Document Type


Publication Date



Faculty of Social Work


Indigenous Field of Study


This study explored understandings of traditional healing from the perspectives of traditional healers and helpers. The sample of sixteen individuals was initially identified by key informants, and then the sample snowballed by word of mouth. Among the sample are healers from a variety of cultures, including Anishnaabe, Mohawk, Oneida, Seneca, Paiute, Inuit, Innu, and Potawatomi. Traditional Indigenous protocols were followed by the researcher during the course of the study. In-depth interviews were conducted with each participant. Interviews were audio-recorded and verbatim transcripts were analyzed qualitatively. These individuals shared their understanding of the work that they do, including ceremonies, use of medicine, power of prayer, and rites of passage, as well as the implications of traditional healing in this ever-changing society. The findings suggest there is a growing need for traditional healing with Indigenous people.


This article was originally published in Indigenous Social Work Journal, 10(1). © 2016 by Gus Hill. Reproduced with permission.