Native American men often returned home from battle haunted. The violent images of actions including their own left their spirits wounded. To mend that which had been broken, many tribes welcomed the warriors with the warmest of embraces. A sweat ceremony, a purification ritual, helped bring the men peace and make them whole.Fast forward hundreds of years to Vietnam flashbacks, IEDs in Iraq, foreign deployments that last for months, even years, on end. Today psychologists regularly invoke the term "post-traumatic stress disorder."Combine combat trauma with perhapsa history of sexual, physical or emotional abuse, divorce, unemployment or even homelessness, and it's no wonder substance abuse programs at Veterans Administration hospitals see a steady flow of patients.
Shame and guilt, after all, can drive the most well-meaning of individuals to self-destruct.
Salt Lake City's VA Medical
Center is tapping into an age-old tradition to help these troubled
veterans, inviting them, voluntarily, to sweat, regardless of their
"Oftentimes vets who have
been in combat, their spirit is still overseas," says Arnold Thomas,
the spiritual leader who conducts the twice-monthly and year-round
ceremonies in the VA hospital's sweat lodge.
We want to bring "his
spirit back into his body and welcome him home again."
Tucked behind Building4 on
the sprawling VA hospital campus, beyond the metal gate featuring a
medicine wheel and the word Purtkwahgahm (Ute Indian for "healing
ground") sits the sweat lodge, established more than four years ago.
A handful of veterans,
including alumni and others currently in the North Star substance abuse
program, help prepare for the ceremony. They chop kindling, for several
hours, to fuel the fire that'll heat more than 30 lava stones. Several
men, including one Native American in a T-shirt featuring an eagle and
the phrases, "Pure American" and "Live Free," stand by ready to assist
in building the fire, setting up the altar and doling out prayers.
James, an Anglo veteran in
recovery after a 30-year addiction to cocaine, says the treatment
program and the sweat ceremonies have saved him.
It was found in the foundation of a Wampanoag house around 1800. In 1930, it was moved to the reconstruction of the Aptucxet Trading Post, the first commercial business in what is now the United States. Other than that, there are few facts available. It's a 200 pound stone that has moved around a bit. Some say it was once the threshold of an Indian church, although the inscriptions were buried so as not to spook the Indians. "Experts" claim the writings are from: Vikings (of course),...Native American mysticism
Anthony North: One area of spirituality often ignored by the wider world is the Native American. The Native American mystic is often known as the Medicine Man, principally because of his power to heal, but also to communicate with the supernatural. A continuation of the early shaman, endemic to most tribal societies, he also bears many similarities to the guru. The ‘Medicine Man" most likely survived from before the migrations across the Bering Strait over twenty thousand years ago. Mystical app...Truth Emerges About Quicksand
Scientists have given the lie to the hoary scene in Westerns in which a cowboy slowly drowns in quicksand or alternatively is cast a lifeline by a buddy and gets hauled to safety. Physicists in the Netherlands built a miniature quicksand in their lab, mixing up fine sand, clay and saltwater. They discovered that quicksand becomes more viscous very slowly: it takes days for the substance to become progressively more toffee-like inconsistency. On the other hand, it loses this viscosi...Tooth marks link Vikings, Indians
A scientist who found deep grooves chiselled into the teeth of dozens of 1,000-year-old Viking skeletons unearthed in Sweden believes the strange custom might have been learned from aboriginal tribes during ancient Norse voyages to North America -- a finding that would represent an unprecedented case of transatlantic, cross-cultural exchange during the age of Leif Ericsson. The marks are believed to be decorations meant to enhance a man's appearance, or badges of honour for a group of great ...Scientist Says Supernova, Comets May Have Impacted Early Americans
A supernova could be the "quick and dirty" explanation for what may have happened to an early North American culture, a nuclear scientist here said Thursday.Richard Firestone said at the "Clovis in the Southeast" conference that he thinks "impact regions" on mammoth tusks found in Gainey, Mich., were caused by magnetic particles rich in elements like titanium and uranium. This composition, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist said, resembl...Americas settled 15,000 years ago
A consensus is emerging in the highly contentious debate over the colonization of the Americas, according to a study that says the bulk of the region wasn"t settled until as late as 15,000 years ago. Researchers analyzed both archaeological and genetic evidence from several dozen sites throughout the Americas and eastern Asia for the paper. "In the past archaeologists haven"t paid too much attention to molecular genetic evidence," said lead author Ted Goebel, an archaeologist at Texas A&M Univer...Submarine to Search for Early Americans
When humans first trekked from Asia to North America, perhaps as long as 25,000 years ago, the continent was gripped by ice sheets and glaciers. Those hardy immigrants probably traveled by boat or along the shore, where finding food and shelter would have been easier. The trouble for archaeologists is that as the ice melted, the seas rose and covered any traces of this early migration. Now marine geologists and archaeologists are hunting for underwater clues in the Gulf of Mexico.This mo...Ancient tooth reveals deep roots
Brian kemp learned a lot from one 10,300-year-old tooth. The Washington State University researcher identified a previously unknown pattern of relationships among Native Americans - suggesting that humans arrived here more recently than previously believed and migrated down the western coastlines from Alaska to the tip of South America. His finding suggests that ancient teeth might become a wider source for discovering historical DNA and unlocking more information about the past. “We learned som...Magic power of American Indians
There are many mysterious things in the history of wars between white people and Indians in America.Many times Indian heroes marvelously stayed alive in dangerous situations, although there was no chance for them to survive.1865. The battle on the Powder river. According to Indian chronicles, the chief of Cheienn tribe Roman Nose behave very strange, "During the battle he was slowly riding a horse in front of the line of the white people. The soldiers fired at him, but all the bullets miss...Tehcumesehs Curse and GW Bush
By Ken Kalb
Tecumseh’s Curse: There was a deep mystical tradition among the Shawnee
Indians of the Ohio valley, embodied in the teachings and practices of a sage
called "the Prophet," emboldened by his brother, the great Chief Tecumseh.
Tecumseh felt that all Indians were one people, and insisted that only with the
consent of all — could land rightly be ceded by or purchased from an individual
tribe. For several years, he successfully journeyed from tribe to tribe, working