MEDICINE WOMEN, CURANDERAS, AND WOMEN DOCTORS by Bobette; H. Henrietta Stockel & Victoria Krueger Perrone


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In this well-structured if somewhat limited collection, women healers of the American Indian, Hispanic, and ""mainstream-America"" cultures describe their experiences as care-givers in the male-dominated world of modern medicine. The Navajo, Apache, and Cherokee medicine women, three Hispanic curanderas (healers), and four female doctors interviewed here all agree: traditional western-style medical practices leave too little room for a caring, humanistic relationship between doctor and patient--a relationship that in some cases might serve to heal the patient more efficiently than modern drugs or technology. Nothing new there, though the authors' own reverential commentary, strongly reminiscent of 60's accounts of conversations with East Indian gurus, fails to acknowledge that fact. Fortunately, however, to get permission to interview the healers the authors had to agree to ""interpret"" their actual statements as little as possible: the result is near-verbatim accounts (of the women's introduction into the healing profession, the initiation tests they were required to pass, and their spiritual position as cohesive elements in often distressed communities) that make for some fascinating reading. Both the Indian medicine women and the Hispanic curanderas give modern medicine credit for curing many illnesses, while acknowledging that faith plays a major role in their own, often psychological, brand of healing. The female AMA doctors, for their part, readily admit that folk healing sometimes works. They also agree on the need to further integrate ""masculine"" progressive medicinal techniques and ""feminine"" nurturing and individual caring as a means to greatly improved health care in this country. One might wish for a couple of comments from the opposition, if there is one, but this is a valuable resource nonetheless.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
ISBN: 0806125128
Publisher: Univ. of Oklahoma Press