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dclary
11-09-2010, 10:25 PM
Did any particular Native American tribes lay claim to having more powerful medicine men or shaman than others? What kinds of magic powers did they have?

Other than healing and other herbal knowledge, I have heard that some cherokee medicine men could "dreamwalk" in the spirit world. Do any other tribes claim these abilities?

Stanmiller
11-09-2010, 10:55 PM
Every tribe believed their medicine men were the best. As for magical powers, whatever they could induce by autosuggestibility and whatever natural drugs they had at hand (which varied by region).

The Cherokee (and other eastern woodland tribes) used the 'black drink' as a purgative and stimulant (caffeine is the active ingredient). Native tobacco and marijuana usage varied by tribe.

I think the dream walk is pretty common. The Navajo did it for sure. It's ritualized in the Spirit Walk of the Native American Church movement, using peyote as a sacrament.

Stan

Canotila
11-10-2010, 12:08 PM
The shamans of the tribes in the pacific northwest did out of body spirit travels. Illness was believed to be caused by a person's spirit wandering as they slept and then failing to return when they woke. The shaman was tasked with retrieving the spirit, which he did by going into a trance and traveling through the spirit world.

the addster
11-10-2010, 05:15 PM
Native Americans were and are people too. Each group surely thought that their traditions were the most powerful. Most, but not all, have a spirit quest type tradition that provides for traveling to the realm of the Gods, or something similar. This wasn't always reserved for spiritual leaders.

Could they really do it? That's like asking if Jesus really walked on water.

RemusShepherd
11-12-2010, 11:20 PM
Did any particular Native American tribes lay claim to having more powerful medicine men or shaman than others? What kinds of magic powers did they have?

Other than healing and other herbal knowledge, I have heard that some cherokee medicine men could "dreamwalk" in the spirit world. Do any other tribes claim these abilities?

Although every tribe thought their medicine men were the best, I know of one tribe that was feared for their magical powers. The Algonquin indians had several different medicine societies, some of them very secretive. Their magic was feared so much that the Iroquois drove the Algonquin away and almost destroyed them.

You might also consider using the Aztecs, Mayans, or Olmecs. They were close enough geographically to mingle with Native Americans, but rare enough that they would have been considered very exotic. (The time periods are more difficult to hash out, as the Mayans and Olmecs went extinct long ago.)

Miriel
11-13-2010, 07:12 AM
Actually, there are plenty of Mayans in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize today -- I've talked to some of them.

If you're interested in trade between the SW and Mesoamerica, a really good site to research is Paquime (used to be called Casas Grandes). It was a big trade-route spot in Northern Mexico between the two groups.

dclary
11-13-2010, 09:41 AM
I have decided that Crow is the tribe for me. I found several rich lore volumes that will add instant (true!) background to my world. PLUS there is the added benefit of the US-Enforced Ban of their rituals, so I can maybe add something here or there, under the guise of "well, they had it, but lost it until my MC learned it again."