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Abstract

Today, many Native people are reaching back into their cultural pasts and recapturing traditional knowledge. This process is part of the movement toward Native self-determination and self-government. Part of the process of cultural and community revitalization and self-determination involves renewing traditional healing practices. This paper draws the connection between traditional Native healing and community and cultural revitalization. How and why is traditional healing important for community and cultural revitalization? This question is explored by highlighting four areas where traditional healing practices could benefit the revitalization of community and culture: the enrichment of cultural values, beliefs and traditions, the establishment of self and cultural identity, the encouragement of traditional language, and the improvement of community relations. Knowledge, understanding and practice of traditional healing can enhance community and cultural strength by rooting people to a history, culture, and identity that has historically been denied.

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