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The Sun Dance And The Sunrise Dance

775 words - 4 pages

The Sun Dance was usually performed in a time of great crisis for an individual or a tribe, and involved a considerable amount of goods and a significant physical sacrifice. Performed in a large ceremonial tipi, the dancers would appeal to the Almighty through dance and sacrifice. These dances would be performed for many reasons, but one of the crises could be an illness in the family, in which case the dancers would seek aid from Thunder, voice of the Almighty.
Another Dance was the Sunrise Dance, which was both a medical and celebratory dance. Celebrating a girls transition into womanhood, a Sunrise dance would be performed as a way of helping guide the young woman in being a productive ...view middle of the document...

This repression would lead to resistance by many tribes, and would culminate in the massacre at Wounded Knee. The ban on Native American religion would remain in place until the passing of the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act. However, in the almost one hundred years of repression, much of the knowledge possessed by the Native American medicine men and women was lost.
Despite many losses during the bans, Native American medicine has contributed a great deal to western medicine. Over 200 naturally occurring remedies that were used by Native American medicine men and women have been added to the modern pharmacopeia. Many of the herbs used by Native Americans would also become the basis of many modern medications. For example, Natives used snake root to treat breathing problems caused by fluid in the lungs by causing the body to pass water more quickly than normal, which became the basis of many diuretic drugs used today. Foxglove was used by many Natives, as well as Europeans, to treat heart conditions. Foxglove is the basis of the drug Digitalis, which is still used to treat cardiac conditions today. Other tribes created a medicine called ipecac, which was used to treat dysentery caused by an amoeba by causing the patient to vomit,...

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