Folk Medicine: Native American Healer, Anthropologist

Hmong shaman Ma Vue drags a ceremonial dagger to create an invisible border around Joua Chang, who is pregnant and has requested a traditional Hmong ceremony to protect the health of her unborn baby. According to Hmong beliefs, the border created by the dagger keeps harmful spirits away from the patient.

Shamans of the Hmong community

One of my most recent stories for “Quality of Life” on KVPR-FM was about ancient health practices in the Hmong community, which are still honored today. When the Hmong immigrated to the Central Valley, their traditional ways often clashed with Western medicine, but education has given both sides a greater respect for and understanding of each other’s methods.

The show’s theme was folk medicine, and it included a fascinating discussion with a Native American healer and an anthropologist.

Listen to the show here (Windows Media Player): You can hear my segment from 3:18 to 10:00.

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