"Alan Kilpatrick, a second-generation Cherokee scholar, succeeds magnificently in presenting a sensitive and accurate rendering of traditional Cherokee beliefs and practices regarding the occult."—Raymond D. Fogelson, Professor of Anthropology, University of Chicago
"A must reading for anyone interested in traditional Native American religions in general and Cherokee religion in particular."—Sergei Kan, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Native American Studies, Dartmouth College
In a work that spans nearly two centuries, anthropologist Alan Kilpatrick explores the occult world of the Western Cherokee, expounding on previously collected documents and translating some forty new shamanistic texts that have never been disclosed to outside audiences.
For over a hundred and fifty years, the Cherokee Indians have been recording their medico-magical traditions in the native script of the Sequoyah syllabary. These texts, known as idi:gawe’:sdi, deal with such esoteric matters as divining the future, protecting oneself from enemies, destroying the power of witches, and purifying one’s soul from all forms of supernatural harm.
As one of the few scholars able to translate the discourse, Kilpatrick underlines the critical role of transformational language in the ritual performance. His book challenges conventional wisdom about Native American folk medicine, witchcraft, and sorcery by introducing a new body of shamanistic thought and by placing this thought in the context of growing anthropological literature on indigenous folk beliefs.
Alan Kilpatrick is associate professor of American Indian studies at San Diego State University. His articles on Cherokee religion have appeared in American Indian Quarterly and in American Indian Culture and Research Journal.
Series: The Iroquois and Their Neighbors
6 x 9, 178 pages