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Indigenous healing practice: Opening a discussion

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Abstract

The authors examine and discuss the indigenous healing practice using Ayahuasca, an entheogen, which a concoction of plants and bark that induces a “vision state”. This shamanic healing ceremony is used today among indigenous peoples of South America and Southwest of the United States. The authors examine the phenomena of shamanism and the historic suppresion of such practices by missionaries, codified into law in the U.S. (Indian Offenses Act). Despite these efforts to suppress such ceremonies, they persist even today and are viewed as an alternative or complement to western practices that often fail to address the persisting problems many indigenous peoples face. The authors cite the National Catholic Bishops Pastoral Letter, Heritage and Hope: Evangelization in the United States (1991) as an invitation for dialogue to examine the question, “Is there room in pastoral counseling for shamanism?” This paper hopes to open a dialogue between pastoral counselors and traditional indigenous practitioners well aware of the sensitive nature of such an endeavor. At best our intention is to make pastoral care and counseling professionals aware of such practices common in indigenous communities.
Prue, R., & Voss, R. W. (2014). Indigenous healing practice: Opening a discussion. Journal of Pastoral Care & Counseling, 68(1).
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