Weaving Worlds of Medicine by James Fenelon

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The weaving of modern medicine and native medicine is key to the progression of the medical field. As mentioned by Dr. Henson, old native sources of foods like the Chaga mushroom can be the answer to complex illnesses like cancer. Bradley Henson was pushed to desperation to find a treatment for his father’s liver cancer. He then turned to the Chaga mushroom of his ancestors. This treatment helped significantly with his father’s illness. While we cannot dismiss the major leaps forward we’ve had in modern medicine, we should consider treatments from different cultural backgrounds on an equal playing field when doing tests. Native communities hold more answers than we think, we just have to learn to listen.

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My Wishtoyo experience

The village of Wishtoyo, is located between the dry and burning mountains of southern California and the cold pacific ocean. The briny ocean waves crash up and the mountainous heat bleeds down, and amalgamatein Wishtoyo, one of the most sacred places I have ever set foot on.

When we arrived I was welcomed by the amiable and smiling Chumash people. the keepers of Wishtoyo. We greeted and then entered this circular structure, partially submerged in the earth. The place was incredibly traditional, and when I entered, it felt like I was back in the past, and all that existed outside of this erection was miles and miles of wilderness, that expanded to the boundaries of all of turtle island. I camped at Wishtoyo for 3 days and 2 nights and during this time Mati, a wise chumash elder, and his people treated us to their enthralling stories and congenial ceremonies; all of which profoundly affected me. However, the sweat we had is of particular significance. The sweat consisted of all us men, and the reasoning for this, was for us to be completely comfortable and open. We all stayed up until midnight, and then prepared the grandfather rocks to be heated. In this process we had to be meticulous, because there was only a certain way in which we could set up the rocks. After they were lit, we sat and talked with one another, for a few hours. Here everything was realized, and in the lodge everything was manifested. At that fire I thought about my mother, my culture, and my relationships. Ar the lodge I sang for my mother, the person whom I owe my existence and everything to, and my culture, the crucial part of me which I finally began to truly reconnect with, all singing surrounded by my brothers and the spirits of my grandfathers. I am so grateful for my Wishtoyo experience, it will not be forgotten.

-Zaryn Prussia

Day 5 of Camp

Today camp was quite usual. The climax of my day was the first activity. We ran and practiced the formations of Aztec troops. It was exhilarating to run in such uniformity with my brothers. Although no words were no spoken between us,(for they were not supposed to be) I felt an increased connection to all of them from this experience. We were all concurrent. We all ran together, we all sweated together, and we all arrived together. There is an incredible trust involved in these formations; you follow the man in front of you, bequeathing the route to the man behind you, and when you get into a certain formation you trust your brothers are in their position, because in the past if they weren’t it could have meant death. The following activities were Aztec math, which I always enjoy, and basket weaving which is was interesting.

 

-Zaryn Prussia