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Acknowledgments Part 1 What Is Bird Medicine? A Whistle and a Word to the Wise Bird Origins and Early Influences on Humans Part 2 The Four Gatekeepers The Birds of the Four Directions Eagles Hawks Crows Owls Part 3 Mentors and Messengers Messengers and Carriers of Spirit Birds as Teachers Birds as Musicians Birds Speak Our Language Bird Warnings Birds as Role Models Healing (and Humorous) Birds Peacemaking and Patient Birds Part 4 Other Bird Allies Hummingbirds Seagulls Sparrows Loons Parrots Turkeys Thunderbirds Part 5 Fledgling Thoughts Gathering Feathers Feathers in Arrows, Fans, and Badges Birds and Colors Bird Totems for Warriors The Eagle Bone Flute Twelve Birds Bluebirds of Happiness Part 6 Threats to Our Bird Allies The Cautionary Tale of the Passenger Pigeon Birds Face Multiple Hazards Cell Phone Towers: The New DDT What Can We Do? Afterword Notes Bibliography Index
Evan T. Pritchard, a descendant of the Mi'kmaq people, is an adjunct professor of Native American studies at Pace University and the director of the Center for Algonquin Culture. Steeped in bird lore by his Mi'kmaq great aunt Helen Perley, he is the author of several books, including Native New Yorkers and No Word for Time.
"Evan Pritchard has put together a wonderful book showing how we mammals have learned and still learn from birds. History, history, history! And future possibilities." * Pete Seeger, American folksinger * "In Bird Medicine, Evan Pritchard has surpassed his previous books. Not only is his book enjoyable and informative, it is also quite scholarly. Though he is, in his own words, not an ornithologist, he teaches us a great deal about the habits and patterns of many familiar birds." * Elspeth Odbert, certified shamanic practitioner and author of Out of the Forest and Gylantra's * "Evan Pritchard has an instinct for bringing the spirit of the Original Peoples into his scholarship, its fresh breath of wisdom still intact. This book combines bird lore with Native American shamanism in a truly unique way. I celebrate the latest release of a very original thinker." * Stephen Larsen, Ph.D., author of The Shaman's Doorway and coauthor of Joseph Campbell: A Fire * "Birds have many practical and transformative things to say to us if we will only listen. Evan Pritchard has fashioned a masterwork of insight and inspiration distilling the wisdom of these winged spiritual teachers as interpreted by Native Americans in stories and rituals." * Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, coauthors of Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life * "Bird Medicine is a beautifully blended culmination of the sacred and the scientific. With content ranging from the ornithological to the philosophical, from the historical to the heartwarming and humorous, Bird Medicine delivers a satisfying array that entertains as much as it enlightens." * Amy Krout-Horn, author of My Father's Blood and coauthor of Transcendence * "In Bird Medicine, Evan Pritchard's scholarship extends beyond the academia of Western science and into the realm of indigenous wisdom, where the ancient powers and spiritual relationships with our winged relations have not been forgotten, beckoning attention to our responsibilities to them and to the Earth." * Gabriel Horn (White Deer of Autumn), professor, award-winning author, contributing writer to The Ame * "This is a good balance between the subtle world of people who choose to work with the Great Mystery, and the curiosity of people who just want to know more about how things work and the ways of the world around them." * Margaret Bartley, Seattle Metaphysical Library, September 2013 * "Bird Medicine: The Sacred Power of Bird Shamanism is a pick for new age and Native American holdings alike, and blends scholarly research with over 200 firsthand accounts of bird encounters from traditional Native Americans and their descendants...The result is a powerful set of bird sign interpretations that any can apply to their own beliefs." * Midwest Book Review, August 2013 * "Filled with stories - some fables involving only birds and some anecdotal narratives of birds' interaction with humans - the book is also an impassioned plea for humans to become more responsible about protecting bird habitats and breeding grounds. Pritchard likens the serious disappearance of bird species to the `canary in the mine'. He believes that our bird friends bring us serious messages about protecting our environment before it is too late. The information and traditions in the book come from myriad sources. It is a lively accounting of creatures we often take for granted despite the joy they bring us. As with faeries, you have to believe in birds before they can change your life. Pritchard makes a very strong case for giving them a chance to do just that." * Anna Jedrziewski, Inannaworks.com, July 2013 * "Eagles, ravens, hawks, owls, crows, and other birds have always played a crucial role in Native American shamanism. In this remarkable book Evan Pritchard demonstrates why these spiritual traditions consider birds to be sacred, giving numerous historical accounts, personal stories, and traditional legends that illustrate the special place that birds have in the hearts and minds of tribal men and women. Pritchard is a master storyteller; each of his vignettes is a source of wonder and fascination. Bird Medicine is a book that his readers will find impossible to forget." * Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Saybrook University and coauthor of Personal Myt * "Bird Medicine is wise, informative, folksy, and eminently readable. The narratives are clear and detailed, and Mr. Pritchard, noted scholar and author on Native American cultures, has the credibility to present them, being both a traditional `insider' and an accredited Western scholar. Even more important, this volume fills a major gap in our knowledge of the natural myths of the Americas. I can see this book becoming required reading for secondary schools all over the country." * E. H. Rick Jarow, Ph.D., professor of religious studies at Vassar College, former Mellon Fellow in t *