Russia's Murky World Of Alternative Medicine

RussiaMOSCOW — Russia is living through a painful overhaul of the national health system, with doctors and patients protesting in the streets as hospitals close. But a recent study of Russians' medical habits shows that people already rely heavily on alternatives to the "official" medical establishment, and many of the alternative therapies they use are quite far from modern scientific norms.

Nagapa: A local Cherokee shares the spirit of the sweat lodge

Nagapa: A local Cherokee shares the spirit of the sweat lodgePerhaps one of the best-known Cherokee rituals is the sweat lodge. It’s practiced in many traditions and many countries, but for the Cherokee, says Yonv FrenchHawk, it’s a quest to harmonize one’s spirit and environment represents wellness. Raised on the reservation in Western North Carolina but now living in Asheville, FrenchHawk says the sweat lodge “was originally given to men as a way to cleanse and purify themselves.” He has been leading sweat lodges for 40 years and remembers getting his first invitation to a sweat lodge when he was 5 years old. His grandfather was the medicine man of his clan and taught him how to “pour water,” which is the duty of the sweat lodge leader. FrenchHawk was just 12 years old when he began learning to perform the ritual.

Kajiwe, Kenya's most feared mganga

Kajiwe, KenyaIf there’s a medicine man in Kenya’s history who enjoys unrivalled fame and who left an awe-inspiring legacy of neutralising ‘dark forces’ of witchcraft, then it must be one Tsuma Washe Guro aka ‘Kajiwe.’ A master of black art and medicine, Kajiwe’s fame reached far and wide from the time he started his craft.

Journey of Indigenous Gender Identity

Journey of Indigenous Gender IdentityJack Saddleback sat in a coffee shop in Saskatoon, remembering the moment he recognized that the spirituality he had been raised with and known all of his life, may not accept him anymore. Saddleback was raised on the Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis, Alberta. He explained that growing up he was always a "tomboy" and the community supported his "rough and tumble" attitude. As Saddleback got older, his family was not as quick to accept him. Saddleback is a transgender man.

Native American funerals have changed but retain unique qualities

Native American funerals have changed but retain unique qualitiesDeath comes too soon for too many on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Few other places in the Western Hemisphere rival its grim statistics: shortest life expectancy, highest mortality rate and widespread alcoholism. “We have a lot of deaths here — suicide, bad health, car wrecks,” said Pat Janis, whose phone regularly rings with calls about families who’ve just lost a loved one.