Secret Doctors: Ethnomedicine of African Americans
Based on an ethnographic study of the traditional medicine of African Americans in the rural southern United States, this work concentrates on the original Louisiana Territory, with its Native and African American indigenous traditions, and the French migration and Black Haitian freed and enslaved population influx during the 1700s and 1800s. Fontenot finds strong ties between rural Louisiana practices and Haitian and West African medicine. The ethnographer, a native of the region where she did her research, is respected among local practicing secret doctors and is able to give a unique insider's view. Aside from documenting a rare treasure of our American cultural diversity, this study has a wider purpose in the field of health practices and policy. The high cost of Western medicine, lack of access to quality care, and the patient-doctor ratio are areas of major national concern, and rural residents and people of color are recognized to be the most at-risk populations. The alternative health-care system presented here can strengthen mainstream medicine's understanding of such patient populations while preserving valuable knowledge of healing plants and culturally sensitive therapies.
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Historic and Contemporary Opelousas Territory
A Historical Perspective
Secret Doctors Tell Their Stories
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