Memoir reveals author’s experiences among the Navajo people
Erica M. Elliott, M.D., returns to the publishing stage with the release of “Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert” (published by Balboa Press), a memoir charting her life-changing experiences with the people, animals, and spirits on the Navajo reservation.
When asked what she aims for readers to take away from the book, Elliott says, “I would like my readers to believe that they too can overcome seemingly impossible barriers of understanding people and cultures different from them. I hope that, through my writing, they can experience the exhilaration that comes from opening the heart to the ‘other.’ I also hope to educate readers about the Navajo way of life, without revealing sensitive information about sacred ceremonies.”
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The book follows Elliott as a young Anglo schoolteacher, who came to the Navajo reservation in 1971, knowing nothing about her students or their culture. After making a series of cultural blunders, she attempted to overcome the language and cultural barriers, along with her own misconceptions and misunderstandings. Once she learns to speak the Navajo language, she witnessed life-changing experiences with the people, animals, and spirits in and around the Canyon de Chelly. Elliott returns years later to serve the Navajo people as a medical doctor.
In “Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert,” Elliott not only opens up a world foreign to many but also brings to light the continued prejudice experienced by Native Americans. “This book is about bridging the cultural divide through efforts to understand and see the world through the eyes of other people — the people who were here first,” she explains.
Erica Elliott is a medical doctor with a busy private practice in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A true adventurer, she has lived and worked around the world. She served as a teacher for indigenous children on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and in the mountains of Ecuador. She taught rock climbing and mountaineering for Outward Bound and led an all-women’s expedition to the top of Denali in Alaska. In 1993, Elliott helped found The Commons, a cohousing community in Santa Fe. She raised her son Barrett in this safe and happy environment. Known as the “Health Detective,” she treats mysterious and difficult-to-diagnose illnesses at her clinic within The Commons. Elliott is also a public speaker and has given workshops at various venues, including Esalen and Omega Institute. She is co-author of “Prescriptions for a Healthy House” with Paula Baker-Laporte, and author of “Nucunchimunda.”
“Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert: My Life Among the Navajo People”
By Erica M. Elliott, M.D.
Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.5in | 202 pages | ISBN 9781982220976
Softcover | 5.5 x 8.5in | 202 pages | ISBN 9781982220983
E-Book | 202 pages | ISBN 9781982221058
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble