Native American Tales

The Origin of the Curing Ceremonies

The Origin of the Curing CeremoniesThe Origin of the Curing Ceremonies

White Mountain Apache

The One Who Made the Earth intended for each man to have his own piece of land. When they didn’t like it, he told them they could move. Two men came among them who were ill and no one knew what to do.

The One Who Made the Earth suggested that they sing songs over the ill men to cure them. Four men started. One man on the East Side chanted a prayer on the first evening. On the second evening, the one on the south started to drum and sing lightning songs. On the third evening, the one on the west chanted a prayer. On the fourth evening, the one on the north drummed and sang lightning songs. This pattern was not made up, The One Who Made the Earth had given it to them; he also suggested that the men say some words over the sick men.

This was the beginning of curing ceremonies. The people understood that there were different kinds of sickness and different ways to cure those sicknesses.


Every sickness has a cure. In the survivalist mindset, often if there is a plant that causes you to be sick, many times there will be another plant nearby that will cause you to get better, or at least help the situation.


This story is about healing and medicine. This is no different from the idea of laying on hands that some Christian religions have. If something works, who are we to argue with it? If someone stands around you and chant and you get better? Who cares how it happened? If someone puts their hands on you and says a prayer and you get better because of it, again, who cares? If it works, it works. There is no arguing that. Traditional Native American healing ceremonies may look nothing like a doctor’s office and a prescription, but if they help you out, who cares if it’s not a doctor’s office?

So many people are stuck in the mindset that the only way you can get healthy or better involves an MD and a sterile doctor’s office; this is called western medicine, which is rather a misnomer. They forget about Naturopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, herbal medicines, laying on of hands, conjuring, and yes, even medicine ceremonies from natives. If you go to an acupuncturist and they help your issue where a doctor could not, who freaking cares? If it works, do it.

Whatever works.


I really like the idea that there’s a way to cure everything somewhere, maybe we just haven’t discovered all the cures yet.

Weigh In

Would you use a non-western medicine approach to curing an illness?

Do you know anyone who regularly uses non-western medicine?


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