Marrying modern medicine with traditional healing as new trailblazing centre opens

The Cherokee People will use their knowledge of nature to heal

It can be tricky to know whether we should turn to modern medicine or traditional healing when we fall ill, as we hear more and more positive stories about alternative methods.

However, one education institution is making the decision for us by joining the two forces.

A first of its kind, the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine will be founded on both principles, by members of the Cherokee Nation, as it becomes recognised as the first tribally associated medical school.

The Cherokee are one of the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands (what is now Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina), and with more than 300,000 members they are the largest of the recognised tribes in the USA.

[Credit: Aaron Blanco / Unsplash]

While other American Indian cultures believe in Mother Earth or Father Sky, the ancient Cherokee celebrate a single Great Spirit instead who presides over all and created the Earth.

The new school, which will train Cherokee Nation members to become physicians at Nation clinics, is near completion and promises to unite modern medicine with healing in both service and décor with a striking building decorated by Cherokee artists.

In addition to this, the landscaping will grow medicinal plants used by the Cherokee people such as yarrow, blue indigo, rattlesnake master, and elderberry.

Yarrow is used in tea to reduce fever and aid in restful sleep, while in more severe cases it is also used to treat haemorrhaging and to ease rashes.

Meanwhile, blue indigo helps treat vomiting, inflammation, and toothache; rattlesnake master is used as a snake bite remedy and to treat cancer; while elderberry is used to prevent colds and the flu as it boosts the immune system, stimulates the digestive system, improves respiration and asthma, and even aids in arthritic conditions.

[Credit: Oleg Illarionov]

Speaking about the project, the former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Bill John Baker, said their goals are to create opportunity for more members of their tribe.

Baker explained: “After we were removed from tribal lands and there were no teachers, we invested our treasury into teachers.

“This is a natural progression. Just as our ancestors grew their own teachers 150 years ago, we want to grow our own doctors.”

Meanwhile, current Principal Chief, Chuck Hoskin Jr, said they are excited to open the facility as it allows them to serve more of their citizens than ever before.

At the grand opening, he said: “This facility is a real game changer that will improve our overall health system and is a huge investment in our local economy.

“It is a blessing for me to see former Chief Bill John Baker’s vision come to fruition because of what it means for our citizens.”

We only hope they release a book revealing more secret remedies!


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