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A Different MedicinePostcolonial Healing in the Native American Church$
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Joseph D. Calabrese

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199927722

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199927722.001.0001

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Decolonizing Our Understandings of the Normal and the Therapeutic

Decolonizing Our Understandings of the Normal and the Therapeutic

Chapter:
(p.190) 9 Decolonizing Our Understandings of the Normal and the Therapeutic
Source:
A Different Medicine
Author(s):

Joseph D. Calabrese

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199927722.003.0009

The book ends with a call for understanding of the richness and diversity of human approaches to health and healing, including ritual approaches, and for decolonizing our understandings of the normal and the therapeutic. This is especially crucial in the area of cultural divergence in psychopharmacology. The War on Drugs, stubbornly ethnocentric in its understandings and politically self-serving and racist in its application, has turned the “Land of the Free” into the world leader in the imprisonment of its own population. The case of the Native American Church, a tradition of psychedelic plant use that supports health and social harmony (and is even coded as a therapeutic intervention by the U.S. government) has important implications for the War on Drugs and for our understandings of human use of psychoactive plants. We must learn to recognize the diverse forms of the normal and the therapeutic, bracketing our own ethnocentric pseudo-certainties.

Keywords:   diversity, healing, ritual, normal, therapeutic, psychedelic, psychopharmacology, war on drugs, native american church, ethnocentrism

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