My name is Eliseo Cheo Torres, and I'm an Administrator and a Professor at the University of New Mexico. This is part of a series of modules as part of the course on traditional medicine, Curanderismo, of Mexico and the Southwest. Today, we're honored to have a gentleman who has studied this topic as far as the Native American influence on Curanderismo. Curanderismo has many influences. Bob Vetter is a Cultural Anthropologist, he's an Author. He's worked with the natives of the Southern Plains. Bob Vetter is adopted by a Comanche, the last Comanche medicine man. So we're fortunate to have him talk about the influences of Native American healing on Curanderismo. Bob, welcome, and thank you for being here, Bob. Thank you, Cheo. Bob, you've been part of this course for about five years, and now, we're so honored to have you demonstrate this for our audience here. They're taking this course online. And Manny, your wife, thank you for being here. So it's all yours, Bob. Thank you, Cheo. So I'm going to be talking a little bit about the use of feathers in healing and how I got to come across this, and a little bit about how I use it in my work in Curanderismo. So in 1980, I moved from New York out to Oklahoma, where I began my fieldwork in cultural anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. In my fieldwork, I was interested in understanding the link between spirituality and healing. Because I found myself in Oklahoma and I needed to do ethnographic fieldwork, I did my fieldwork on the topic of traditional medicine. Over the course of my studies and over the course of learning what I did, I was blessed and fortunate enough to be adopted first by an old man named Oliver Pahdopony, who was the last medicine man of the Comanches, as you heard Cheo say. I, over the years, was blessed again to be adopted into several other different families. A number of my teachers and influences came out of those adoptions, including my uncle, Richie Tartsah, who was a Kiowa medicine man. He's the man who co-authored the book with me called Big Bow: The Spiritual Teachings of a Kiowa Family. Later on, another old man took me as a son, man named Moses Star, who's Southern Cheyenne, taught me a little bit about the use of feathers. So way back then, I became interested in Curanderismo in an academic way, and it wasn't until many, many years later that I got to be involved in practicing Curanderismo. One of my teachers was a woman by the name of Elena Avila, who taught me about the use of feathers from the perspective of Curanderismo. So during this session, what I hope to show you is a couple of different ways that feathers can be used. I'm going to tell you a little bit about some of the items that are on my altar here. Now, there's a connection between the work that I do and my involvement in something called the Native American Church. The Native American Church is an institution that began in Oklahoma in the late 1800s, and it was a combination of their healing arts that they had prior to then. It brought the use of peyote as a holy sacrament from Mexico and Southern Texas and included rudimentary aspects of the Christian religion, all combined together syncretistically into a new religion that came to be known as the Native American Church. Now, in the Native American Church, there are all-night-long prayer meetings that take place inside a tepee. Up until midnight, there's a minimal use of feathers, but after the midnight water is brought in, we stay up all night long, praying and performing ceremony. After the midnight water is brought in, everyone who has their sacred instruments, including their feathers, is invited to take them out. So a lot of what I've been around and influenced by is the use of feathers in the Native American Church. So on my altar that I have here, there are a number of things that I want to talk about quickly. The box in the background is my peyote box. That's the box that I use to carry my instruments into the tepee. So this is one style of fan. This is a style that's very popular on the Southern Plains. You can see that each individual feather is beaded and is attached with a dowel to a central piece with a handle that's beaded as well, and then buckskin fringes on the end. I also have with me a single feather of a bird that's becoming somewhat popular now. It's called the bustard, and it comes from Australia. The feathers that I'm using here are legal ones. There are other feathers like the eagle feather, for example, that is widely used in healing or doctoring practices, but that is of questionable legality. The gourd rattle that I have here is also from the Native American Church. I also have symbols of Curanderismo. So we have the [inaudible] , that's the incense burner that I have here, and I'm burning a tree resin called copal. This is something called Florida Water, which is a scented water that we use in healing practices. I have a candle here and a bundle of sage over here that came from another ceremony, as well as sweet grass. So all of these are things that are burned and utilized in cleansings of various kinds. So the word limpia means cleansing, and we refer to that as a spiritual cleansing. I'm going to be talking about how to integrate feathers as a part of a limpia. So I don't have time to go into all of the other aspects and other sacred tools that we might use in limpia, but just keep in mind that the feather is only one among many. So I'm going to ask my wife, [inaudible] , to come out. I'm going to demonstrate one way of using the feathers. So yes, if you can stand right there. I'm going to be using this copal smoke, and I'm going to use this on her. Now, first, I'm going to demonstrate a method that I learned from my Cheyenne dad, Moses. In this one, you know what? Maybe I'll start with the single feather. For this one, because she is a woman, we're going to start from the top down. When we do this type of feathering on a man, we go from the bottom up. So that's it, very simple. We're just touching the four directions with the smoke. Cheo, I'll ask you to come up so I can do it the male way from the bottom up. You want me here? Yes, that's good. Okay. That'll work. I'll just go around you. A lot of times we'll also tap the palms, adding anything else to this that you want. For example, touching his heart, and then when we end, we end with a handshake or a hug. Either one of those would work. [inaudible] Thank you. So that's one way of using the feather, and I'm going to do another type. We'll go back to the single feather. This is a way that I learned from Elena Avila, and in this way, what we're doing is we are working with the person's energetic body. So most people watching this I'm sure are familiar with the idea of the aura, that we are surrounded by an electromagnetic field. Now, that field is a reflection of what goes on with us mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Sickness, toxins, things that build up in the energetic field can lead to disease. So a lot of this has to do with creating balance in the energetic field. So in this case, we would use this at the end of a limpia to close the person up. So over the course of the cleansing, that person may be opened up. But we want to close them at the end. So what we do first is, stir up the energetic field, and then we pat it down, compact it in the way that I like to look at this, is that it also creates an energetic shield for that person after they go from this space. If I could make an analogy to something that I heard in the Native American church. What they say is, what we do in here is easy, that this is the place where everything that's good is inside here. It's when we walk out of the door of the teepee, that's when we have to worry. In the same way, when we work with somebody energetically, we're creating balance for that person. But when we send them out into the world, we want them ready to go out into a not so healing environment. So this will do two things. This will stir up her energetic field, will comb it back and create balance all at the same time. For this part, you hold the feather lightly and allow it to just tap the field and comb everything in, gently moving the energetic field back. We can do something very similar using Florida Water. Creating a shield around her and a barrier that keeps her safe and protected. Thank you. One more. So Cheo, I'm going to ask you to come back up one more time. Add a little more copal. So this is the resin that I mentioned before. Copal is a tree resin and we use this smoke in a sacred way. So in this case, I'm going to be praying for Cheo. I'm going to be praying for the projects that he's involved in. I'm going to be praying for him, in his work, and I'll be using this. I'll be using my feathers to put the smoke on him and also to channel through me the prayers, the power from the Creator, the prayers, the intentions that I'm going set here for this good man Cheo Torres. So Creator, I'm going to ask you to be here with me today. I pray to bless Cheo that through me, your power will go into him. I'm praying for the things that he does today, Creator. Pray for the projects, the things that are important to him. I pray for the good work that he does with other people. I pray for a blessing for him, for his family, pray for his home place, pray that things are good throughout his life. Creator touch this man, that's what I'm asking you. Bless him. Bless him from his toes all the way up to the top of his head. I pray that you're going to help create balance for him in his life. I pray that you're going to unite his mind, his body, his spirit, his emotions, everything that he is. I pray that if there are any imbalances in his life, that you bring order and balance for him. I pray that you put your holy healing hands upon him, touch him, doctor him. I pray that I can be a channel for this power that will go into him. Touch Cheo, Creator, that's what I'm asking you for today. I'm asking for a blessing in his life. I pray for his wife, his daughter, all of his relations. I pray for the people that he works with, the projects that he's involved in, that he can bring these to completion. I pray to put a shield around him. That with this smoke and with these feathers, that he can be protected from any negative influences in the world around him, any bad thoughts that there might be by people, whether intentionally or unintentionally. I pray that you're going to protect him from all of this, and guide him. Help him on his road of life. I pray that the things that he does will bring him fulfillment meaning in his life. I want to pray for all of these things in your sacred name, Creator. [inaudible] So in wrapping it up, I'd just like to talk a little bit about getting feathers. So feathers are all around us. We look at birds and we see them as a strong symbol for what we want as human beings. We want to be released from the limitations of this physical world, and we think of birds as being able to do that as they take flight. So we borrow from these birds their feathers to harness power, to transfer the love that we have for the people that we work with. We ask for finding feathers in a good way. So sometimes you might be walking down the road. You might see a feather. That might be a feather that comes to you in a way that you can use for somebody else. There are feathers that you can buy. I want to talk quickly about the legal feathers that are available. Macaw feathers are often used and those are in my fan. My fan contains Macaw and Pheasant feathers, and both of those are types of feathers that you can buy legally. You can get them on the Internet. There are people who sell these feathers on, you can get those. You can use those. As I mentioned the other one here is a Bustard feather. But the best way to get going with feathers is to try it out, to use it as one tool in a sacred toolbox of things that you use for limpias. So with that, I'm going to wrap it up to Cheo and say, thank you. Can I have you come up here? Let's thank our cultural anthropologist and author Bob [inaudible] from Long Island, New York for an excellent presentation. Bob, [inaudible] and Mary, thank you so much. My pleasure. We appreciate everything that both of you do. Thank you. Until next time this is Cheo with the course in traditional medicine of Mexico to Southwest.