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Medicine

Among the Haudenosaunee male and female healers used many methods to cure the sick, care for the injured and maintain overall health. Skilled in the use of plants and herbs, healers knew which herbs would alleviate which illness. They knew how to set broken bones, dress wounds and even perform some kinds of surgery.
But the Haudenosaunee (179kb/2sec) believed that sicknesses were caused as much by magical causes as natural. To chase away evil spirits causing sicknesses and heal the ill, the Haudenosaunee employed spells, dances, ceremonies, sacred instruments and secret societies. Medicine societies have sacred masks which are used to heal the ill and chase away sickness.
Thanks and prayer was given to all herbs and berries used as medicine to ensure that they would work the way they were intended. Each community has its own medicines and traditions and it’s important to seek out the elders to learn these practices and keep the traditional medicines alive. Healing is as much a spiritual process as it is a natural and people must believe in the power of the medicine and allow the Creator (165kb/1sec) to heal them.

HEALERS

Haudenosaunee healers are those who have the traditional knowledge for curing the ill. It is the healers who know the various species of plants on earth and which can be used as medicines. They have specific methods of selecting, gathering and preparing medicines that are special to them and are kept only by them.

Some belong to medicine societies and have therefore the sacred duty to protect the use of the special medicines. These people preserve the rituals that guard and protect the nations and those for generations to come. Healers have dedicated their lives to keeping the medicinal teaching alive and healing the people.
Some healers use sacred wooden or corn husk masks in their healing rituals. These masks, many of which have been stolen and put on display, are only to be used for their intended purpose and should not be made unless they are to be used by members of the medicine society.

CHALLENGES

Traditional healers faced many challenges when it came to the sick and wounded. Many of the medical instruments we use today were not yet available, but that did not hinder the traditional healers. They were very well skilled in the use of plants and herbs, and knew how to set broken bones, dress wounds and even perform some kinds of surgery.