In India, owl's mythic power, pop culture presence fuels illegal trading
IN MEERUT, INDIA Mehmood Ali is a carpenter by day and shaman by night. He says he heals people battling anxiety, sleeplessness, curses and misfortune.
The soft-spoken, 50-year-old Ali uses body parts of owls in his elaborate sorcery rituals for healing. Trade in owls was made illegal in India in 1972, but trafficking for such rituals is carried on clandestinely across the country.
A recent study suggests that indigenous cultural beliefs such as shamanism help to preserve rainforests and their wildlife.
The report is the result of a large body of data collected by scientists along with indigenous Wapishana and Makushi Indians of Guyana who were trained to conduct wildlife population counts
CHESTERFIELD - Chesterfield resident Vanessa Bolins Clemens is a student at John Tyler Community College in Chester. Her ultimate plans would be to attend Virginia Tech and earn a doctorate in veterinarian medicine.
But Clemens, who is known as "Smiling Water," is trying to balance two worlds.
"Sit around a fire under the stars, cook fish on open coals, listen to the sounds of a didgeridoo and just immerse yourself in nature."
That's how Indigenous tour guide, Darren 'Capes' Capewell describes a truly Aboriginal experience.
A shaman's owl mask. A brass Loon Spirit hat. A faded hide robe that memorializes ancestors of the Hoonah T'akdeintaan clan wiped out by a tidal wave in Lituya Bay.
These items and dozens more belong to clan members, not the Pennsylvania museum where they've been stored for decades, a federal committee ruled recently.