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"Poking", an Eskimo medical practice in Northwest Alaska

"Poking", an Eskimo medical practice in Northwest Alaska
Pages: 109 - 126
Auteur(s) / Author(s): John Mim Dixon, Scott Kirchner
Résumé:

Le perçage (poking) est un terme utilisé au nord-ouest de l'Alaska pour désigner le perçage de la peau, pour des raisons médicales, avec un instrument appelé « perçoir » (kappun, en inupiaq). Nous décrivons et illustrons six de ces instruments, utilisés par des praticiens inupiat contemporains. Nous présentons en outre cinq cas de perçage qui furent observés en 1981 dans le nord-ouest de l'Alaska. Suit une discussion de la théorie médicale autochtone qui sous-tend le perçage en relation avec la position du perçage dans la hiérarchie des cures, le concept du « mauvais sang » comme cause de la maladie et le concept de « vers » comme cause de maladie et composante du traitement. Enfin, l'article se termine par un examen des origines du perçage.

 

Abstract:

"Poking" is the term used in Northwest Alaska for piercing the skin for medical purposes with a specialized tool, called a "poke". Six pokes used by contemporary Eskimo medical practitioners are described and illustrated. Five cases of poking which were observed in Northwest Alaska in 1981 are presented. Eskimo medical theory relating to poking is discussed including the position of poking in the hierarchy of cures, the specific problems which are considered treatable by poking, the concept of "bad blood" as a cause of illness, and the concept of "worms" as a cause of disease and a component of curing. Finally, the origins of poking are considered.