Cherokee medicine primarily focuses on the purity and wellbeing of the soul and assesses the physiological condition of the body as a secondary practice (Frazier, Goad, & Wolyniak, 2013). This holistic approach of healthcare benefits may be physical, emotional or spiritual. The Cherokee tribe combine numerous traditional Native American healing rituals including prayer, herbs, smudging, chanting, massage, counseling, harmonizing with nature, taking hallucinogens and ceremony (Lewis, n.d.). The combination of multiple healing techniques illustrates the Cherokee’s philosophy of medicinally treating an illness does not result solely from ingesting the plant or medicine, but from the delivery of the ritual of the medicine man that activates the medicine (Frazier, Goad, & Wolyniak, 2013).
The Cherokee believe that the basic human nature of people is a mix of both evil and good. The premise that good is rewarded and evil is punished is a core value to the traditional Cherokee belief system. However, unexplained events are often believed to be caused by someone using medicine for evil intentions. Indian societies share the common belief of witchcraft to place blame on unexplained and unfavorable incidences. The Cherokee culture believes in two types of witches, ordinary and killer witches. The ordinary witches are considered more dangerous of the two because they are less transparent and more challenging to counteract. Killer witches ploy medicine men to prescribe the wrong medications or cures ("The Traditional Belief System,” 2016).
In ancient time, dying from a natural death was an inconceivable concept. The Cherokee ascribed to the ideology that death is caused by evil spirits or invoked power of spirits. In addition to witchc...
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...ican tribes still eat a limited amount of traditional foods, although purchased non-native items have generally replaced the traditional hunted, gathered, and cultivated foods (Joe & Young, 1993, pp. 289-290).
American Indians are ranked significantly higher than whites to be at risk for fair-to-poor general health status, lack of access to health care, binge drinking, cigarette smoking, and diabetes. Data from the 2003 North Carolina Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System reported that risk factors causing chronic disease among the Native Americans were smoking, not getting the recommended level of physical activity (at least 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity on 5 or more days per week), no leisure time physical activity, consumption of less than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, binge drinking, and obsesity (Gizlice & Huston, 2004).
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