him in South Dakota. In November, some of his adherents paid for him to travel to New York City, and last week they brought him back for another two-week stint.

"It's not about slowing down the pace of New York but bringing a different perspective on life and how we make decisions," a resident of the East New York section of Brooklyn who is studying to become a Lakota medicine man, Omar Miller, said on Sunday. "New York needs this kind of energy."

4 comments:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
Ordinarily, writerfella impugns no one's faith or belief system, save for Tom Cruise's slavish devotion to Scientology as writerfella is a science fiction writer and knows fully well the scam perpetrated by the Technocrat L. Ron Hubbard. But the 'Native medicine on demand' racket is nothing new. True Native healers accept no money or other recompense other than meals, lodging, and transport. This is a prime example of Rob's stating that Americans do not regard contemporary Native Americans as real people but rather as mystical and ethereal creatures of past history. The ones that writerfella knows as genuine perform their rites and ceremonials for the benfit of all, not merely for an enclave and a paying one, at that. George 'Woogie' Watchetaker, a Comanche healer, made quite a name for himself in the 1960s and '70s by traveling nationwide to do his Comanche rain ceremonies. It seemed a grand show and it attracted people by the hundreds to witness the ceremonials. But what history and news cameras recorded was that 'Woogie' never failed to draw rain, no matter how long it had been since it had rained in a given area. Yet, 'Woogie' never accepted payment but merely asked for his meals, travel, and lodging. He was a close friend of writerfella's parents and, before he went on his first such personal appearance, he came to the BatesMotel to speak with writerfella's mother. "Agatha," he said, "I want to do this, but am I doing wrong or hurt to the beliefs of our people?" Agatha laughed and said, "No, if for no more reason than you will find out what the White man believes and what he disbelieves. And you'll get to see parts of our land that you might not see otherwise. Just stay true to what you know and believe, and it will all come out right." Thus counseled, 'Woogie' became a Native man in demand and, surely enough, he saw many parts of the United States that he might have been unable to see on his own.
Sometime soon, writerfella may relate how he brought rain and thunderstorms to Seattle in the summer of 1973, using the same Native knowledge as did 'Woogie'.
Examine any such reports with those criteria in mind, and then you will know. Yeagley's gonna be jealous because he picked the wrong game to pursue...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'

AJ CHIBITTY said...

ALL DO RESPECT TO YOU ROB, BUT A TRUE NATIVE MEDICINE MAN NEVER CHARGES TO HEAL. THAT IN OUR CULTURE IS LIKE GOD CHARGING TO LET THE BLIND SEE IT JUST DON'T HAPPEN. OUR BENEFITS ARE TO SEE THE JOY AND POSITIVE OUTCOME AFTER A HEALING. MY GRANDFATHER THE LATE GEORGE WOOGIE WATCHETAKER NEVER HAD THE PEOPLE PAY FOR HIS SERVICES. ALSO BEING A MEDICINE MAN ISN'T FOR A SHOW AND TELL PARTY IT IS TO BE TAKEN SERIOUS AND USED FOR ONLY THE HEALING OF A PERSON(S) OR THE HEALING OF OUR MOTHER EARTH. SEE MY GRANDPA WAS TAUGHT AND LEARENED THE WAYS OF A MEDICINE MAN ALSO HE HAD TO MAKE SACRIFICE TOWARD THIS HONOR. I REMEMBER HIM TELLING STORIES A RELITIVE RECORDED, HE SAID HIS LIFE WAS AT A POINT WHEN HE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT HE WANTED TO DO WITH IT. HE DRANK AND SMOKE ALOT ACTUALLY TOO MUCH. WELL ONE DAY HE ASKED THE GREAT SPIRIT TO GUIDE HIM TO HIS DESTINY AND SHOW HIM HIS PURPOSE. WELL THAT NIGHT MY GRANDPA SEEN A SPIRIT AND HE ASKED HIM WHAT HE WANTED. THIS SPIRIT TOLD HIM HE WAS TO BE A MEDICINE MAN BUT BEFORE HE COULD DO THIS HHE HAD TO HEAL HIMSELF. MY GRANDPA ASKED WHAT DO I DO TO ACCOMPLISH THAT. THE SPIRIT TOLD HIM HE HAD TO GIVE UP SMOKING AND STOP DRINKING. THAT ONE NIGHT MY GRANDPA COLD TURKEYED HE BROKE ALL HIS CIGIRETTES AND THREW THEM AWAY. HE POURED OUT THE REST OF HIS LIQOUR AND TRASHED THE BOTTLES. HE THEN SET OUT ON THE FIRST VISION QUEST OF THIS NEW CENTURY. HE SAID TO HIS MOM I WILL NOT SHAME MY TRIBE ON THIS QUEST IF I DO NOT SEE ANYTHING I WILL NOT RETURN, BUT IF I DO HAVE MYSELF A VISION I WILL RETURN AND SHARE IT WITH MY TRIBESMAN. HE SET OUT ON THIS VISION QUEST AND HE WAS GONE FOR THREE NIGHTS AND YET DIDN'T HAVE NO VISION. ON THE FOURTH DAY HE SAID IF I DON'T HAVE MYSELF A VISION TONIGHT I WILL START MY TRACK AWAY FROM THIS PLACE AND AWAY FROM MY TRIBE COME DAY BREAK TOMORROW. WELL THAT NIGHT HE SEEN THAT NIGHT MY GRANDPA SEEN A VISION THAT TOLD HIM HE WAITED LONGER THAN ANYONE ELSE MEANING HE WAS DETERMINED. SEE USUALLY MEN WHO GO ON A VISION QUEST WAIT THREE DAYS BUT NO MY GRANDPA WAITED FOUR. WELL HE SAW HIMSELF AN OLDER GENTLEMAN HEALING. HE SAID I DONT KNOW WHAT I WAS HEALING OR WHO BUT I KNEW I HAD TO BE A MEDICINE MAN. SO HE CAME BACK AND TALKED TO THE ELDERS. HE TOLD THE ELDERS WHAT HE HAD SEEN. THE ELDERS ALL AGREED THAT HE SEEN THE VISION OF A VISIONARY THAT THESE ISION'S CAN NOT BE MADE UP. THEY ALLOWED HIM TO LEARN AND SACRIFICE WITH THE ELDEST OF THE TRIBES MEDICINE MEN. YOU SEE ROB MY GRANDPA WENT THROUGH ALOT JUST TO BECOME A MEDICINE MAN AND FOR SOME PERSON TO TRY TO MAKE THIS A WHITEMANS SHOW AND TELL PARTY IS A LITTLE DEGRADING AND VERY UNETHICAL TOO. I DON'T ASK FOR YOU TO APOLOGIZE OR FOR SYMPATHY JUST I ASK FOR STORIES LIKE THIS TO NEVER SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY CAUSE MANY NATIVES WILL READ THIS STORY AND BOYCOTT BUSINESS' NAMED IN THE STORY. TO YOU MISTER WRITERFELLA MY GRANDFATHER BROUGHT RAIN TO WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS TWICE ONCE IN 1971 AND ANOTHER IN 1982 AS WELL AS MANY OTHER PLACES IN THE USA. I JUST THOUGHT FOR FUTURE REFERENCE YOU MAY FIND IT USEFUL TO SLAP SOMEONE WITH THIS PIECE OF INFO TOO.

Rob said...

I called Harold "White Horse" Thompson a medicine man only because the article did. I offered no opinions about his credibility. Readers can read the article and judge that for themselves.

elizabeth said...

actually in this day and age medicine men do charge people now. Well they don't charge people per se the money that you give them is for their "food , lodgeing, etc and a thanks." so yes they are paid and a bit more. I know having lived on the Navajo reservation for 11 out of 19 years of my life. so yes medicine men do get paid.

Also in regards to the article, I know the Medicine way should not be put on display as some party trick however i do like to believe that these people have a sincere interest in learning about it because if i do say so myself, the medicine way is a better way to live. i know i'm biased having grown up in that belief however i think it's better because it's a way of life not just something you do once a week for a few hours a day. And it's based on balance and well-being in life, rather than "black and white, it's a sin and your damned forever." i think it gives a more positive outlook on religion and doesn't have a coropt social heirarchy involved. but ya that's just my two cents.