Coming Full Circle is an interdisciplinary exploration of the relationships between spirituality and health among Coast Salish and Chiok communities in western Washington from 1805 to 2005. Suzanne Crawford O'Brien examines how these communities define what it means to be healthy and how recent tribal community-based health programs have applied this understanding to their missions and activities. She also explores how contemporary definitions, goals, and activities relating to health and healing are informed by Coast Salish history and also by indigeus spiritual views of the body. These views, she argues, are based on an understanding of the relationship between self, ecology, and community. Coming Full Circle draws on a historical framework in reflecting on contemporary tribal health-care efforts and the ways in which they engage indigeus healing traditions alongside twenty-first-century biomedicine. The book makes a strong case for the current shift toward tribally controlled care, arguing that local, culturally distinct ways of healing and understanding illness must be a part of Native health care. Combining in-depth archival research, extensive ethgraphic participant-based field work, and skillful scholarship on theories of religion and embodiment, Crawford O'Brien offers an original and masterful analysis of Coast Salish and Chiok traditions and worldviews, and the intersection of religion and healing.
Suzanne Crawford O'Brien is a professor of religion and culture at Pacific Lutheran University. She is the author of Native American Religions and the editor of Religion and Healing in Native America: Pathways for Renewal.