Medicine Trails: A Life in Many Worlds

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9781597141178: Medicine Trails: A Life in Many Worlds
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A contemporary medicine woman tells her story Mavis McCovey makes no exotic claims about her powers, but describes those functions as seamlessly integrated in Karuk culture. More importantly, she describes a living contemporary culture, enriching the melancholy beauty of our shared world. Freeman House, from the foreword Sometime in 1933, in Northern California s lush Humboldt County, a Karuk medicine woman named Daisy Jones had a vision identifying the tribe s next medicine woman. Later that year, Mavis Smither (McCovey) was born, and in the first twelve years of her life she was groomed by a designated group of medicine women to become a spiritual healer. Medicine Trails is Mavis McCovey s honest and lively account of the many worlds in which she moves: the Indian and white cultural worlds, and the day-to-day and visionary reality of the medicine woman s world, as well as trips to what she calls the other side : one of the responsibilities of a medicine woman is to bring back a medicine man s soul if he gets lost on the trails of the world beyond a task McCovey has been called upon to do. One of very few first-person accounts of Native American healers, Medicine Trails is invaluable for its insights into the experiences of a modern-day medicine woman. And McCovey is a warm and engaging guide not only to her life, but also her family s history and the history of the Karuk, Yurok, and Hupa peoples of the region.

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About the Author:

Mavis McCovey has lived along the Klamath River in northwestern California all her life. Trained as a child to be a medicine woman, she assists with the traditional ceremonies of her tribe, the Karuk. The mother of five children, she has also worked as a community health representative and a nurse, and she has been an advocate on issues affecting the health and well-being of the native people of her region. Dr. John Salter is a cultural anthropologist, teacher, and writer who has worked intermittently with the Karuk Tribe of California and Karuk people since 1968. Trained by Gregory Bateson, Salter received his Ph.D. for a study of the social ecology of the Salmon and Klamath River area. He currently lives in Sacramento, California.

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