Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

"Traditionally, Disability Was Not Seen as Such"

Writing and Healing in the Work of Mohegan Medicine People

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2013), 7, (2), 213–229.

Abstract

The article traces representations of illness and disability in the writing of Mohegan medicine people from the eighteenth century to the present—from the missionary Samson Occom's herbal, which recorded indigenous remedies for imported diseases, to medicine woman Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel's speculative fiction, which portrays indigenous cultures accepting disability matter-of-factly. Mohegan writers have understood illness and disability as products of settler colonialism, both materially and discursively. In their writings about traditional ethnobotanical knowledge, they represent shifting indigenous responses to the colonial project of pathologizing indigenous bodies and nations. These responses include complicated strategies of disidentification with disability, as captured in Zobel's statement that "traditionally, disability was not seen as such."

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Zobel, Melissa Tantaquidgeon. Fire Hollow. Ward Hill, MA: Raven's Wing, 2010. Print. Fire Hollow Google Scholar

Barker, Clare. "From Narrative Prosthesis to Disability Counternarrative: Reading the Politics of Difference in Potiki and the bone people." Journal of New Zealand Literature 24.1 (2006): 130-47. Print. From Narrative Prosthesis to Disability Counternarrative: Reading the Politics of Difference in Potiki and the bone people Journal of New Zealand Literature 24 130 47 Google Scholar

Barker, Clare. Postcolonial Fiction and Disability: Exceptional Children, Metaphor and Materiality. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print. Postcolonial Fiction and Disability: Exceptional Children, Metaphor and Materiality Google Scholar

Barker, Clare, and Stuart Murray. "Disabling Postcolonialism: Global Disability Cultures and Democratic Criticism." Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies 4.3 (2010): 219-36. Print. Disabling Postcolonialism: Global Disability Cultures and Democratic Criticism Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies 4 219 36 Google Scholar

Fawcett, Melissa Jayne. The Lasting of The Mohegans Part I: The Story of the Wolf People. The Mohegan Tribe, 1995. Print. The Lasting of The Mohegans Part I: The Story of the Wolf People Google Scholar

Fawcett-Sayet, Melissa. "Mohegan Women's Sociocultural Leadership." Rooted Like the Ash Trees. Washington, CT: Eagle Wing P, 1987. Print. Rooted Like the Ash Trees Google Scholar

Fitzgerald, Stephanie. "The Cultural Work of a Mohegan Painted Basket." Early Native Literacies in New England. Ed. Kristina Bross and Hilary Wyss. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2008. 52-56. Print. Early Native Literacies in New England 52 56 Google Scholar

Gone, Joseph. "‘We Never Was Happy Living Like a Whiteman’: Mental Health Disparities and the Postcolonial Predicament in American Indian Communities." American Journal of Community Psychology 40 (2007): 290-300. Print. ‘We Never Was Happy Living Like a Whiteman’: Mental Health Disparities and the Postcolonial Predicament in American Indian Communities American Journal of Community Psychology 40 290 300 Google Scholar

Jacobs, Sue-Ellen, Wesley Thomas, and Sabine Lang, eds. Two-Spirit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1997. Print. Two-Spirit People: Native American Gender Identity, Sexuality, and Spirituality Google Scholar

Jones, David S. Rationalizing Epidemics: Meanings and Uses of American Indian Mortality Since 1600. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2004. Print. Rationalizing Epidemics: Meanings and Uses of American Indian Mortality Since 1600 Google Scholar

MacCallum, James D. The Letters Of Eleazar Wheelock's Indians. Hanover, NH: Dartmouth College, 1932. Print. The Letters Of Eleazar Wheelock's Indians Google Scholar

Mancini, Jason. "Native Medicine and the Powwow." Cross Paths (2004): n.p. Print. Native Medicine and the Powwow Cross Paths Google Scholar

McCarthy-Jones, Simon. Hearing Voices: The Histories, Causes and Meanings of Auditory Verbal Hallucinations. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2012. Print. Hearing Voices: The Histories, Causes and Meanings of Auditory Verbal Hallucinations Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

National Council on Disability. People with Disabilities on Tribal Lands: Education, Health Care, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Independent Living. Washington, DC, 2003. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. Google Scholar

Native American Disability Law Center. The Needs of Native Americans with Disabilities: 2007 Needs Assessment. Farmington, NM, 2007. Web. 20 Sept. 2012. Google Scholar

No Limits—The First People Part 3. 2012. Film. Google Scholar

Occom, Samson. Manuscripts Relating to Samson Occom and Eleazar Wheelock's Early Indian Students. 1740s-1790s. Rauner Special Collections, Dartmouth College. Print. Manuscripts Relating to Samson Occom and Eleazar Wheelock's Early Indian Students Google Scholar

Occom, Samson, and Joanna Brooks. The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan: Literature and Leadership in Eighteenth-Century Native America. New York: Oxford UP, 2006. Print. The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan: Literature and Leadership in Eighteenth-Century Native America Google Scholar

Ranco, Darren. "The Indian Ecologist and the Politics of Representation: Critiquing the Ecological Indian in the Age of Ecocide." Perspectives on the Ecological Indian: Native Americans and the Environment. Ed. Michael Harkin and David Rich Lewis. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2007. 32-51. Print. Perspectives on the Ecological Indian: Native Americans and the Environment 32 51 Google Scholar

Smith, Andrea. Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide. Cambridge, MA: South End P, 2005. Print. Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide Google Scholar

Smith, Andrea, and J. Kēhaulani Kauanui. "Native Feminisms Engage American Studies." American Quarterly 60.2 (2008): 241-49. Web. 15 Sept. 2012. Native Feminisms Engage American Studies American Quarterly 60 241 49 Google Scholar

Speck, Frank G. Native Tribes and Dialects of Connecticut: A Mohegan-Pequot Diary. Washington, DC: GPO, 1928. Print. Native Tribes and Dialects of Connecticut: A Mohegan-Pequot Diary Google Scholar

Wisecup, Kelly. "Medicine, Communication, and Authority in Samson Occom's Herbal." Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 10.3 (2012): 540-65. Print. Medicine, Communication, and Authority in Samson Occom's Herbal Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 10 540 65 Google Scholar

Womack, Craig. Red on Red: Native American Literary Separatism. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1999. Print. Red on Red: Native American Literary Separatism Google Scholar

Wyss, Hilary E. Writing Indians: Literacy, Christianity, and Native Community in Early America. Amherst: U of Massachusetts P, 2003. Print. Writing Indians: Literacy, Christianity, and Native Community in Early America Google Scholar

Zobel, Melissa Jayne Fawcett. Medicine Trail: The Life and Lessons of Gladys Tantaquidgeon. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 2000. Print. Medicine Trail: The Life and Lessons of Gladys Tantaquidgeon Google Scholar

Zobel, Melissa Tantaquidgeon. Oracles: A Novel. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 2004. Print. Oracles: A Novel Google Scholar

Zobel, Melissa Tantaquidgeon. Fire Hollow. Ward Hill, MA: Raven's Wing, 2010. Print. Fire Hollow Google Scholar

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Senier, Siobhan

Senier, Siobhan