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The World We Used to Live In: Remembering the Powers of the Medicine Men

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In his final work, the great and beloved Native American scholar Vine Deloria Jr. takes us into the realm of the spiritual and reveals through eyewitness accounts the immense power of medicine men. The World We Used To Live In, a fascinating collection of anecdotes from tribes across the country, explores everything from healing miracles and scared rituals to Navajos who c In his final work, the great and beloved Native American scholar Vine Deloria Jr. takes us into the realm of the spiritual and reveals through eyewitness accounts the immense power of medicine men. The World We Used To Live In, a fascinating collection of anecdotes from tribes across the country, explores everything from healing miracles and scared rituals to Navajos who could move the sun. In this compelling work, which draws upon a lifetime of scholarship, Deloria shows us how ancient powers fit into our modern understanding of science and the cosmos, and how future generations may draw strength from the old ways.


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In his final work, the great and beloved Native American scholar Vine Deloria Jr. takes us into the realm of the spiritual and reveals through eyewitness accounts the immense power of medicine men. The World We Used To Live In, a fascinating collection of anecdotes from tribes across the country, explores everything from healing miracles and scared rituals to Navajos who c In his final work, the great and beloved Native American scholar Vine Deloria Jr. takes us into the realm of the spiritual and reveals through eyewitness accounts the immense power of medicine men. The World We Used To Live In, a fascinating collection of anecdotes from tribes across the country, explores everything from healing miracles and scared rituals to Navajos who could move the sun. In this compelling work, which draws upon a lifetime of scholarship, Deloria shows us how ancient powers fit into our modern understanding of science and the cosmos, and how future generations may draw strength from the old ways.

30 review for The World We Used to Live In: Remembering the Powers of the Medicine Men

  1. 4 out of 5

    LaPinto

    I have read many books on Native American Legends and stories of the capabilities of the tribal medicine men, but this is the first book I have read that presents first hand accounts written by the Europeans who first came in contact with the different origional Nations of North America. These first-contact Europeans witnessed the actions of the medicine men when they were still pure in their beliefs and religions, before becoming corrupted by the Christian faith. Many of the first hand docum I have read many books on Native American Legends and stories of the capabilities of the tribal medicine men, but this is the first book I have read that presents first hand accounts written by the Europeans who first came in contact with the different origional Nations of North America. These first-contact Europeans witnessed the actions of the medicine men when they were still pure in their beliefs and religions, before becoming corrupted by the Christian faith. Many of the first hand documents are from military personel, Jesuit priests and common people who were amazed and sometimes frightened by what they witnessed. If you have any interest in Native American medicine men and Native American religions, you will certainly enjoy this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    I was keenly aware of not being the audience for this book-- Deloria's intent was clearly to convince a native audience of an ancient cosmic connection and set of abilities that have been lost. As an outsider, my inherent lack of connection with his thesis made it a difficult read. On an anthropological level the book is fascinating and impeccable sourced. But the credulous tone Deloria takes towards the anecdotes he recounts (using someone's "impeachable character" as reason to take stories at c I was keenly aware of not being the audience for this book-- Deloria's intent was clearly to convince a native audience of an ancient cosmic connection and set of abilities that have been lost. As an outsider, my inherent lack of connection with his thesis made it a difficult read. On an anthropological level the book is fascinating and impeccable sourced. But the credulous tone Deloria takes towards the anecdotes he recounts (using someone's "impeachable character" as reason to take stories at completely face value, for instance) rubbed me the wrong way. There were times when glaring holes in his arguments got on my nerves-- for example, stories where the storyteller had every reason to lie or fabricate are completely glossed over-- but, again, I wasn't someone he was trying to convince in the first place.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Felt pretty dense as it was essentially a compilation for primary sources, which I was not expecting! I imagine this book has a lot of good uses, and the foreword from Deloria's son was very moving. Felt pretty dense as it was essentially a compilation for primary sources, which I was not expecting! I imagine this book has a lot of good uses, and the foreword from Deloria's son was very moving.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kirk Plankey

    I really do Like Vine Deloria, but I just couldn't finish this book. If you interested in anecdotal stories and tales (a lot of them) and you are interested in the lore and history of the Medicine Men then perhaps this will work for you. I only made it to page 51 before I gave up. His philosophical works are favorites of mine but this one just seems to have little to no point at least none to me. I really hated to set this one down but after multiple tries over several months this one is just no I really do Like Vine Deloria, but I just couldn't finish this book. If you interested in anecdotal stories and tales (a lot of them) and you are interested in the lore and history of the Medicine Men then perhaps this will work for you. I only made it to page 51 before I gave up. His philosophical works are favorites of mine but this one just seems to have little to no point at least none to me. I really hated to set this one down but after multiple tries over several months this one is just not going to make it for me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Reba

    Absolutely brilliant! This book is a must read for anyone on the road to reconciliation & learning to understand Indigenous ways of knowing on Turtle Island.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Randilynn

    I am rereading this book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Francesca Calarco

    If you are interested in learning about prominent stories surrounding medicine men of different U.S. indigenous groups, then The World We Used to Live In is a pretty solid source. There are really great dreams, stories, and histories shared in this collection that are organized by spiritual themes. My only criticism would be a lack of context, especially in regards to specific tribal traditions. Stories presented in each chapter represent a multitude of groups from different regions, and given t If you are interested in learning about prominent stories surrounding medicine men of different U.S. indigenous groups, then The World We Used to Live In is a pretty solid source. There are really great dreams, stories, and histories shared in this collection that are organized by spiritual themes. My only criticism would be a lack of context, especially in regards to specific tribal traditions. Stories presented in each chapter represent a multitude of groups from different regions, and given the personal nature of these accounts, I would have liked a little more exposition to better emotionally and culturally understand. That said, it is an interesting collection. If you are interested in the specific topic, I would recommend it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    The first person narratives were fascinating. Since it's primarily an encyclopedic resource on shamanic work in various tribes, it's fairly dense reading but the breadth of research was incredible. I found the different shamanic approaches to be compelling and comforting . . . i know the "methods" are still passed down from generation to generation but imagine it's on the verge of disappearing; so, there was a tragic sense of loss for me throughout the reading. The first person narratives were fascinating. Since it's primarily an encyclopedic resource on shamanic work in various tribes, it's fairly dense reading but the breadth of research was incredible. I found the different shamanic approaches to be compelling and comforting . . . i know the "methods" are still passed down from generation to generation but imagine it's on the verge of disappearing; so, there was a tragic sense of loss for me throughout the reading.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Beth Chapman

    I am not the target audience for this book and as such I felt like a voyeur into something more sacred than I can comprehend. It is a fantastic account of oral stories. It is beautiful, informative, and also very long :)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I feel bad giving this book only 2 stars, but while the stories contained within it are fascinating, the way they’re presented - anecdote after anecdote - made it hard to read and I did struggle towards the end.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alan Lindsay

    Worth reading, though I still can't believe rain dances actually worked. Worth reading, though I still can't believe rain dances actually worked.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I am not a spiritual person and this is a spiritual book. If you are open to hear what Vine Deloria is telling you, you will find this book fascinating. I really liked the book and the fact that he used first hand accounts of the Native American's experiences. I learned much from reading this book. I think the accounts and the author are authentic and if someone is interested in exploring Native American spiritual experiences this is the book to read. Update 12/2020 - I think about this book ofte I am not a spiritual person and this is a spiritual book. If you are open to hear what Vine Deloria is telling you, you will find this book fascinating. I really liked the book and the fact that he used first hand accounts of the Native American's experiences. I learned much from reading this book. I think the accounts and the author are authentic and if someone is interested in exploring Native American spiritual experiences this is the book to read. Update 12/2020 - I think about this book often. It had a deep impact on me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jody Mena

    Some pretty powerful stories and insights into the cultural and religious world view of Native Americans. The stories are all written as excerpts from first hand accounts of different sources, which lends them credibility, and they are such incredible tales, that someone who isn't a part of that tradition finds them hard to believe. It's an enlightening peek into a world that's been largely overlooked and/or forgotten by much of today's society. A really enjoyable read. Some pretty powerful stories and insights into the cultural and religious world view of Native Americans. The stories are all written as excerpts from first hand accounts of different sources, which lends them credibility, and they are such incredible tales, that someone who isn't a part of that tradition finds them hard to believe. It's an enlightening peek into a world that's been largely overlooked and/or forgotten by much of today's society. A really enjoyable read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steven Howes

    This is one of those books that I would only recommend to people who are deeply interested in the subject. I will say that the late Vine Deloria is a noted native american writer, historian, and advocate. This book is a collection of documented accounts of acctual healing and finding ceremonies performed by tribal medicine men.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julia Orloff

    So far this book is the Vine Deloria, Jr. book that has intrigued me the most. I appreciate the numerous accounts he compiled to set the frame for his thesis. Although this book tells stories of the past and "the world we used to live in," and may be an indicator to some of what we lost, to me it gives me hope, the knowledge is still there. We need to listen, pay heed, and reconnect. So far this book is the Vine Deloria, Jr. book that has intrigued me the most. I appreciate the numerous accounts he compiled to set the frame for his thesis. Although this book tells stories of the past and "the world we used to live in," and may be an indicator to some of what we lost, to me it gives me hope, the knowledge is still there. We need to listen, pay heed, and reconnect.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sheila Rocha

    good good much needed reclamatory accounts of the oral tradition from Native America that celebrates the mystery and honors the medicine. A Deloria stroll off the usual path and deep into the heart of all that he committed his life to addressing. This book is working for me.

  17. 5 out of 5

    S

    Deloria seems careful to avoid overgeneralizing, which I respect, but it makes this feel like a collection of anecdotes--sometimes invigorating anecdotes, but as often as not instead decontextualized and hard to get through.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ash

    My favourite chapter was "Sacred Stones and Places." I would have rated it a 3 if not for this chapter, it really touched me the most. My favourite chapter was "Sacred Stones and Places." I would have rated it a 3 if not for this chapter, it really touched me the most.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    We recently quoted from it for hearing on health by Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stza

  22. 5 out of 5

    Reggie Herbert

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amber Theytus

  24. 5 out of 5

    James

  25. 5 out of 5

    Uptown Uptown

  26. 4 out of 5

    Trevino Brings Plenty

  27. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stellina Gp

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anne Bruno

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