- A significant number of traditional Native American cultures have employed and sometimes continue to employ people who have been labeled “shamans.” Indigenous terms that are sometimes translated as “shaman” often refer to doctoring, especially the common “medicine people,” but may also acknowledge the ritual expertise and mediating functions of “holy people.” The animism of some Indian nations includes a democratized or diffuse shamanic engagement with other-than-human persons by potentially anyone. Others delegate specific roles to initiated and trained individuals, who may become well known far beyond their own community. Many Native Americans object strongly to the misappropriation of religious traditions by non-Native people, especially when this leads to the charging of extortionate fees for spiritual activities and when used to construct a romanticized “Native American spirituality.”See also North America.
Historical dictionary of shamanism. Graham Harvey and Robert J. Wallis. 2007.
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