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The traditional Native American medicine man

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What role did a shaman play in traditional Native American societies? In Native American culture, the shaman is usually referred to as a medicine man or medicine woman. How was the role of a medicine man similar to or different from, the role of a modern doctor or priest? What religious and healing duties did the medicine man perform?
This solution provides an overview of answers to the above questions and lists useful sources on Native American culture and the role of the medicine man, or shaman. Focusing on Native American cultures of the Western United States, this solution will describe the role of a medicine man and how it differs from the contemporary roles of doctors and religious officials in modern societies.

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While the role of the medicine man differed from tribe to tribe, it's possible to make useful generalizations. First, from a modern perspective, the medicine man acted as both a doctor and a religious official, duties that remain separate in our society. As a doctor, the medicine maker didn't treat minor injuries or illnesses. These could be treated by many people who had knowledge of medicinal plants. People called upon and paid a medicine man for serious illnesses that could only be treated with the help of supernatural spirits who the medicine maker could ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides an overview of answers to the above questions and lists useful sources on Native American culture and the role of the medicine man, or shaman. Focusing on Native American cultures of the Western United States, this solution will describe the role of a medicine man and how it differs from the contemporary roles of doctors and religious officials in modern societies.

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