(Told by No-flesh)
My father was a medicineman and he knew all diseases. He knew what caused them. He could cure all diseases. He knew the best of medicines. When he was a very young man, he had a vision, in which the great bear took him to the region of the spirits. He joined the spirits in the mystery dance and they instructed him in regard to all diseases and the medicines good for them.
Sage drives away evil spirits. Sweetgrass pleases the good spirits. The influence (Tonwan) of the spirits is everywhere all the time. If the spirits cannot come when they are called their influence will act for them. In all sickness evil spirits should be driven away first. This may be done by making smoke with the sage. There are other things which will drive away certain kinds of evil spirits. Then when the evil spirits are driven away, the good spirits should be invoked. This may be done by singing songs. A medicineman will know What song to sing. He learns what song to sing when he has his vision. It may be that he learns the song from someone else. It may be that his song is not good. If his song is not good, then another medicineman may be able to sing the right song. If medicinemen use the same medicines they should sing songs alike. Evil spirits cause all diseases. Good
spirits do not cause diseases. The evil spirits may cause worms to enter the body. The evil spirits get into the body. They will squeeze the flesh and cause kan-natipapi (spasms).
Kan natipapi (Tendon drawn up) may pinch the points and cause okihe yanzanpi (rheumatism). Okihe yazanpi (joints pain) may pinch the bowels and cause cenpi yazanpi (colic). They may place worms in the bowels. These worms eat the bowels and this gives kazopi (diarrhoea). Some worms (waglula) do not eat the bowels. The bird medicinemen are best to treat for worms. Sometimes the evil spirits get in the head. This makes nasu yazanpi (brain pain, headache).
The menstrual flow of woman is very wakan. It will cause diseases of the skin and the genitals. Some medicinemen make medicines of this and if they invoke the right spirits it makes love medicine. The influence of menstruation will give ticantatapi (body numb, paralysis). The influence of the mole is bad. It gives scars and burrows under the skin (scrofula). It also causes lice.
Anog Ite causes pains in a man's testicles. She also gives pains to women when they are menstruating and when they are pregnant.
The Unktehi make boils and put bad humors about wounds. Iktomi was shooting Unktehi with a popgun when the Unktehi took an ash sprout and pushed the pith out so hard that it struck Iktomi and entered under the skin. This swelled and got hot and ached until it softened and ran out. This was the way boils first came. Since then when the Unktehi shoot anyone with the pith of an ash, it makes a boil.
Iya was very hungry because no one had died for a long time. He said to the dragonfly, "Give me something to eat for I am very hungry." The dragonfly told him to come with him, and he took him to a swampy place and said to him, "Here is where I get my food. Take what you want of it." So Iya began to catch mosquitoes and eat them. The mosquitoes said to the dragon fly, "Iya is very large and he will eat all mosquitoes and you will have no food left." Then the mosquitoes and the dragonfly said to Iya, "Come with us." He went with them down into the waters to the tipi of the Unktehi and Iktomi went with them. When they came to the tipi Iktomi said to Iya, "What would you like to eat?" Iktomi had deceived Iya so often that he said, "Now I will tell the opposite of what I mean." So he said, "I like meat best and fat meat better still, but I will starve if I have only ghosts to eat. So Iktomi said to the Unktehi, "We must playa joke on Iya. He says he likes meat the best and that he will starve on spirits of men. So we must make him believe that he will get meat and make it so that he will get ghosts only."
So the Unktehi and the dragon fly made a little worm, took it to Iya and told him to put it in the water. When anyone drank the water they would die and he would have plenty of meat. So Iya put the worm in the water and when anyone drank the water, the worm would go down the windpipe and into the lungs. It would draw all the fat from the body and eat it and one would cough and spit out the fat that the worm would not eat. When the worm had eaten all the fat then the person died, so that there was little meat or fat. This was what Iya wanted, for his favorite food was spirits. This was how consumption began.
Anog Ite entices persons to follow her and then she shows them her hideous face and this frightens them so that they lose their senses and become insane, or they jump and jerk their arms and legs about until they forget about seeing her (bring on chorea). She is fond of doing this to young girls just as they are about to menstruate for the first time.
Cause of Fever. The Hohnogica build spirit fires near sick people and this
makes them very hot. They sometimes appear to babies and frighten them into spasms. When they rub their hair on one this makes sores and eruptive diseases.
When persons drink water from the streams, they are apt to suck in worms and swallow them. These worms scratch the bowels and gnaw the internal organs and make pains. One is apt to swallow snakes and frogs in the same way and these things live in such a one's belly and they must be fed or they will writhe about and cause pains.
Frost Bite. Waziya blows his breath on one and makes one cold even on a hot day. If Waziya touches one, the flesh that, he touches dies.
If one kills a spider with the hands, then Iktomi will put sand in such a one's eyes and make them sore.
When one is wounded the Unktehi put their spittel into the wound which is the humor and they will shoot pith into the wound which makes the discharge.
If one has dedicated an animal or part of an animal according to his vision and then such a one should eat that animal or part of the animal before the dedication runs out, then the thing that it was dedicated to, will bring some kind of sickness upon such a one.
There are many things that are ohhaka (injurious as food). Some because they are poison and some because they are mysterious. All such things will cause diseases. All diseases are things which get into the body and do violence to it in some way. The thing to do is to get these things out of the body. May be it is the influence of a supernatural being (Taku Wakan). May be it is something like a worm. If it is an influence (tonwan), then the shamans (Wicasa Wakan) can cure the sick the best. If it is something else, then the medicinemen (Pejuta wicasa) can make the best cure. If the sickness is of long duration, then someone should seek a vision and learn what to do. It is always the best to iwani (take a vapor bath with ceremonies). It is best always to make smoke of sage and then smoke of sweetgrass. This will drive away the evil spirits and please the good spirits.
The shamans can make medicines that are very mysterious and powerful. Their incantations (pikiyapi) make it powerful. By their incantations they can cause diseases. These diseases are tokeca (different from the ordinary).
The medicinemen learn their medicines from the spirits in a vision. The spirits tell them what to use and how to use it. Their medicines are nearly always herbs (wato) or roots (hutkan). Therefore, all their medicines are called grass roots (pezuta). The medicines drive the disease out in the sweat, in the vomit, in the defecation, in the urine, and in the breath. To drive disease out in the sweat, is the best and easiest way; in the breath, is the next best and easiest way; in the defecation, is the next best way; in the urine is a good way; and in the vomit, is a very hard way, but some diseases will not come out in any other way.