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Cry of the Eagle

Cry of the Eagle: Encounters with a Cree Healer

Copyright Date: 1989
Pages: 145
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  • Book Info
    Cry of the Eagle
    Book Description:

    Young, Ingram, and Swartz describe a process of shared vision and mutual change. They provide a rare insight into an aspect of native culture little known to the outside world.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2818-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Overview
    (pp. 3-17)

    This book is an attempt to understand our encounter with one man, Russell Willier, a Woods Cree healer, and what he was willing to share with us about himself. In the eyes of many people the world-view of one man, however comprehensive and however eloquently expressed, has little scientific value because one man can’t speak for his profession, his community, or his tribe as a whole. Although there is some merit to this argument, frankly we do not know where else to start except with a real person. It’s not that we haven’t received adequate training as anthropologists. Rather, we...

  5. The Spiritual World
    (pp. 18-39)

    Russell Willier, his brother Raymond, David Young, and Grant Ingram were sitting around the table at Russell’s house drinking coffee and talking about Russell’s plans for building a health centre on the reserve. Ray looked out the window to see ominous black clouds rolling in. ‘Holy sufferance! I should have baled my hay yesterday,’ he said.

    ‘I thought you were supposed to be able to prevent that kind of thing,’ David said jokingly to Russell. ‘I remember you had lots of trouble with haying last year, didn’t you?’

    ‘Right through till Christmas. I and another guy went to the fields...

  6. Good and Bad Medicine
    (pp. 40-55)

    In the summer of 1986 Grant Ingram had the opportunity to live with the Russell Willier family. What follows is Grant’s account of what he learned about Russell Willier’s beliefs concerning the relationship between good and bad medicine.

    I arrived at the Willier household on the evening of 10 June 1986 loaded down with what turned out to be mostly expendable items, such as camera equipment. My field-work was intended to complement the Psoriasis Research Project, which involved the treatment of non-native patients with psoriasis at a health clinic in Edmonton. My plan was to document Russell’s treatment of psoriasis...

  7. Nature’s Medicine Cabinet
    (pp. 56-77)

    Russell Willier, who has always felt a special affinity with nature, is well versed in the uses of roots, barks, and leaves that can be combined into effective medicines based on formulas passed down through generations of his Woods Cree ancestors. His healing remedies are collected from the forests, fields, and lakes in northern Alberta. Concerned that much of this knowledge will disappear, Russell decided to show us some of the plants that are available for use as medicines, with the hope that together we might find a way of protecting and preserving the plants and plant lore for future...

  8. Living with a Medicine Man
    (pp. 78-92)

    Grant Ingram lived with the Williers in the summer of 1986, the year before Russell’s father died. Grant was invited to stay in the Williers’ guest bedroom. A reasonable payment was agreed upon for room and board and an informal contract negotiated. Grant assisted Russell in his work, as part payment both for room and board and for permission to do research. Grant’s account of his experiences follows.

    Soon after I arrived I had the opportunity to witness Russell’s treatment of Sandra, a seven-year-old girl of East Indian background who had a severe case of psoriasis. Sandra’s father, John, first...

  9. Native Medicine for Non-Natives
    (pp. 93-111)

    Russell encouraged us, in 1984, to document his treatment of skin diseases. This was a rare opportunity for us, since Indian medical procedures have rarely been documented and most medicine men are reluctant to discuss practices that have a history of being mocked and ridiculed by non-native people. Russell feels strongly that Indian medicine and Indian religion are powerful and that it is his duty to demonstrate as much. Russell, moreover, is very concerned about young natives who show little interest or pride in native ways, specifically in native medicine. He believes that if scientific investigation can ‘prove’ the effectiveness...

  10. Two Case Histories
    (pp. 112-129)

    Early in 1987, Russell Willier phoned David Young from the Sucker Creek Reserve to ask a favour. ‘I need a doctor who is willing to work with me’ he said. ‘There are some things I can’t do, mainly those things requiring surgery. It would also be very useful to have access to modern equipment, such as an x-ray machine, to check on how a patient is doing’

    Russell went on to explain that he had a female patient, Flora Cardinal, who had been diagnosed, at a clinic in Edmonton, as having cancer. According to Russell, Flora’s cancer had been detected...

  11. Creative Encounters
    (pp. 130-138)

    Russell Willier and the authors of this book have been changed as a result of the cross-cultural encounters we have had with each other over the past five years. Before becoming involved in joint research with anthropologists, Russell was relatively unknown, except to native people in the Sucker Creek area and to a scattering of patients in Edmonton. The Psoriasis Research Project and the dissemination of its results in videotapes, journals, books, international conferences, and the media have made Russell known to many people around the world. This growing reputation has reinforced Russell’s belief that he has been ‘called’ to...

  12. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 139-140)
  13. Index
    (pp. 141-145)