by Nancy Murray: The Coronavirus epidemic has brought national attention to The Navajo Nation…
laying bare severe social and economic disparities. Without adequate access to running water, medical care, and jobs, the Navajo nation developed the highest per capita infection rate in the United States. Ironically (and cruelly), it is indigenous people – those who have been warning about white man’s rapacious ways -who are disproportionately affected by this virus. Covid-19 is nature’s warning shot. Never before has there been such a need to understand indigenous people and their view of Mother Earth as a living, sacred being.
For example, the following excerpt is taken from a speech delivered by Chief Seattle, the famous leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish in the Pacific Northwest, drafted in response to the request by the United States government to purchase his people’s land in 1852:
Every part of this earth is sacred to my people, every sandy shore, every shining pine needle, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. I know the sap that courses through the trees as I know the blood that flows in my own veins…the shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our grandfathers…we are part of the earth and it is part of us…man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the land, he does to himself.
Compassion is in short supply these days, and this along with understanding are certainly needed when it comes to the beautiful and proud Navajo. Author, adventurer, speaker, Dr. Erica M. Elliott, M.D. has released a first book about the early years of her extraordinary life living among the Navajo people. As a young woman in the early 1970s, Erica arrives at a Navajo boarding school to teach, and then becomes a student herself, of a mystical, earth-centered wisdom and mystical knowledge that has been lost to most in today’s modern world. As Erica reaches across a wide cultural divide to learn the Navajo language, the people begin to trust her and invite her into their homes, their ceremonies, and into their hearts.
Years later, Erica returns to serve the Navajo people as a medical doctor in an underserved clinic, performing emergency procedures and delivering babies. When a medicine man offers to thank her with a ceremony, her understanding of reality as empirical and solid is shattered. This true story of personal risk and high adventure paints a rare, contemporary picture of Navajo life that at once elicits inspiration, deep sadness and respect for the Native American people.
In Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert, Dr. Elliott not only reveals to the reader a world that is foreign to many, but also brings to light the continued prejudice experienced by Native Americans. “This book is about bridging the cultural divide through efforts to understand and see the world through the eyes of other people — the people who were here first,” she explains. Truly, we are at the brink and some would say this understanding from the indigenous – the very target of our destruction in the past – is now an urgent requirement, should man save himself.
Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert has been honored by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group as one of the best indie books of 2020
“This book is sorely needed at this moment in America, when divisive voices incessantly warn us of the other, the foreigner, those who “are not like us.” Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert: My Life Among the Navajo People reveals how diversity and inclusiveness can enrich our own society—a lesson on which our future may depend.”
~ Larry Dossey, MD, author of One Mind: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters
Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert: My Life Among the Navajo People
Dr. Erica M. Elliott, M.D.: is board-certified in both family practice and environmental medicine, and practices in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She has more than two decades of experience in successfully treating people with complex and perplexing chronic ailments. Dr. Elliott has lectured extensively on nutrition, the role of hidden food allergens, environmental toxins, and detoxification with infra-red sauna. She is co-author of Prescriptions for a Healthy House, New Society Press, 2008.