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Medicine & Miracles in the High Desert

Medicine & Miracles in the High Desert

Sharing her life-changing deep dive into Navajo culture, Erica Elliott’s inspiring story reveals the transformation possible from immersion in a spiritually rich culture as well as the power of reaching out to others with joy, respect, and an open heart.

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Medicine & Miracles in the High Desert

Medicine & Miracles in the High Desert

In 1971, Erica Elliott arrived on the Navajo reservation as a newly minted schoolteacher, knowing nothing about her students or their culture. After a discouraging first week, she almost leaves in despair, unable to communicate with the children or understand cultural cues. But once she starts learning the language, the people begin to trust her, welcoming her into their homes and their hearts. As she is drawn into the mystical world of Navajo life, she has a series of profound experiences with the people, animals, and spirits of Canyon de Chelly that change her life forever.

• Details the author’s time living with the Navajo people as a teacher, sheepherder, and doctor and her profound experiences with the people, animals, and spirits

• Shows how she learned the Navajo language to bridge the cultural divide

• Reveals the miracles she witnessed, including her own miracle when the elders prayed for healing of a tumor on her neck

• Shares her fearsome encounters with a mountain lion and a shape-shifting “skinwalker” and how she fulfilled a prophecy by returning as a doctor

In this compelling memoir, the author details her time living with the Navajo, the Diné people, and her experiences with their enchanting land, healing ceremonies, and rich traditions. She shares how her love for her students transformed her life as well as the lives of the children. She reveals the miracles she witnessed during this time, including her own miracle when the elders prayed for healing of a tumor on her neck. She survives fearsome encounters with a mountain lion and a shape-shifting “skinwalker.” She learns how to herd sheep, make fry bread, and weave traditional rugs, experiencing for herself the life of a traditional Navajo woman.

Fulfilling a Navajo grandmother’s prophecy, the author returns years later to serve the Navajo people as a medical doctor in an underfunded clinic, delivering numerous babies and treating sick people day and night. She also reveals how, when a medicine man offers to thank her with a ceremony, more miracles unfold.

Sharing her life-changing deep dive into Navajo culture, Erica Elliott’s inspiring story reveals the transformation possible from immersion in a spiritually rich culture as well as the power of reaching out to others with joy, respect, and an open heart.

About the Author:

Erica M Elliott M D

Erica Elliott resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she has a busy medical practice.

Erica was born into a large family with a Swiss mother and an American father. Throughout her childhood, Erica moved with her family from one part of the world to another due to her father’s work. She began her schooling in England, graduated from high school in Germany, and then studied art in Florence, Italy, before returning to the States to attend college.

The seeds for becoming a medical doctor were first sown when she spent a summer in Switzerland learning from her uncle, an eccentric and brilliant medical doctor. It took many years before those seeds sprouted.

Erica came to medicine later than most medical students, after pursuing other careers and interests, including teaching grade school and sheepherding on the Navajo Reservation, mountain climbing in the Andes while serving in the Peace Corps in South America, teaching Outward Bound students wilderness survival in the Rocky Mountains, studying spiritual practices, and traveling abroad.

After graduating from University of Colorado Medical School and completing her residency in family practice in Denver, Erica worked in Cuba, New Mexico, where she fulfilled her National Health Service obligation. From there she worked in a number of settings including a clinic for indigent care, a local emergency room, a women’s clinic, a multispecialty clinic, and finally, in 1993, Dr. Elliott opened her own private practice in her co-housing community, The Commons, which she help found in the early 1990s.

Dr. Elliott’s unrelenting curiosity has led her on many eye-opening and heart-opening adventures. The years she spent living in foreign cultures, both as a child and an adult, enabled her to bring a fresh perspective to her life’s work.

Additional information

Weight 14 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × 1 in
medicine
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