Saturday, November 5, 2011

American Indian Healing

Today I had just about had enough of the “pink parade” around town. I was driving into Dallas today and at a stoplight there were tons of woman dressed in pink…pink boas, pink jackets, pink pants, pink hats, I just about threw up. Everywhere you look in October, you see PINK. Pink on every other tag at the grocery store, from your favorite yogurt, neighborhood realtor to your toilet paper, every company is jumping on the band wagon for a race for the cure.

Seeing my father die from a terrible cancer infested death, it sickens me to see so many companies full of vanity exposing their name just for a little publicity. I’m sorry…but millions, if not billions of money is funneled to this organization and I don’t see any improvement in cancer research over the many years this has been spun out of control.

I have to say, with the combination of sending money to other countries to cancer research, and starving African children, we as American’s have not even considered our own heritage, our own soul, the foundation of our country. The American Indian Heritage, a beautiful culture that our time has simply forgot.

November is National American Indian Heritage Month and I would like to send a message that I love my heritage. Not only is my father almost full blooded Cherokee Indian but was a great and wonderful soul who loved nature and was a great story teller. He would tell me stories of my heritage and I was always amused. I remember him telling me the story of a Cherokee woman in our family that was a natural healer and I was so mesmerized. Cherokee Indian Healers were mostly men, and there were few women, so when I found out I had a healer in our family, I wanted to know more.

The Cherokee Indian Healers believed that true sickness came from within. They would first diagnose the aliment by asking about recent dreams and taboos that may have been broken. Some dream content would be taken back as much as 3 years. They would check for rings around the eyes or stomach pain. Until the 20th century they believed that most ailments were caused by ghosts, witches or spirits from animals.

If the healer had difficulty diagnosing the ailment, they would use a divination method known as "examining the beads." This was the procedure as described by the ethnologist James Mooney, "the medicine man holds a black bead (called adälön) between thumb and index finger of the left hand, a white or red bead between forefinger and thumb of the right hand, and, reciting an appropriate formula, examines what are the chances of the sick man. The brisk movements of the right-hand bead give an affirmative answer; its sluggish movements, or its remaining motionless, a negative answer." (Mooney and Olbrechts, 1932). Beads were considered to produce the true diagnosis and the resulting prognosis.

The treatment took the form of a mixture of plants, spirits, and messaging the body. Specific songs were also recommended and utilized during the healing ceremony.

Although I don’t have much insight as to all of her methods of healing I do know a few things about her and her name was so funny… Her name was Grannie Gore. She was my great, great, great grandmother, and she was a true, natural healer in Stone County, Missouri. She was full blooded Cherokee Indian from Tennessee. She used methods and remedies passed down from her native culture.

She has a pamphlet published in her honor at the Springfield, Missouri Public Library in the rare book room, labeled “Grannie Gores Ozark Folk Medicine”, by Sherman Lee Pompey, #MR 6155.83 P. Her real name was Nancy Gore and everyone knew her as Grannie Gore; she was well known in the Stone County area to heal others in time of sickness and special needs. Some of her healing methods seem so simple and something we wouldn’t think twice about doing to improve an ailment. This pamphlet was published to pass down some of her natural remedies, which originated with the Cherokee culture.

I would like to share some of her medicine notes that I thought you might find some interest in:

Yellow Pecuyne (Goldenseal) - Stomach Ache

Dried Powder and Linings of chicken gizzards (Ingluvin) - Bad Stomach Ache

Wahoo Tea - Body Chills

Skunk Oil, Mutton Tallow, Goose Grease & Turpentine - Applied to rags and placed on the chest for a cold or bad cough.

Bloodroot - To stop bleeding at child birth.

Wild Cherry Bark - Boiled down to drink to stop cough.

Horehound - For worms.

Button Snake Root Tea - For colic.

Catnip Tea - For sore neck.

Skillet Bark Tea - For Heart Ailments

Oat Tea - For Measles to prevent severe rash.

Flax Seed Poltice - For Boils

Artichoke Tea - Babies with Summer Complaint.

Sienna Leaves and Catnip - For laxatives.

Ginseng Tea - Stomach Cramps

Mare Water - Warts and Pimples

Yellow Root - Canker Sores

Elderberries - Longevity or to live long.

Sassafras Tea - Thins the blood.

Tablespoon of sulphur, 5 tablespoons of sorgum & a pint of peach brandy - More modern cough syrup.

Black Pepper or Cobwebs - Stops bleeding on a cut.

Raw Irish Potatoe (mashed) - Placed on splinters - wood or glass - To draw out foreign object from skin.

Pith from Goose Quills - Kidney Troubles

Pyorrhea of the Gums - Burn a red corn cob to cinders. Cool and rub on gums.

Various other Teas for various other symptoms - Penrod Tea, Smartweed Tea, Red Picuynme, Slippery Elm Bark Tea, Gingseng Tea.

Here's a story in the book about Skillet Bark Tea. A Dr. Lloyd with a medical license had a newborn baby that was born a blue baby with lack of oxygen. He had given up on saving the baby. Granny told him he should use some Skillet Bark Tea. He didn't know what it was but allowed her to administer a few drops to the baby. When they got up the next morning, the baby had color and was healthy. Dr. Lloyd took some of the Skillet Bark Tea back to his lab and tested its contents. He found was cortisone - a mild heart stimulant.

And finally in the words of Granny Gore herself…

"You see, the good Lord made herbs an' roots for the purpose of medicines. A lot of medicines that we used in the early hill; was nothing more than the same thing or the artificial substitute of these things used today by modern medical science."

Granny Gore died at the age of 96 in 1917. She was buried in the Old Philiburt Cemetery but when the Table Rock Dam was filled her remains were moved up to the Cemetery across from the Kimberling City Chamber of Commerce and her marker was no longer there.

I guess my Great, Great, Great, Grandmother, Grannie Gore would be proud to know that her Great, Great, Great, Granddaughter, Chrisie Cloud aka “Stormy” was passing on the tradition and knowledge of the healing power of our earth and how natural remedies are exactly what the world needs in this modern life.

Since I am suffering from heart ailments, I just might try some of that Skillet Bark Tea… you just never know, maybe those Indians really did know something about God’s Gift, NATURE…

Please remember our American Heritage, our American Indians, if you are going to donate money this year; please donate to our starving American Indians, to help the families, the schools in reservations and to keep our heritage alive. It is the foundation of our country.

May God bless all of our American Indians, our Culture, our Family…

Blessings…Thank you for stopping by…Stormy

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