man for hire
I have taken
a look at the Medicinemanforhire website and have found
there are some Navajo men, the Morrisses from Sheepsprings offering
their services as practitioners As medicinemen/peyote men. I can not
speak for them but these things I remember
An old man and women rode a matched pair of horses down a long windy
dusty road somewhere over by Cow Springs, Tonalea. They carried saddle
bags filled with hard goods, turquoise and silver jewelry, heavy stuff.
These would be offered to the man they were going to see. He was of
simple means but known to many, even these two who had travelled a
miles to see him. They had left a couple of days earlier from the
Chuska Mountains crossing along by Star Mountain, skirting Canyon
Chelly, past Round Rock and straight on to Rough Rock and up over
Mesa. Their clothes were dusty and worn but they carried with them
request that this Singer come to the their place to restore harmony.
A call had gone out after the family and all the relations sat down
a meeting. Someone was ailing and it was decided a Singer was needed.
There is a man from way over by Cow Springs someone said and so the
couple wanted to go. They had not been that way for a long time and
they wanted to see this country again, so the horses were fed and
watered. Family brought out the hard goods, heavy bracelets, three
conchos made in the last century by Slim Silversmith. It was good,
packed it away and set out to the west.
The family scattered out into the area, there had to be three places
where those families would host one night each. The sing goes on for
three nights and in a different place each night. Preparations for
sing, cutting wood, gathering plants, these things are what nalis
(aunts) do and the old Che’s (grandpas) do as elders, they talk about
the important things, who was to sing, take charge of the animals,
gathering food, blankets, and help from the local area. Each went
way to different places to ask for help and support for this sing.
As these messengers went out, they would come to a place far from
they had started. On sighting a horse rider, the children would run
into the hogan or chao-, shade house and summon the older folks and
parents. In some cases the rider would go up to the place and someone
from inside would say, Ohshde’, come in, and so they went in and sat
down reaching for whatever the family was eating without asking and
sharing a meal. After some food was eaten they would commence to say
the long way of doing so, the circumstances of what happened at a
certain time and exlain the need. That is how it happens, someone
ill or sick and so that is why they are there. The family considers
this and after a little bit offers what they can, coffee, beans, a
sheep, a son-in-law to chop wood, maybe a singer who can make the
light in the night to the sway of many men and women who sing. My
father is one of these men, he could all night and his voice carried
There is a cedar log bonfire. It is a beautiful thing to stand near
edge and look out on a group standing close together in the night,
too far from the fire. They sing long and with a rhythm learned over
long time. Some call this a squaw dance, but it is really called a
Night Way, there is social dancing to bring good spirits to this place.
They sing all night; their voices raising and following the embers
float into the night sky.
A little ways away there are those who dance to the songs as a group
a simple dance floor cleared in the brush. It is ladies choice, women
in shawls move about and with a swish, a touch call on the men to
dance. The men have to pay, some a dollar, others more. Some want
run and hide, others dance while the stars move slowly across the
it is a good night for all.
Not too far off there is movement not seen by many of those there.
come quietly without a sound and they have names like Corn Bug Girl,
Pollen Boy, Monster Slayer, Bear Man and many others who move in passed
the ongoings outside into the hogan, to the heart of it all. They
into the circle of the Rainbow Guardians and look about them at the
Singer who has called them there. This old man from Tonalea, he speaks
each word carefully and slowly, taking care to do everything right,
this is his time and he makes it so. Each grain of sand has it’s place,
each rattle and song giving a call to those that can provide the
restoration of heart, mind and soul to the patient sitting quietly
listening and learning.
I stand not too far off on the outside and take a rest on the blankets
set aside for me. My grandmother and mother are making bread for
tomorrow, kneading it so it is just right. As for me I take a break
lay down for little bit. I can hear them; those outside and their
voices hanging in the air. Yasho, I am Navajo, Dine’, I am glad to
born during this time. I shall dance in the house of my mother and
in the places of my father, Dinetah, within the Four Sacred Mountains
there is no other place for me…..
Medicinemen for hire, can offer me nothing…..nothing.
From: Johnny Rustywire <email@example.com>