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Books and CDs

Honoring The Medicine:

The Essential Guide to Native American Healing

By Kenneth Cohen


Available at your local or online bookstore

448 pages, Ballantine Books (2003), Hardcover (image shown) or Paperback

Winner of the Best Spiritual Books Award from Spirituality & Health Magazine and First Place Winner, National Health and Wellness Book Award from Books for a Better Life and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

From the Random House Editor's Description:

HONORING THE MEDICINE is the major comprehensive work on Native American/ First Nations healing traditions. It was written as much for the general reader who is unfamiliar with American Indian medicine, as for the medicine man and woman or the western physician. Kenneth Cohen has been a teacher and health educator for more than 40 years, and is able to put complex subjects in terms that are easy to understand.

Kenneth Cohen takes a simple, but revolutionary approach to Native American medicine. The book begins by exploring the core principles of Native American medicine: what values make one a whole and happy human being, in harmony with one's family, community, and the natural world? Then there are entire chapters on specific Native American methods of healing, including counseling and massage-- fundamental therapies that no previous author has explored in detail. He offers new interpretations for the roles of humor, prayer, music, herbs, and dreams in healing, and discusses the differences between men's and women's healing gifts.

In each chapter, Cohen explains how Native Americans of various nations understand healing therapies, how western medicine, psychology, or religion interpret them, and how he understands them, from the vantage point of nearly a half century of practice. He includes numerous case studies, drawn from his own clients. Yet, Cohen writes from within the tradition, well aware of what kind of information may not be put on the page-- such as practices that are proprietary to individual healers, clans, or nations or never in the public domain because they are given to specific individuals who have followed cultural protocols.

Today, people throughout the world admire Native American arts, crafts, and literature. Yet America's original healing traditions remain unknown, and most people consider them something of the past, perhaps even extinct. HONORING THE MEDICINE reveals the diversity, richness, continuity, and effectiveness of Native American healing, giving it the place of respect it deserves among the world's great healing traditions.

Cohen shows that Native American healing is not a museum relic, but a living tradition. Also, he does not shy away from examining the effects of colonialism, including the economic and political injustices that continue to threaten Native values, traditions, land, and life. How can we preserve original peoples' healing wisdom, Cohen asks, without preserving their lands and sovereignty? His book is a call for peaceful activism and justice.

“This landmark book is a stunning tour de force. Ken Cohen has crafted a comprehensive yet accessible compilation of the theory and practice of Native American medicine. Honoring the Medicine is the rarest of books.”
Author of God, Faith, and Health


"Out of years of experience, Kenneth Cohen offers this gift of immense wisdom and insight into ancient and still-honored ways of healing. This book will challenge your everyday perceptions of reality and lead you to a quiet, more mindful and healthful place. Be prepared: it could transform your life."--Margaret Coel, author of "Chief Left Hand", "Southern Arapaho", and "The Spirit Woman"

“Anyone wanting insight into the world of Native American healing will be wise to read this remarkable, penetrating work. This is a valuable addition to the canon of healing.”
Author of Healing Beyond the Body

The book is written in an engaging, personal style, with a balance of scholarship, story, and wit. It includes an extensive bibliography, endnotes, and resources.

Author's Note: The description above was written by the Random House editorial staff. The original title of my book was Honoring the Medicine: Principles, Values and Practices of Native American Healing. Did you know that authors rarely have rights over the titles of their books? My publisher decided to keep the main title but change the sub-title from Principles, Values and Practices... to "The Complete Guide to Native American Healing." I said, "Oh no you don't. With more than 4.1 million Native Americans divided into more than 700 Nations, there is no such thing as a complete guide." Random House had more meetings and informed me that the sub-title would be "The Comprehensive Guide to Native American Healing." I was irate, "The term 'comprehensive' is offensive to me and to my Native colleagues. Use this subtitle and I will black-list my own book and not participate in your publicity attempts." After more meetings, the publisher decided on "The Essential Guide to Native American Healing." Lest I lose even the main title, I agreed. I interpret the subtitle as "Looking for the Essence." 


Before submitting the final draft, I set up my own peer-review committee, presenting the manuscript and requesting feedback from several highly respected elders and educators, including Elder Vi Hilbert (Lushootseed), Chief Glecia Bear (Cree), Ted Williams (Tuscarora), and Tom Heidlebaugh (Lenape). But the most touching support was from my own family. I was honored when my Dad, Andy Naytowhow, traditional healer and former Chief of Sturgeon Lake First Nation, spoke the intro in Cree. This was transcribed into the traditional Cree syllabics and is the introduction to my book.

What if you could distill great teachings from the world's indigenous cultures into seven principles that would bring inner peace and fulfillment to your life?

Traditional healer and cultural educator Ken Cohen studied, practiced, and trained with elder healers from the Native American, African, Siberian, and Chinese indigenous traditions. Now, he shares the common yet unique wisdom of these paths on Native Wisdom: Seven Keys to Health & Happiness.

Join Ken Cohen to learn about:

  • the importance of prayer and song

  • tuning to the power of earth, water, fire, and air

  • "Pathway of Peace"—a seven-step meditation for invoking the power of gratitude, love, intuition, and other intrinsic values

  • A natural approach to nourishing your body based on your ancestry, and more

Develop a deeper appreciation of the world's indigenous cultures by experiencing these simple practices to tend to your body and spirit with Native Wisdom: Seven Keys to Health & Happiness.

Testimonial: "As chief of cardiology, I find your words so valuable. I prepare for surgery by listening to the prayer at the beginning of your CD. This prayer helps me keep my focus. I re-dedicate myself to being of the highest service for my patients." --RJ, MD

Native Wisdom: Seven Keys to Health and Happiness

By Kenneth Cohen


Audio Digital Download Available from Sounds True

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