Medicine Practices of the Northeastern Algonquians

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International Congress of Americanists, 1917 - Algonquian Indians - 19 pages
 

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Page 307 - ... her. The infant is soon discovered eating the livers of children in the Mohawk village, and promises to desist only on condition that he be created their chief. The agreement is made and the infant becomes the guardian of medicines, lying on one side continually. When he is rolled over, the various 1 Compare the above with what Hrdlicka says regarding the tribes of the Southwest: " Independent of and not interfering with supernatural means of healing, there is much simple general knowledge of...
Page 303 - ... comparison. [This paper is published in full in Art and Archaeology, vol. Iv, no. 6, Washington, December, 1916.1 WASHINGTON, DC MEDICINE PRACTICES OF THE NORTHEASTERN ALGONQUIANS BY FRANK G. SPECK TO present some material in a somewhat neglected branch of ethnology I offer the following notes on the use of herb medicines among several representative northeastern Algonquian tribes, namely, the Montagnais of the north coast of the Gulf of St Lawrence and the lower St Lawrence river; the Penobscot,...
Page 318 - Elder blow", flowers of the elder (Sambucus canadensis), is made into tea to be given to babies for colic. The bark of the elder made into a te,a is an excellent purgative; when scraped upward from the branch it acts as an emetic, when scraped off downward it is a physic. Spikenard (Smilacina racemosa) leaves are steeped to make a cough medicine. The root is steeped for a medicine to strengthen the stomach. Pipsisseway (Chimaphila umbellata) is steeped and applied to blisters. "Fire bush" (Evonymus...
Page 318 - Canker lettuce", shin leaf (Pyrola elliptica), is steeped and the liquid used as a gargle for sores or cankers in the mouth. Tobacco smoke blown in the ear will stop earache. Wild mustard (Brassica nigra) leaves are bound on the skin to relieve toothache or headache. The leaves of rattlesnake plantain (Epipactis pubescens) are made into a mash to prevent sore mouth in babies. Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) tea, as in most parts of the east, is drunk for many ailments, colds, fever, and general...
Page 313 - ... and the infant's abdomen immediately after childbirth, as they say it facilitates healing and prevents excessive bleeding. 1 Cf. Mooney, Cherokee, p. 334; Speck, Vuchi, p. 121 ; also Hrdlicka, Southwestern area, p. 237. Scarification with glass or sharp stones seems to be very widespread in America. To relieve hiccough the sufferer's mind must be distracted by a sudden question which will engage his attention. " Besides the medicine prepared by the old women to heal the sick, there was found...
Page 317 - ... PRACTICES Representing the southern New England group, we have a list of pharmacopeia from the Mohegan of Thames river, eastern Connecticut.1 The administration of the remedies here is the same in general as among the other eastern Algonquians. The practitioners were mostly old women, although sorcerors (moigu'wag) employed herb cures in addition to their magical practices. Several magic plants are mentioned in Mohegan folklore as having been used by former witches. One is "whistling root", a...
Page 320 - ... leaves, spikenard root (Smilacina racemosa), dandelion plant, and blossoms of the white daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) , boneset, motherwort, and black birch (Betula lento) bark. For cases of fever caused by taking cold in the winter, the heart of onion roasted in the coals of a fire, is used. The heart is bound on the wrist, hollow of the foot, and sometimes on the chest and back in severe cases. It is thought to "draw out" the trouble and reduce congestion. A piece of the same inserted...
Page 315 - Lonicera canadensis (kawaba'ts mastuq™, "white wood") are steeped for urinary trouble. As an . example of efficiency, a boy at Tadousac whose abdomen was distended with retained water, was relieved in twenty minutes after taking this medicine. The fronds of brake (Pteris aquilina) are made into a bed in the camp in order to strengthen babies
Page 311 - Bits of blood-root (Sanguinaria canadensis) , paga'kani'la's^gil, "bleeds", dried and strung together into a necklace, were worn to prevent bleeding. This is evidently related to the red bead necklace to be spoken of shortly. The following concoction was obtained in confidence from an old 'Indian healer who claimed to have used it effectively a number of times. The cure is for gonorrhea primarily, although he used it for kidney trouble and for spitting up blood, but he could not explain how the two...
Page 316 - The plant is locally called tma'yan, "pipe", because the hollow leaf bowl is occasionally used as a makeshift pipe by the Indians. The leaves of Labrador tea (Ledum Grcenlandicum) are steeped to make a tea which has a beneficial effect on the system. It is the common native beverage. Sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia) is known to be very poisonous. A poultice is made of the crushed leaves and bound upon the head to cure headache over night. As a non-specific remedy a small dose, not more than a spoonful,...

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