Two Medicine Lake


Native American Medicine


Holy People

Unlike western cultures, where people choose whether or not they want to become doctors, a person receives a calling to become a Holy Person or medicine person. Sometimes this ability runs in families, and other times one naturally feels summoned to enter into this work. John Grim, author of Patterns of Religious Healing Among the Ojibway explains that the term Holy Person refers to a practitioner, from an indigenous culture, who has had an exceptional experience of the cosmic power that pervades the world. These individuals are able to bring this power into rituals to affect healing experiences.

Holy Man

Often healers experience some illness in their youth that leads them to be withdrawn and introspective, and causes them to seek out their advice of an elder. The person will become reflective and begin to feel a special obligation towards the work of helping others. This is a tremendous responsibility. A person must develop and maintain a special relationship with the spirit world, and bring that special relationship with spirit to the person or situation in need.

Many times, the Holy Person will receive revelations concerning particular objects to be used in rituals. These can vary and may include something from nature, a song, or a combination. Items can accumulate over a period of years, and are known as medicine bundles. But medicine bundles are seen as more than material objects; they are a collection of experiences. More specifically, these represent encounters with the sacred world that have been revealed through particular objects.

Medicine bundles are very personal and private, and meaningful only within a cultural context. Grim notes that it is inappropriate for non-Native peoples to place medicine bundles in museum out of curiosity, as these are an integral part of tribal identity and transporting them from a people would inflict deep wounds upon their heritage and identity. Besides, outsiders can never fully appreciate their significance. However, it may be appropriate for non-Native people to try and understand the significance of medicine bundles to Indian cultures to increase an awareness and respect for their customs and traditions.

Plants play an important role among medicine objects. Many indigenous healing practitioners had a profound understanding of local plant life based on a sacred classification. In other words, they understood how one should approach a plant, which parts of which plants are to be used for treating specific maladies, and the idea of reciprocity, respecting the plant as a being of equal worth, being thankful for its help, and leaving an offering, such as a prayer, for the plant that is taken. A deep intimacy of exchange exists at all times.

The understanding of how a Holy Person functions is difficult for people of western cultures to understand, as their views of the world are so different. Yet it is something most people today need and yearn for. Grim explains: "What makes the Holy Person's role so fascinating, in the late twentieth century, is the cosmological setting in which a Holy Person functions, namely, Holy Persons bring people into the presence of the spirit beings who are in the world and in the cosmos. This is something very beautiful. It's so difficult for us to understand in mainstream America where our cosmology, for the most part, is either the story of Genesis or the story of science. While the Genesis story is seen as very meaningful for Christians who hold that as their cosmology, it does not have the immediacy of entry into their daily life. It's a cosmology which tells where the world came from, and perhaps explains early parents, the fall, why women suffer in childbirth, and why we were driven out of the garden. But it is not a cosmology that brings spiritual presences to our lives today. It's a story that explains. The scientific cosmology is also an explanatory story, but one without interest in sacred or spiritual meaning. Scientists are reflective, but they work within certain limits. Their cosmology is a description of the world as it appears to them through their empirical observation.

"We live in this world, then, where the cosmologies that are available to us provide no intimacy. And yet we experience constant intimacies with this seasonal world, with this world of resources, with the clothes that we wear on our back. I want to suggest that the human is constantly interacting with this world. And our interaction demands some respect and attention. That attention can be trivialized or it can be deepened. And Holy Persons are personalities who live in deepened relationship with their cosmology, and who assist their people to deepen their own personal and community relations with the world around them.

"We yearn for that in mainstream America. We yearn for intimacies of exchanges with our world. Does that mean we become Native Americans? That's a foolish thought. It means we need to recover our own cosmology. Well, what is our cosmology? I think that's what we need to re-explore. We yearn to recover that Holy Persona presence, that capacity to literally draw healing capacities from an exchange with the world around us, to literally heal our communities. Environmental degradation is woven right into these questions we're talking about. One reason why Native people are connected with this issue is that they have intimacies with their homeland. They have regard for that mountain, desert, body of water. When one reverences something, quite often one doesn't trash it. So, these natural exchanges between a people and the life setting in which they find themselves, those individuals called Holy Persons, I tend to see as a mode or way of being that all people are being called to recover. We are being called to bring this sense of wonder back into our daily lives. So, the Holy Person journey is not simply someone sitting with a drum, or a group of people withdrawing and taking drugs in order to get into some altered state. The Holy Persons personality is a challenge to the late twentieth century to recover right relationships with our bioregions, to begin to understand the earth again as something that has always nourished us. It will continue to provide for us. But it also needs our care and concern. That is the Holy Person ritual now."

Med Pipe


Fools Crow

Fools CrowHoly man lived by "hollow bone" philosophy - by Georgina Lynn Lightning ...

Frank Fools Crow repeatedly said the more humble and unselfish a person is, the more willing Wakan Tanka and his helpers of the four directions are willing to work through them.

Few holy people have been as open about their spiritual practices as Frank Fools Crow, the ceremonial chief of the Teton Sioux who allowed his powers to be written about in books by non-Native authors.

Assuming no ownership of his supernatural abilities—always affirming the “source of power is not ourselves” —Fools Crow explained in detail how he performed “miracles” because he wanted others to believe they could do them as well.

Before he died at the age of 99 on Nov. 27, 1989, Fools Crow spent time in the late 1970s with Thomas E. Mails, a Lutheran minister who wrote about him in several books, including the well-received Fools Crow–Wisdom and Power.

In it, the old man explained how he affected cures, consulted with “talking” stones to learn of future events, “lured” to him what he needed in his life, spirit-travelled, and shape-shifted.

He accomplished all of this by becoming a “clean, hollow bone” through which Wakan Tanka’s (The Great Mystery’s) powers funneled through him.

Fools Crow repeatedly told Mails that the more humble and unselfish a person is, the more willing Wakan Tanka and his helpers of the four directions are willing to work through them.

“Wakan Tanka is concerned with human needs, and not luxuries. If we want luxuries, He has given us at birth the power to work for and obtain these,” he said.

People who have rid themselves of self-serving ego, like medicine and holy people, are the cleanest bones, he explained.

“The cleaner the bone, the more water you can pour through it, and the faster it will run.”

Fools Crow, the nephew of the visionary Black Elk, immortalized in John Neihardt’s Black Elk Speaks, explained he was able to handle the self-sacrifice of being a holy person because he possessed “a clear self image.”

As a Sioux person, he was taught to understand there was no limit to what the higher powers could do through him.

“What we hollow bones really become is the pipeline that connects Wakan Tanka and our community together. Wakan Tanka tells us the direction our curing and healing work must follow and establishes the kind of life we must lead. It also keeps us working at things that do not bring us much income … We have to be strong and committed to stick with this, otherwise we will get very little spiritual power and we will probably give up the curing and healing work.”

Fools Crow described his life as being “filled with power” and he thought about Wakan Tanka constantly. To remain a clean, hollow bone, he refrained from arguing, gossiping and womanizing. He didn’t charge for his healing, although he accepted gifts and gratitude from people he helped. He abstained from mind-altering substances, even the peyote used in the Native American church, because Wakan Tanka could take him higher than any drug ever could.

In his lifetime, he struggled to find someone to pass his medicine to because so few wanted to live morally and frugally.

“While many talk a lot about wanting to do this, they do not really want to give up pleasure and material things. Also, you can tell a true medicine person from an imitator by what they ask you for in return for their help.

“According to where they live, everyone needs enough to live on and pay their bills. But if they ask for more than a fair payment for this, walk away from them. They are only imitators and their power will be very limited.”

As a child born near Wounded Knee in South Dakota around 1890, Fools Crow was forced to quit school in the third grade so he could work and support his family. He travelled around the United States later with the Buffalo Bill Cody Wild West Show before becoming a healer after his initial vision quest in 1903.

He married Fannie Afraid, who passed away in 1954, and his second wife, Kate, died in 1988. Both wives assisted Fools Crow in his curing rites and watched over him while he spirit-travelled inside his sweatlodge.

“Actually, this spirit travel I do has frightened both of my wives,” he once confessed to Mails, explaining he would sometimes remain unconscious inside the lodge for as long as two days.

“Fannie and Kate have had to stay with me and watch over me during this time, and they have told me that sometimes they are afraid I have died.”

Fools Crow used his “mind screen” – the blackness he saw when he closed his eyes and rolled his eyes upward – to receive information from Wakan Tanka. If he saw that a patient’s organs were damaged beyond repair, he revealed to he or she that they could not be cured, but could still be healed.

“Healing is a process that helps the person get rid of anger and blaming” and reconcile unfinished business in their lives, Fools Crow said.

“When we are finished with the healing, the person is calm and ready, even anxious to die. ‘Die’ is not really the best word, because it suggests that it is the end, when it is really the beginning.

“I take them outside to pray with me, and I tell them some of the great secrets I have been shown. At night, I make them a bed under the stars, and I sit beside them for a while. As we continue to talk, I tell them to think about Wakan Tanka being up there and waiting to receive them. If they are Christians, I talk about Jesus’ saying he went to make a place for them.”

Fools Crow asked people who came for curing to spend four days with him. If the weather was good, he fixed a bed for them outdoors under the trees on his property. He loved bringing people to his Pine Ridge reservation home because there was “nothing tall enough to get between us and the higher powers. So we are more conscious of them than people who live in cities are.”

Fools Crow lived long enough to mediate between the U.S. government and AIM activists at Wounded Knee in 1973. At the Elder’s funeral, eulogist and AIM leader Russell Means credited Fools Crow with the peaceful ending of the famous confrontation.

Fools Crow was well-loved for keeping alive Lakota ceremonies that had been outlawed by the government, and is famous for pleading before a congressional subcommittee that the Black Hills be returned to his people.

Fools Crow


Med Pipe


To change is indeed a state of mind. When one resists the healing of change they perpetuate confusion of the soul. The soul only knows change. If we accept the souls needs as our own we see the imperfections of ourselves and others as acceptable and even look forward to the opportunity! When we embrace those imperfections, when we show love for those imperfections, we have stepped up one rung on the ladder of evolution.

Seek not to be perfect, seek not those that are perfect for therein lies no growth. Rather seek out your imperfections and embrace those of others and walk together the road to perfection. When you are truly on that path shall you see the beauty of imperfection as a manifestation of your own perfection.

Therein lies your happiness!!!

Waatowa Pistoto,

Two Feathers - Kainaiwa Elder - Blackfoot Nation


Med Pipe

Wuan Geronimo Flores

Wuan Geronimo Flores who can be called a true Holy Person, claims to have inherited the gift of his great grandfather, Geronimo: the ability to heal through the movement of energy. Flores has the capacity to speed up his own energy, and to transfer this quickened force into a patient, thereby, helping a person to become spiritually centered, so that their ailments can disappear.

Medicine Man

Flores does not need to know the nature of a person's illness, because symptoms are physical manifestations, and Flores works on a more subtle level. He will look beyond appearances to get to the root of a problem. He says of his work: "The healing, which incorporates Native American and universal [principles], takes place in a sacred space. This is the part of an individual's home that is special to them, a place they gravitate to, where they feel the most secure and comfortable. We go to that place and the person lies down. Ever since I was a child, one of my talents has been getting people to relax deeply by putting them in a trance-like state. Then there is the actual moving of energy, the speeded up energy from my body going into theirs. All the while I am concentrating on the individual, and that can be achieved through different ways: through chants, prayers, or just through central focusing.

"This is very visual for me. I start seeing a picture of the person. As I concentrate, the image of the person gets transposed, until there are nothing but stars floating in space. I see the exact same body, only now it is made of nothing but stars. I see metallic dots of blue, silver, purple and black filling up the space and raining down on the person. The colors are calming and cooling, almost as if they are utilizing a certain frequency for the person's relaxation. Once a person has calmed down--they may even fall asleep--the energies that they were holding on to are easily released.

"I will see different things, depending on the person. One man had AIDS, although I didn't ask him what he had or how he got it. But on an energy level, he looked like a meteorite, an astroid, a cavern. He was submerged in a swamp, with tiny pollens ticking away from the inside. That's what his body was going against.

"Once that was removed, his body naturally healed itself by reproducing cells that he needed to get rid of the disease. And sure enough, about two weeks later, his cell count went from 4 to 300.

"So, that's what I do. I work as a guide, as a Holy Person and I work on a very deep level. My aim is to release energy blockages so that a person's own energy can take over and restore balance."


Tree-Red George Amiotte
Tree-Red Dance of the Deer
Tree-Red John Joseph - Chinook Holy Person
Tree-Red Jamie Sams









© Spiritalk Gathering 2011-2025