Saapia Ghost Sickness

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Ghosts, in the monograph written by David Jones, are described by Sanapia, the Comanche medicine woman, as beings that “get jealous because [humans] are living and [they have] died” (Jones 66). The Comanche cultural connotation of ghosts is one that characterizes ghosts as either mischievous, or pernicious entities. Therefore, ghost sickness, as described by Jones, occurs when a ghost(s) comes into contact with a human being(s) and because of its malevolent/ jealous nature uses its supernatural ability to “[cause] contortions of the facial muscles and in some instances [paralyze the] hands and arms” (Jones 66). In essence, the ghost(s) harm the human being(s), and ghost sickness is the physical manifestation in the human being of that ghost-to-human interaction. It would be more accurate to say, that ghost sickness manifests itself in the human being after the human being has come into contact with the ghost and has failed to exert courage, or to, as detailed by Sanapia, “turn around and… show it [that they weren’t] afraid of it” (Jones 67). Here, it is important to note Jones’ description of the origins, resurgence, and current…show more content…
Sanapia’s position as the Eagle doctor in her community makes her the “symbol of the Comanche 's ability to withstand the attacks of the ghosts. She also serves as the necessary key to the psychological reintegration of marginal Comanches who have "employed" the ghost-sickness” (Jones 90). As the connection to Comanche tradition decreases in the younger generations, and Sanapia being only eagle doctor around with the ability to recognize and authenticate an individual’s ghost sickness claim/ experience, she is the only avenue through which individuals can continue their cultural participation, extricate themselves from the white man’s cultural tether, and silently extol their cultural
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