Native American Healing: A Lakota Ritual is a first-person account of how a contemporary, conventionally western-educated, Lakota ceremonial leader (a 'medicine man' in plain English), developed the perspective that allows him to conduct each part of the ceremonies he performs. The perspective that emerges from the pages of the book is, perhaps surprisingly to some, universally well adapted to contented, peaceful living in contemporary times. The Dog Soldier Press edition of this unique book changed only the cover art, interior page design and appropriate changes on the title pages from the original 2001 McGraw-Hill publication.
Native American Healing, 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.
An audiobook rendition of Native American Healing, in the author's voice and including sound effects and performances of the sacred songs from the ceremony is in preparation.
Author - Howard P. Bad Hand
Howard P. Bad Hand is a Sicangu Lakota from Rosebud, South Dakota, and was educated at The Lenox School, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and Sinte Gleska College. A 4th generation member of a family of singers known as song keepers for the Sicangu Lakota, he is a singer and composer of Lakota songs; he has functioned as the lead singer of the Heart Beat drum group and its predecessor, Red Leaf Takoja, for over 25 years. In his capacity as a ceremonial leader, he serves as the intercessor for the High Star - Sun Eagle International Sun Dance (see www.highstarsuneagle.org for information) For Peace held annually during the 3third week of July in Red Valley, AZ. He was a founder and co-owner of High Star Productions, Inc., which produced CDs and videos of Native American song and dance performances. He lectures and conducts workshops around the globe on Native American singing and the use of the I-Ching for personal character development. Widely known for his work as an intuitive consultant for spiritual approaches to life challenges, he also works with selected students on individually tailored step-by-step programs of character development using the I Ching as a guide.
Native American Healing - Reader's Reviews
"Native American Healing reveals to us how Lakota ceremony challenges us to establish proper relationships, represents a common effort toward the higher ideal, reminds us to honor our own goodness, and maintains the open doorways to the spirit world. A truly uplifting read!"
R.D. Theisz, Ph.D.,
Professor of English and American Indian Studies (retired),
Former Chair of the Humanities Department,
Black Hills State University
"Howard's stories and messages of peace, harmony, justice, and wisdom, combined with humility and service, remind me of the invisible threads that connect all of us - the Tao. I recommend this book to anyone. It's a wonderful read and a reminder of the value of family, community, and taking time to just be."
Margaret Cary, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H.,
Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President, Vox Medica,
Coauthor of Telemedicine and Telehealth:
Principles, Policies, Performance, and Pitfalls
"A complete and authentic representation of the true heart of Lakota ritual. Howard, known by the Lakota as 'the carrier of sound', is much more than a holy man held in great honor by all nations. As teacher, he honors the sacred integrity in all people. This book is a beautifully written story, filled with a healing truth that asks us to open our hearts to the voice of Spirit."
Reverend Patty Lucas, M.A., Religious Science Minister,
Mile High Church, Denver, Colorado
"It's not about miracles, although sometimes they occur. It's about the everyday struggle to be and do good. We make mistakes; that's the way humans learn. We fall on our face, laugh, get up, and finish the job."
Peter Rabbit, Poet, Author of Drop City,
Founder, Taos Poetry Circus
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Burton Jespersen ~ Any Road
Christine Autumn ~ Black Matter
Red Leaf Takoja ~ A Living Hoop
Red Leaf Takoja ~ Live at Fort Duchesne
Red Leaf Takoja ~ Live at Blue Lake Powwow
Red Leaf Takoja ~ Echoes of the Universe
Red Leaf Singers ~ Songs of the Warrior
Sacred Songs of Native American Healing: Sung as in Ceremony
Sacred Songs of Native American Healing: Songs To Learn By