Ever since I was a young child I loved hearing about or reading about other people’s adventurous memoirs. The vicar and his wife of my local church when I was a child (in the 1970s) were once missionaries in Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya – they used to tell me their stories and showed me photos of their life living amongst the local people. Their memories enthralled me and I was so thrilled to make my first trip to Kenya in 1990. I read ( and still do) stories, real life and make believe, about the jungles of Congo, the mighty Amazon, kidnapping in Colombia etc. I felt so privileged to be asked to join the book tour promoting the memoirs of a lady, Erica Elliott , who fits the adventurous mode to a T. Her book, “Medicine And Miracles in the High Desert”is definitely a book that grabbed my attention. I enjoyed the descriptive language describing the Navajo heartlands, I gasped at how she coped with some scenarios that would have left me petrified, I admired her resilience and determination to “fit” in with the Navajo people, I giggled at some of her escapades and unintentional faux pas moments, and I loved being privy to Erica’s memoirs. In a recent interview, Erica said “The book is timely, given all the divisiveness and racism in the world. And it’s especially timely given the drastic effects of the corona virus on the Navajo people”.
This is the true story of a young white woman, Erica Elliott, who comes to the Navajo Reservation in 1971 as a newly minted schoolteacher, knowing nothing about her students or their culture. After several blunders and misunderstandings, and beset by loneliness and despair, Erica makes a determined effort to overcome the barriers of language and culture. From the moment she begins learning the Navajo language, the people open their hearts and homes to her, inviting her into a world that will profoundly impact the rest of her life.
Erica falls in love with her Navajo students—along with their enchanting land, healing ceremonies, and rich traditions. She witnesses many miracles during this time, and experiences her own miracle when the elders pray for her healing. She survives fearsome encounters with a mountain lion and a shapeshifting “skin walker.” She learns how to herd and butcher sheep, make fry bread, weave traditional rugs, and more.
Erica returns years later to serve the Navajo people as a medical doctor in an under-funded and under-staffed clinic, where she treats myriad ailments, delivers countless babies, and performs emergency procedures. When a medicine man offers to thank her with a ceremony, more miracles unfold.
Print Length: 202 Pages
Publisher: Babloa Press
Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert is now available to purchase in print and as an e-book at Amazon.com, IndieBound.org, and Barnes and Noble. Add it to your GoodReads reading listing as well.
About the Author Erica Elliott, M.D.
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.
In 1976, she was one of the first American women to climb Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the western hemisphere. She taught rock climbing and mountaineering for Outward Bound and, after her first year of medical school, she led an all-women’s expedition to the top of Denali in Alaska.
In 1993, Erica helped found The Commons, a cohousing community in Santa Fe where she continues to live. She gave a TEDx talk about living in cohousing. Referred to affectionately as “the Health Detective,” she treats patients who come to her from all parts of the country with mysterious and difficult-to-diagnose illnesses. Erica is a frequent radio guest and has given workshops at various venues, including Esalen and Omega Institute.
Find her online at:
Author website: https://www.medicineandmiraclesinthehighdesert.com/
Professional website: http://www.ericaelliottmd.com/
Blog site: https://www.musingsmemoirandmedicine.com/
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Erica Elliott. My thanks to Nicole Pyles for the copy of “Medicine And Miracles In The High Desert” and for inviting me onto the #MedicineAndMiracles Book Tour. It has been a blast.