Books by Evelyn Wolfson

Released: Oct. 1, 1993

Emphasizing Native Americans' spirituality, Wolfson relates some of their traditional ways for dealing with physical and emotional illness and injury, through herbal medicines and ceremonies conducted by medicine men and other healers. The use of songs and sacred objects (including masks and sweat lodges), the special attention paid to dreams, and secret medicine societies are described. Evident throughout are the Native Americans' wide knowledge of herbals (some of which find general use today) and their particular view of life. Linking their traditions to New Age activities, Wolfson is fairly uncritical and sometimes admiring, relying on anecdotal evidence and never distinguishing between what worked and what didn't. With only one mild disclaimer (``The herbs are not recommended for use''), her detailed description of the plants is worrisome. A possible additional purchase, but Liptak's North American Indian Medicine People (1990) is probably a better choice. Despite an impressive bibliography (largely inaccessible for the intended reader), no attribution is made for anecdotes or quotes. Glossary; index. (Nonfiction. 10+) Read full book review >
THE TETON SIOUX by Evelyn Wolfson
Released: Feb. 1, 1993

A brisk but thorough and informative history of the Lakota (Teton Sioux), with a glance at the present: How they got to the Great Plains, life before and after the advent of horses, and various ceremonies (though the deep religious motivation characteristic of these people is not conveyed). A brief detailing of struggles with white men includes the greats: Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Big Foot. There's also a quick look at the massacre at Wounded Knee and at the Ghost Dance (its universal appeal and hysteria are explained only by saying that it ``renewed the hopes of many Native Americans''). Wolfson explains that half the Teton Sioux are now on reservations and that life ``can be hard,'' but that old ceremonies are still maintained despite modern ways. The legend of White Buffalo Woman is included as a last chapter. Illustrations range from garishly tinted engravings to photos of crafts and of chiefs; only two depict the present. List of important dates; glossary; excellent bibliography and index. (Nonfiction. 10-12) Read full book review >