Annotated Bibliographies

Anderson, Lee, "Legends in Sand: The Evolution of the Modern Navajo Sandpainting," Americana Indian & Western Shows,accessed May 30, 2011,
Anderson provides a very descriptive history and usage of sandpaintings by the Navajo. Sandpaintings has two forms one is the art aspect, but the more important aspect for us to focus on is their used for traditional healing. “Navajo religion holds that everything consists of powerful forces, which are capable of good or evil. The balance between them is quite fine; if upset, even accidentally, some misfortune or even disaster will occur. Nature is balanced. It is in harmony, and only man can upset the balance... All of these deities are constantly in flux, causing good and evil. The goal is for these forces to be in balance, or hozho, a perfect state.” Navajo religion and healing practice are link because most other sandpaintings are very closely tied to religion and they are use in chants. The quotation also hinted at how Navajo value harmony and that sandpaintings can be a microcosmic of their disharmonies world that they can try to manage forces in order to balance it with the sandpaintings. Here is a list of way of being out of balance: “killing a bear can cause arthritis, laughing at one can cause it to “get after you,” mountain sheep can cause ear and eye problems, killing a sand spider can cause baldness, watching a dog “go to the bathroom” can cause you to go crazy, killing snakes or lizards can cause your heart to dry up and your back to get crooked, yelling at a pregnant woman can cause the baby to be deaf, and so on; there are thousands of taboos and cures.” Maybe sandpaintings is more like a discipline for all the misdeeds they have cause in their environment. The correct way to fix the unbalance a chant is need that correlate with the cause. “The Navajo name for sandpainting, iikaah, translates to “place where gods come and go… the sandpainting prepares the way for the forces or Holy People to intercede and restore hozho.” According to this statement the sandpainting are acting like a gateway for the forces or Holy People to restore balance (hozho). Mentioning above the sandpaintings are not cheap, so the ceremony for one is also not cheap, but what health resources that are cheap?
Calabrese, Joseph D., II. 1994. "Reflexivity and Transformation Symbolism in the Navajo Peyote Meeting". Ethos. 22 (4): 494-527.
Joseph D. Calabrese II brought up some interesting question in his article relating the NAC. The use of Peyote as a tool or medicine to induce self-reflexivity in a Peyote Meeting. By now you may be wondering what is a peyote, will it is a psychedelic cactus.
“Native American categorization of Peyote as "medicine" and the relation of this categorization to the physiological effects of Peyote ingestion. Schultes called attention to reported cures as the key to Peyote's widespread therapeutic reputation; LaBarre, seemingly discounting any actual therapeutic efficacy, maintained that Native Americans had been impressed by the visions brought on by Peyote, which they took to be evidence of its "medicine power" (Calabrese II 495).
How do we measure the efficacy of peyote in NAC meeting? According to Calabrese, it is “the Peyote Meeting, symbolism has become a tool in the ritual generation of self-awareness, which, in turn, has become a tool in the therapeutic utilization of Peyote. As such, consideration of Peyote's therapeutic efficacy must include not only knowledge of its psychoactive properties but consideration of the Peyotist ritual process and symbolism” (Calabrese II 496). Peyote sometime often refer to as medicine, but Calabrese is pointing out that it only a tool in the therapy.  “Peyote is itself an important symbol, linking the general idea of personality with a natural substance. To my consultants, Peyote is not only a medicine that is used, it is also a spirit with which a relationship is maintained” (Calabrese II 498).Base off that statement we can say that the use of peyote is to reconnect with the traditional mythical aspect of Navajo religions. However there is more a peyote than meet the eye. “Peyote in terms of a psychotechnological revolution fulfilling the same goals as the traditional ceremony but in a shorter amount of time (one night versus five or nine) and with a much more profound psychotransformative impact” (Calabrese II 502).  Peyote can be a medicine base on this quotation because it seem to preform similar function as a medicine. We can also state that peyote is a link between traditional ceremony and NAC ceremony where thing are shorten to fit in with today modern lifestyle of the Navajo. So can peyote be view as a symbolic element that link religion and health together?

David H. Begay, Nancy C. Maryboy. “The Whole Universe Is My Cathedral: A Contemporary Navajo Spiritual Synthesis,New Series, Vol. 14, No. 4, Theme Issue: Ritual Healing in Navajo Society (Dec., 2000), pp. 498-520Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the American Anthropological Association Stable URL:
Begay and Maryboy attempted to illustrate the whole process of synthesis together the major practices of the Navajo healing system. These major practices are Traditional method, Native American Church, Christian healing traditions, and western medicine. Their catalyst is to use Sister Grace as an example because Sister Grace was born into all three major spiritual traditions. Through their illustration of synthesis these four major practices, we get a glimpse of Navajo therapies or remedies for an enlarge heart. From here, Begay and Maryboy lay out a very descriptive detail of Sister Grace’s Life. “Conception of a holistic synthesis following a traditional Dine quadripartite structure, which was designed to summarize the multiple levels of relationship that contribute to the complexity of Sister Grace's lifelong journey” (Begay and Maryboy 505). The quadripartite structure seem appropriate because Navajo value harmony and to maintain harmony, one must know the origins that cause this out of balance. Here is a ceremony called Blessingway. “The most important aspects of the ceremony were her spiritual purification and intimate oneness with God. She was purified of negativity, and she said that she felt a great sense of peace with the Creator. At the same time she was feeling a oneness with God, she was being energized by the Traditional Dine mountain songs that were being sung” (Begay and Maryboy 517). Not only does this give us insight into a Blessingway ceremony, but provide an explanation to the efficacy and the use of language. The way Sister Grace was focusing on God, we can all state that both Traditional and Christian systems are somewhat link with this practice of needing to accepting God or the Creator to be heal. “Sister Grace's own healing employs the laying on of hands. "The energy of God comes through the healer's hands into the patient's body. It feels like heat when it comes through into the body.... It's using God's energy to go into the healer's hands to the individual person for healing" (Begay and Maryboy 518). Here is an example of how some Christian healing is believe to be link with God’s energy. Sister Grace also recall her return to the Navajo reservation where they perform a ceremony for her.  “She explained her involvement with the use of the herb peyote: "I know the use of the herb peyote has helped me to clear my mind. She was able to meditate and communicate with God through peyote. The use of the herb was medicinal, according to her, and spiritual” (Begay and Maryboy 513). Sister Grace is interpreting this peyote as medicine that combines both the NAC and Christian system. 
Elizabeth L. Lewton, Victoria Bydone. “Identity and Healing in Three Navajo Religious Traditions: Sa¸'ah Naagháí Bik'eh Hózho´¸”
New Series, Vol. 14, No. 4, Theme Issue: Ritual Healing in Navajo Society (Dec., 2000), pp. 476-497
Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL:

John F. Garrity. “Jesus, Peyote, and the Holy People: Alcohol Abuse and the Ethos of Power in Navajo Healing,” Medical Anthropology Quarterly New Series, Vol. 14, No. 4, Theme Issue: Ritual Healing in Navajo Society (Dec., 2000), pp. 521-542  Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the American Anthropological Association  Article Stable URL:
Mr. Garrity attempted to explain why out of the three main healing systems available to the Navajo, only the Native American Church (NAC) and Pentecostal Christianity can help treat alcohol and substance abuse more effectively than the Traditional Navajo therapy. Mr. Garrity offers three crises that are currently affecting the Navajo. So how does the NAC and Pentecostal Christianity can influence the Navajo communities in the first place? “The growth of the NAC and Pentecostal Christianity among the Navajo is intertwined with the vast changes taking place in Navajo society today as it continues its transition from pastoralism toward a predominantly wage-labor economy” (Garrity 523). The shift to a wage-labor economy has changes a lot of things in their communities for examples: greater education and opportunity for the young Navajo, women in the public roles, losing touch with traditional kinship system, reduce the practice of traditional religious life, and just the lack of resources. Mr. Garrity is pointing out the fact that wage-labor has most change their communities structure that would lead them to abuse alcohol and among other things. As for why Traditional Healing system losing their efficacy cause of language. “Traditional healing has become inaccessible for many Navajos, who today lack the traditional resources and social networks necessary to have a major ceremony, as well as the linguistic fluency and familiarity with traditional culture necessary to embrace its ritual symbolism” (Garrity 524). Base off on the earlier quotation and how this quotation just enforce that reduce of kinship system, losing of their native language, and lack traditional resources has made Traditional healing system obsolete. Do not worry all is not a lost in Traditional healing system because of the NAC. “That is, road men are able to offer services that are meaningful in traditional terms but that are becoming less available from Traditional practitioners. In this sense, the NAC of Navajoland is engaged in the preservation of traditional culture and religion—albeit in a transformed state to which some traditionalists strenuously
object—rather than competition and eradication” (Garrity 528). The NAC are often referring to as the road men because they take their practice on the road. Most road men practice some form of Traditional healing methods, therefore the traditional practices is not lost, but just adapted with the changing communities structure. The Pentecostal Christianity does offer some therapy for alcohol abuse too. “In this sense, Navajo Pentecostal Christianity draws upon a "conversional" therapeutic experience (Csordas 1999). The conversional experience of taking up this new lifestyle is a highly emotional and transformative event for supplicants,” (Garrity 532). The conversional therapeutic experience is like a support group for the alcohol abuse victims and they often relate with bible’s lessons. While Pentecostal Christianity is not going to include Traditional method into their healing practices, the NAC has already include it into their method to give more options against alcohol abuse and other health problems that may occur.
Luckert, Karl W. 1979. Coyoteway: a Navajo holyway healing ceremonial. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
In chapter one of Coyoteway a Navajo Holyway Healing Ceremoonial, Luckert introduce us to what is Coyoteway. First of all the Navajo healing therapies are often tied with their religion a good example is the Coyoteway ceremony.  First there are multiple ways of contracting an illness that require the ceremony. “According to its more specific etiology, Coyote illness is mediated from Sun and Moon to humankind by predators… ajitee is passed on to humans when they eat the meat of game animals without the proper counter measures… received ajitee power from having been made pregnant by Sun and Moon” (Luckert 6). According to the statement, there is this god like figure out in there in space that cause the illness direct on to the Navajo or even through their foods source. Here are some of the symptoms that is associated with Coyoteway ceremony: nervous malfunction, shaking of the head, hands, or the entire body, twisted mouth, by cross eyed vision, by weakended eyesight, loss of memory or loss of mind, and by, fainting. All of those symptoms seem to be stating that Coyoteway ceremony is to help regain a person rational state of mind back and tame their animal instinct.  The way to correct these symptoms is by performance five different ceremonies that lasted from two to nine nights and it depend on the patient condition. “The process of liberation and recovery requires usually a two, five, or nine-night performances of the god’s (or gods’) own prescribed reconciliation ceremonial” (Luckert 7). The long ceremonies can be view as a way of taking a person out of there problematic environment and into one where they can collect their thoughts. The five ceremonies are unraveling, fire, basket-drum, sandpainting ceremoines, and the Ninth-Night summary. Those five ceremonies are beyond the scope of this chapter, but it is an interesting reading. 
Michael Storck, Thomas J. Csordas, Milton Strauss. “Depressive Illness and Navajo Healing,” New Series, Vol. 14, No. 4, Theme Issue: Ritual Healing in Navajo Society (Dec., 2000), pp. 571-597 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the American Anthropological Association Stable URL:
Storck, Csordas, and Strauss are trying to “juxtapose depression and what Navajos recognize as hochxoo 'ji (illness requiring treatment by the Evilway ceremony).” However this article is best for a general introduction to Navajo healing systems. The article does bring some comparison between depression and hochxoo ‘ji, a Navajo term of depression.  “Placing religious healing practices such as those of the Navajo alongside these biomedical interventions can help advance the alternative notion that depression is also a multiplex social process in intersubjective (community) life”(Storck 575). Both notion of depression is somehow intertwine with social processes and not just on the biological aspect. From here on out Storck separate each major healing systems for a more indept understand, starting with traditional Navajo healing.
“Meanwhile, Traditional Navajo healing, provided by a medicine man or medicine woman, has continued to serve a major health care role for Navajos. The Traditional diagnostician determines a patient's disease and disharmony through conversation and hand trembling or crystal-gazing techniques. He or she then typically refers the patient to a chanter (hataali) who performs or coordinates the performance of intricate ceremonial chants, prayers, dances, and sandpaintings to address the dysfunction or distress that brought the patient to the healer.” (Storck 576)
Even in the process of healing, we can see how important the community aspect is playing with the diagnostician typically refers to the correct chanters and among other thing listed above. Of course Storck would mention about NAC method and Navajo Christian.
“NAC healing is derived from Plains Indian spirituality and centers on a ceremony characterized by ingestion of sacramental peyote and night-long prayer and singing coordinated by the road man (healer), with the patient and his or her family seated around an earthen fireplace. Navajo Christian faith healing, usually based in communal prayer groups, weekly church services, or seasonal revival meetings, has been provided by Navajo Pentecostal ministers for decades.” (Storck 576)
Once again, Storck is illustrated the influence of community or family during a ceremony is strongly link with the desire to achieve harmony in both NAC and Navajo Christian.

Wyman, Leland Clifton, and Berard Haile. 1970. Blessingway. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
Wyman is introducing the Blessingway rite by state the uses and other important object during the rite. “The Blessingway rite is concerned with peace, harmony and good things, and should exclude all evil,” (Wyman 4). There are two mains rites that Wyman bring up and the other rite is Enemyway. The Enemyway is the opposite of Blessingway, where it mostly focus on bring up negative conditions. As for the Blessingway, it is for “the purpose of the chantways is primarily the curing of illness. They are concerned with the etiological factors supposed to be at work, of which four are most commonly adduced, i.e.; snakes, bears, thunder [or lightning], and winds” (Wyman 4). Will the curing aspect of Blessingway is to help establish a new way to regain harmony again after being over expose to one those etiological factors mention above. There is also another purpose to the Blessingway rites, “no matter what the specific occasion is, the aim ultimately is “for good hope,” for good luck, to avert potential misfortune, to obtain the blessings which man needs for a long and happy life” (Wyman 8). Just like a new house warming party, the Blessingway is very similar in that aspect, but is also cover wedding, birth, girl’s adolescence, and even dreams. Of course no Blessingway rites are exactly the same because each case is different and the event is also different. Recently just mention about the Hogan, will the rite is preoccupied about it. “Blessingway is vastly concerned with the Hogan, a term which has been anglicized from Navajo Hooghan, the place home. This place home is to be the center of every blessing in life: happy births, the home of one’s children, the center of weddings, the center where good health, property, increase in crops and livestock originate, where old age, the goal in life, will visit regularly. In a word, the Hogan spells a long life of happiness” (Wyman 10). Does that description of the Hogan remind you of the American dream? Where, if you got a suburban home with a white picket fence, isn’t that an American dream sound similar to the Navajo Blessingway Hogan rites?
1.      Csords, Thomas J.
Medical anthropology Quarterly, New Series, Vol. 14, No. 4, The Navajo Healing Project (Dec. 2000), pp. 463-475. Blackwell Publishing and American Anthropological Associations.

            In this article the focus is on the health care system in contemporary Navajo society. There are four main sources that are connected to the health care system of the Navajo society and they are Traditional Navajo Healing, Navajo Christian Healing, Navajo Native American Church Healing and Biomedical Healing. Within these sources there are separate traditions as well as key practitioners. In Traditional Healing the main practitioner is the hataalii whom performs the intricate chants and does diagnostics for methods which include hand trembling, crystal-gazing and coal-gazing. The traditional methods are important because they point out the key practitioners in the healing system. We see that tradition is important among the people in this culture and tradition helps to set up their actions performed in their ceremonies. Csords notes that there are distinct practitioners and that there are ceremonies that need to be performed by specific practitioners. For the Navajo Native American Church the key practitioner is the road man who prays on his alter and partitions peyote to the members. His only authority is God and peyote. The role of the road man is to impart the power of peyote to restore balance to the individual through its consumption and the ceremonies connected to it. For Navajo Christian Healing there are independent Pentecostal preachers who govern the prayer services and member activities as they relate to the members. All sources have a common theme, and that is that as in traditional Navajo culture, there is an importance placed within language and thought and talking to the patients to understand their ailments. Diagnosis is a key element in the healing process to all of the healing systems within the culture.

2.      Davies, Wade
Healing Ways: Navajo Health Care in the Twentieth Century (2001). Navajo Healing and Western Medicine Pp.2-12 .University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

In this chapter Davies introduces the connection between Western Medicine and Navajo Healing. He establishes that there are differenced within the healing systems that need to be pointed out. There is an introduction made to the beliefs of the Navajo and their principles, physicians and their healing principles. He notes that the Navajo healing system is holistic and that the focus of the Navajo healing system is to restore harmony to the individual. Whereas in Western Medicine, the focus is on curing specific systems and looking at the individual as components of microorganisms. The difference is very important to note because it helps the reader to understand the root of the problem between these two healing systems. This chapter also describes the Dine origin story. The Dine origin story describes how the Navajo people came to be and it is the basis of all of their teachings and beliefs. He notes that medicine, spirituality and culture is all interconnected within the Navajo culture. This chapter incorporates Navajo Traditional Healing as well as other Navajo medical practices. Davies makes a point that over centuries the healing systems of the Navajo have endured. This chapter serves as an introductory to Navajo medicine that describes the basics that one needs to know. We see that the key practitioners are Navajo healers, singers (hataatii) and herbalists. The healers serve as medicine men who access the power of the Holy People to restore the harmony of the patients. By diagnosing, and treating the patient they are the healers. They diagnose and treat the patient through a series or rituals, and chanting ceremonies specific to the needs of the patients. The ceremonies involve the Navajo healer (medicine men) as well as singers who perform the chants. There are also herbalists involved when the patient requires herbal remedies to be restored after the chanting healing ceremonies, or even prior to the ceremonies in order to provide temporary relief until the actual ceremony is performed.

3.      Davies, Wade
Healing Ways: Navajo Health Care in the Twentieth Century (2001).Toward Acceptance, 1864-1940. Pp.24-49 .University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

This chapter focuses on acceptance of the Navajo healing practices in the mid 1800’s through the mid 1900’s. During this time in history Western Medicine is brought to the Navajo people and as they are exposed to it, there is a struggle for the Navajo people to retain their own medical beliefs. The Navajo people still strongly believe in their own traditional medicinal practices and this chapter points that fact out. Through this time period we also see the efforts of Europeans trying to change the ways of the Navajo people, but the health activities and resources provided to the Navajo people are not up to standard. They provide them with the mere basics of their health care system, and as described their efforts are “half- heartedly at best, underfunded, unfocused and largely ineffective” (17) It is pointed out that in the beginning of the 1900’s the United States government attempts to become more involved with the Navajos and they try to commit more to the populations through their own medical practices. The main point of this chapter is that through 1864 and 1930 while Western Medicine was trying to plant its roots within the Navajo culture, Navajo people still strongly believed in their healing systems. They had full faith in Traditional Navajo Medicine and the healers in their communities remained highly respectable and trusted. As the numbers of missionary doctors became present within the Navajo communities, the Navajo remained attached to their beliefs and ways in medicine. Towards the end of the chapter we see that the rise of the new Peyote religion is mentioned and explained in connection to Traditional Navajo Medicine. This religion came about because the Navajo people are willing to incorporate new healing methods into their traditions as long as they do not deter them from their principles. However this pan-Indian movement of the peyote religion was not accepted by everyone among the Navajo community. This chapter introduces the Native American Church (NAC) which was created in order to facilitate the use of peyote by the Navajos who practiced the religion and its cultural, medical and spiritual practices.
4.      Davies, Wade
Healing Ways: Navajo Health Care in the Twentieth Century (2001).Medical Self-Determination, 1955-69. Pp. 105-114 .University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

The focus of this chapter is on the struggle of the Navajo people to maintain their identities as well as to preserve their cultural practices and beliefs. Included with the practices and beliefs are their medical practices. The time period of this chapter is 1955 through 1969 which is the time prior to the beginning of what came to be known as ‘Navajo Nations’ in which the Navajo resided. The chapter highlights the tension and differences that continued to occur between the Tribal government and Western Medicine. The struggle for the Navajo traditional ways to become recognized by Western Medicine physicians was prominent in this era. Another struggle the Navajo people faced at this time was the continuation of their healing practices. They were losing many practitioners of Traditional Navajo Medicine and it was getting more difficult for them to train the future practitioners. It was made difficult to become a medicine man for a young Navajo because with the economy in that period of time “many young people could not afford to pay for lessons or to obtain a medicine bundle and could not coordinate wage work with the apprenticeship process.”(110) the difficulties of training new healers added to the decline of the traditional practices among the people. However, the traditional healing practices still endured through these hard times. The traditions and ceremonies continued to be important to the Navajo people and it brought them together through these struggles of self determination. The chapter ends with a brief insight into what is occurring with the Native American Church at the same time. There is a struggle to maintain the religion and to gain acceptance of their practices among non-members of this groups. However, after WWII the NAC experienced that it was growing rapidly and it was an appealing religion to many people. The reason that is appealed to so many people was that it offered a new way of healing and spirituality to many as well as helping with a key struggle in the modern life of these people which was alcoholism. But we see that a tribal law banned the use of peyote during this time period and the feelings opposing the use of peyote remained very strong.
5.      Davies, Wade
Healing Ways: Navajo Health Care in the Twentieth Century (2001).Controversy and New Opportunities, 1970’s. Pp. 150-152 .University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

Davies introduces us to Traditional Healers and their own self determination in the 1970’s. He points out that they continued to look for ways to keep their beliefs and practices alive through the times in which it seemed that there practices would soon diminish. At this time the Medicine Mans’ Association (MMA) was formed in order to provide a voice and authority to represent the Medicine Men. The main goal of the group was to “commit itself to develop new health care systems which combine the healing arts and skills of trained Navajo healers and medicine men in conjunction with practitioners of western medical science, and thereby improve the health and well-being of the Navajo people.”(151) through the formation of this group came a lot of positive outcomes as well as negative outcomes. The group attempted to use their power to help their communities of fellow Navajo people however there were many oppositions to the group. Although the intentions were to develop new healthcare systems in conjunction with western medicine and Navajo practices, not all of the Navajo people were in agreement in how they wanted to accomplish these goals. There were opposing groups within the Navajo people who disagreed in the methods that the MMA attempted to use. Many traditional healers opposed the MMA because their methods involved certification, official documentation and paperwork that defied every tradition in which the Navajos operated. Thus, the MMA suffered from tension and arguments from non-Navajo groups as well as from internal tension within fellow community members. Through this time period Navajo medicine as well as the NAC continued to be seen and used as alternative medicine in connection to Western medicine.
6.      Davies, Wade
Healing Ways: Navajo Health Care in the Twentieth Century (2001). Cooperation and Control, 1980’s and 1990’s. Pp. 181-192 .University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.
This section concentrated on the advancements the Navajo people have made in regards to cooperation as well as control of their culture and practices in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The Navajo people have continually struggled to maintain their cultural, spiritual and medicinal practices in the United States ever since being exposed and connected to the Anglo American people. This chapter emphasizes the new health care of the Navajo people after their difficult adaptations, it highlights that the healthcare is not good in regard to the providers and the overall health of the Navajo populations. The federal Indian health care policies of the Navajos are outlines but it is encouraging because at this time the Navajos are free to advocate for better health care among their communities. Another key section in this chapter outlines the formalization of the Native American Church within Navajo land. During the 1980’s and 1990’s instead of being the opponent of the NAC, the tribal government became “one of the NAC’s greatest protectors. Along with many Navajos. The leadership had come to view the peyote religion as not only an ‘Indian’ but also as a distinctly ‘Navajo’ practice.” (181) The transition of the NAC becoming frowned upon, to being a prominent organization and healing system to the Navajos marks a time of great importance for both the NAC and its members. This chapter does not neglect Traditional healing as it goes on to present the importance that Navajo Traditional medicine has on the culture and on the community. The author concludes that the Navajo people experienced an acceptance that the future generations of Navajo people needed both Traditional and western medicine incorporated into their culture.