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Native Knowledge Defended 

There were young people who started to die from respiratory failure and doctors didnít know why. They went to the closest reserve to those hospitals. It was a Navajo, Dine, reserve and the Medicine man said that when thereís lots of rain and then drought and a certain flower shows up earlier on trees, then young people have to move up to the plains or they will die. Researchers then found out that it was a virus that thrives in rat urine. When lots of rain falls rats go out of burrows not to drown. They urinate on the surface. When rains stop the virus is there in the ground. When it is summer and dry and dusty winds blow, then the virus goes in the air. It attacks young peopleís lung tissue. It doesnít attack children's lung tissue nor older peopleís lung tissue. Poison ivy is like that, it doesnít affect young children and the old besides are immune to it. How did the Medicine man know? Well it is his duty in his community to know these things and this is knowledge from ancestors accumulated over millennia. Thereís people who would say that the Dine (Navajo) healer knew because some spirits came and told him and so on. Most people in general are not in favor of that kind of talk. People who practice Wiccan beliefs and calling of some sort of spirits enjoy that kind of talk.  Thereís Muslims who do and say similar things. One African Muslim said he writes Ayatu l Kursi on paper, burns it and mixes with water. Then he drinks it and arrows canít hurt him. Yet France occupied their lands and stopped them from Hajj and they couldnít do anything about it until other Muslims who didn't practice that sort of thing went to Jihad and threw the French out.

There is a spiritual effect to everything. Itís from the Creator Almighty.  It is His Will and usually punishment or a test of patience for us. That is far from sorcery and spirit worship and praying to Sedna. In Inuit culture Sedna was a girl that died a terrible death drowning. People said she became a daemon of the water and when they would go out to catch fish or seal they prayed to her asking her for help. If we keep things simple knowing that thereís a Creator and He has Prophets, then we accepted what Islam asks us to accept and that makes us Muslim. We should acknowledge the built up knowledge of the land and people and creatures on it that is passed down by the story tellers because itís knowledge of things that happened and truth is accepted from whoever says it. These stories tell how people lived and died, how they treated diseases and made medicines from plants, how mountains grew, how lakes were formed and how  rivers began to flow. It's a treasure of records that is accumulated over tens of thousands of years. If a non Muslim says "donít steal" itís true and you say "heís a kafir who cares go on steal". A French man came to a Muslim country and he said he accepted Islam, then he became an imam in a mosque. After a few years he left and sent a letter from France saying he was never Muslim and was abusive in his letter. The Muslims replied that it was a weight on them to have someone stay in the mosque and conduct prayers for the public and that he took that burden and fulfilled it and they thanked him. As for him not being Muslim, they told him that itís between him and Allah; something he will deal with alone with Allah in the Hereafter. If we are not worried about a munfik being an imam in a mosque and listening to his Khutbas in Juma, then if a nonMuslim comes to us telling us reasonable things, if they are true we donít dismiss them.

If an indigenous Indonesian nonMuslim Kubu man comes from the forest to tell the Indonesian Muslims not to cut down the forest and not to kill orangutans, there is no reason not to listen to him. As a matter of fact we should side with the Kubu, because what he is saying is true and what Muslim lumber companies cutting down trees recklessly are doing is not right. In 2006 the indonesians-malaysians killed and displaced an estimate of 4-5000 orangutans in Borneo considering the animal a pest. They burn, and slash the rainforest. They say falsehood about wildlife. Muslims from other countries are not helpful  and they do the same, like the Egyptian who said they have tigers in the desert in Egypt, or the Pakistanis that said they killed a monster and then they understood it was an endangered species of a crocodile when someone said timsah meaning crocodile in Arabic and it is in the Qurían in the place where Musa Aleyhi Salaam is mentioned. We need to listen to indigenous folks in matters dealing with environmental destruction. A solution that they propose is better than the decision of  Muslim folks to turn forests into deserts. Indigenous people have more knowledge and wisdom in this matter, because they specialize in it. Itís the same  as the Europeans possession of knowledge of space technology being far advanced from that of Muslims.

If we keep the wisdoms with us from the Native culture and at the same time stay connected to the Creator, such asking the Creator for a good fishing rather then Sedna, then we kept our bond with our Creator. There is nothing wrong in preserving what the Native culture has to offer  about the knowledge and wisdom of the land, animals and people.

The healing that is done by Medicine men that is psychotherapy and medicinal treatment is not sorcery and it has nothing to do with religious practices in the first place. The healers donít talk about ideology but instead about psychology. Psychological and medicinal therapy is something that is separate from ideological beliefs and religious orientation. Unfortunately some people call the healing process  an ideological one and if they think it is something good they go into their imaginary worlds, some go as far as to make themselves healers that heal with mystical powers. If however they opposite it, then they start calling the healers heretics and want to convert them to cross worship in case of church people or to Islam in case of Muslims. This can be confusing if the healer they consider an infidel is already in the fold of their religion.

 

 

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