Talk to Them So They Understand

  • Thomas J. Csordas
Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)


This chapter has two goals in relation to Navajo healing, one ethnographic and one theoretical. The ethnographic goal is to present a thesis about the interrelation among traditional Navajo, Native American Church, and Navajo Christian healing in contemporary Navajo society. I will sketch the similarities and differences in principle among them, emphasizing that in practice many Navajos have recourse to all three in their search for healing. The theoretical goal is to advance an understanding of therapeutic process in terms of the model introduced in Chapter One in which the key elements are the patient s disposition, experience of the sacred, elaboration of alternatives, and actualization of change. In the process I will move toward further refining and elaborating the model itself with respect to the unique lessons to be learned from the Navajo setting. Both these goals can be approached in a very concrete way, by examining therapeutic process as undergone by individual Navajo patients who have shared their experience of suffering and healing with me and a team of Navajo and Euro-American researchers. First, let us look at the relation among the three healing traditions.


Therapeutic Process Therapeutic Principle Corn Pollen Religious Healing Railroad Work 
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© Thomas J. Csordas 2002

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  • Thomas J. Csordas

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