Navajos Renew Healing Practitioner Program To Save Culture
The Navajo Nation Council passed legislation Monday to renew a training program to become a medicine man or woman. The tribe is concerned about losing its culture and ceremonies.
Traditionally the knowledge of a medicine man or woman was passed down to a son or daughter. But as more and more young people move away or lose interest in their culture, Navajo leaders have decided to open up the vocation to the whole tribe.
Vangee Nez oversees the program.
"We still are losing our culture and our language and also our medicine people," Nez said. "Some are passing on with the ceremonies the knowledge and wisdom that they have."
In 1979, the Navajo had more than 900 medicine people. Today they have closer to 300 healers.
People in the program apprentice with healing practitioners to learn specific ceremonies that are in danger of being lost.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A sentence about Diné College potentially offering the program was removed from this story.