A project of the New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center. Partially funded by the National Library of Medicine
Fact Sheets can be downloaded from the Internet at http://www.aidsinfonet.org
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Fact Sheet Number 708
NATIVE AMERICAN TRADITIONAL HEALING
WHAT IS NATIVE AMERICAN
Most Native American tribes have
traditions about health and illness.
These traditions are not based on
western science. Instead, they come
from the tribe’s beliefs about how
individuals fit in the web of life. This
web includes the tribe, all humanity, the
earth, and the universe. Many healing
traditions focus on harmony. Healing
occurs when someone is restored to
harmony and connected to universal
Traditional healing is “holistic”. It does
not focus on symptoms or diseases.
Instead, it deals with the total individual.
Different people with HIV disease may
focuses on the person, not the illness.
in each tribe are
recognized as healers. They receive
special teachings. Healing traditions
are passed from one generation to the
through visions, stories, and
Healing does not
guidelines. Healers work differently
with each person they help. They use
their herbs, ceremony and power in the
best way for each individual.
Healing might involve sweat lodges,
talking circles, ceremonial smoking of
tobacco, shamans, herbalism, animal
spirits, or “vision quests”. Each tribe
techniques by themselves are not
“traditional healing.” They are only
balanced and connected.
WHO WOULD BENEFIT FROM
Traditional healing can be very powerful
for Native Americans dealing with HIV.
It can restore a sense of connection to
their tribe and culture. This promotes
spiritual, psychological, emotional, and