cover image Coyote Medicine: Lessons from Native American Healing

Coyote Medicine: Lessons from Native American Healing

Lewis Mehl-Madrona. Scribner Book Company, $24 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-684-80271-8

""My own twin journeys through the worlds of medicine and the spirit"" is how Mehl-Madrona describes this well-written, if uneven, account of his odyssey from the orthodox halls of Stanford Medical School in the early 1970s to his Cherokee-Lakota Sioux roots and on to a career in holistic medicine in the 1980s. While still a medical student on rotation, horrifying examples of incompetence and the power of ego-driven doctors to silence protest, plus their refusal to listen to pleas for change, prompted Mehl-Madrona to delve into his memories of the different healing methods practiced by his grandmother, a Cherokee, and to investigate the methods of other Native American healers. Soon, he was learning about sweat lodges, medicine men, shamans, peyote and curanderas, in addition to Western medical techniques. Predictably, Mehl-Madrona quickly ran into trouble with the medical establishment. Mehl-Madrona breaks little new ground here in this memoir, and his chronology is sometimes confusing. His descriptions of Native healing procedures are vivid and illuminating, however, as are his details of life in the medical profession. A worthy complement to the work of Larry Dossey and other forward-thinking physicians, this should appeal to students of Native American culture as well as to those interested in alternative healing. (Feb.)