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Religion and Healing in America$
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Linda L. Barnes and Susan S. Sered

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195167962

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195167962.001.0001

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Among Shamanism: Animist Spiritual Healing in America's Urban Heartland

Among Shamanism: Animist Spiritual Healing in America's Urban Heartland

Chapter:
(p.439) 27 Among Shamanism: Animist Spiritual Healing in America's Urban Heartland
Source:
Religion and Healing in America
Author(s):

Phua Xiong

Charles Numrich

Wu Chu Yongyuan

Deu Yang

Gregory A. Plotnikoff

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195167962.003.0028

The Hmong are an ethnic minority with ancient roots in China. There are now more than 100,000 Hmong refugees in the United States, with the highest concentration in Minnesota and Wisconsin. As the Hmong make America their home, their practice of traditional healing—Hmong shamanism (kev ua neeb)—has been particularly challenged by the multiple forces that accompany acculturation, such as the problems faced when individuals are confronted with health care, social services, and legal systems that have no understanding of Hmong traditional beliefs and cultural attitudes. At the same time, the tension between acculturation and traditional beliefs modulates the Hmong's participation in American biomedicine. Due to the dynamic interaction of souls, spirits, and people, and the impact of their interactions on health and illness, many Hmong find Western medicine less than adequate in meeting their needs. Those who do not seek Western treatment will try a variety of traditional healing practices, including shamanism, herbalism, and other home remedies and magic healing. Nevertheless, shamans and shamanism are not opposed to conventional physician care.

Keywords:   Hmong, Hmong shamanism, shamans, health care, United States, acculturation, Western medicine, biomedicine, illness, healing

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