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Returning the medicine man

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In the rush to embrace our “app-driven” technological future, we have tendency to both discount and disregard the powerful teachers that have kept indigenous cultures together across the planet. When this occurs, it cuts a hole deep within the fabric of society, preventing individuals from evolving in ways that produce growth while negatively impacting the cultures that intimately connect us. We need to learn to truly appreciate the knowledge these teachers provide to the world in which we live.

In our story, this is exactly what happened to Mr. Sherron Doesn’t-change. Mr. Sherron Doesn’t-change was a gorgeous young Native American boy growing up in the heart of the twenty-first century.  He had heard his parents use the word medicine man once or twice but he really had no use for it because he was too busy playing sports, learning advanced mathematics and playing video games.

While no one should criticize the efforts of parents to provide an excellent education for their children, young Sherron Doesn’t-change never learned how to speak his native language and as a result he discovered that he was often at odds with things that were considered native. Sherron Doesn’t-change is not connected to his history nor can he fully appreciate its legacy.

As young Sherron grew he began to have health issues. It started with allergies. Sherron began to struggle to breathe until it got so bad that he had to stop playing sports. Sherron was devastated. He had developed a severe case of exercise-induced asthma and now had to use an inhaler. Two years later Sherron began having issues with his bones and teeth, and the once stunning young boy was now dealing with obesity and childhood diabetes.

Sherron Doesn’t-change would go on to complete high school, graduate college, get great job as an engineer and marry.  However, Mr. Sherron Doesn’t-change, now a young man, realized that something was wrong. He was sick. Sherron followed the doctor’s orders, took his insulin regularly and watched the fatty foods. He lost weight – but Sherron Doesn’t-change still didn’t feel well.

One day a buddy said to him, “Sherron, perhaps it’s time for you to go see one of those medicine men you heard about as a young boy.”  Sherron replied, “I don’t know about that. I don’t see how rattles and chants in a language I don’t understand is going to cure what’s ailing me.”

One day Sherron Doesn’t-change fainted at work and woke up in the hospital, as a result of complications from his diabetes. When Sherron was released from the hospital he made an appointment with a medicine man he heard about that lived 45 minutes drive from where he grew up. Sherron Doesn’t-change was embarrassed and ashamed. He was now in the home of a man who practiced a way of life he didn’t understand or believe in, yet the doctors couldn’t help him and now he was very afraid.

After they shook hands and sat down the medicine man said, “So you’re a chemical engineer, is that right?” Sherron replied, “Yes.” The medicine man continued, “Since you’re familiar with stuff like the periodical table of elements, let’s talk about minerals.” Sherron look confused. The medicine man continued talking.

“Instead of talking about your connection to Mother Nature, I’ll put this in the language of your education and training.  The problem you’re experiencing in your world is called autoimmune disease, of which diabetes is just one.  However, the simpler answer is that your diet consists of too many substances, including the medications you take that are not consistent with your genetic makeup.”

Sherron replied, “What do you mean my genetic makeup? What does my Native American heritage have to do with my diabetes besides the fact of how we are perceived?”

“Pay attention,” the medicine man said. “The human body is composed of exactly 102 organic minerals, the same amount found in the natural animals, birds, fish, soil and plants that surround you. The other 40 or so minerals that have been identified are called inorganic minerals, however as an engineer you know this part, but what you failed to realize is how much of the food you currently eat is engineered using the inorganic chemicals you work with in the lab.”

Mr. Sherron Doesn’t-change was floored. He had assumed that he was going to hear chanting and singing but what he learned was that the medicine man in front of him not only spoke the native tongue, was versed in the traditional ways of healing but he also had a background in biochemistry.

“I will pray for you” the medicine man said “but to heal your condition there are specific things I need you to do. If you are committed to follow my suggestions I need you to nod your head yes.” Sherron Doesn’t-change nodded his head in agreement.

“First, you must fast for the days I prescribe for you and then cleanse the body of the toxins that created your condition. Afterward you will consume the natural foods we discussed that contain the 102 organic minerals your body needs, especially chromium and vanadium.”

One year later Mr. Sherron Doesn’t-change was no longer diabetic nor did he have issues with his bones or any medical condition that plagued him for so many years. Without accurate knowledge of his Native American ancestry, he had no idea that his ancestors were part of the original organic family and that diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and others did not exist in his culture prior to colonization.

The other powerful lesson he learned was that it was disrespectful to assume that the term “medicine man” implied an uneducated shaman practicing earth magic and completely out of touch with twenty-first century medicine.

The character is fictional, the account is real.

Coach G

Greg McNeil is a StrongFirst Instructor, Professional Strength & Conditioning coach, Licensed Clinical Counselor (LPCC), Life Coach, Author, and the owner of Gallup School of Strength (www.gallupschoolofstrength.com)

By Greg McNeil

For the Sun