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February 1936

The Medicine Man of the American Indian and His Cultural Background.

Author Affiliations
 

By William Thomas Corlett, M.D., L.R.C.P. (Lond.), professor emeritus of dermatology-syphilology, Western Reserve University; Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine of Great Britain; Fellow of the American Medical Association; honorary member and sometime president of the American Dermatological Association; corresponding member of the British Association of Dermatology and Syphilology; Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Price, $5. Pp. 327, with 24 illustrations. Springfield, Ill.: Charles C. Thomas, Publisher, 1935.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1936;57(2):475-476. doi:10.1001/archinte.1936.00170060237013

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Abstract

This delightful work will entertain and instruct all who may read it. It deals with the origin of the American Indian and his migration from Alaska to the tip of South America. It touches on his culture and the development of his civilization and describes the widely differing degree of cultural advancement among the various tribes.

Into this cultural background steps the "medicine man." He was doctor and priest, soul-saver and body-poisoner, wise counselor and, sometimes, not so wise.

It is generally assumed that the medicine man was somewhat of a charlatan and a quack. Corlett points out that nothing could be further from the truth. There were such persons, just as there are today, but the majority were earnest, studious men whose knowledge and practice might be favorably compared with any in a similar state of scientific advancement. They were carefully chosen, spent much time in study and preparation

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