Encyclopedia Article


Another word for the practice of witchcraft, magic, or the manipulation of supernatural powers, especially with the intent of influencing the behavior of others. Sorcery tends to have a negative connotation when used in the context of Native American traditions, as does witchcraft, although neither is necessarily always associated with dark, hurtful, or negative work.

In Tony Hillerman's 1973 Navajo detective novel DANCE HALL OF THE DEAD, he references a Zuni "Sorcery Fraternity," but it seems that this may be an oblique reference to the Zuni Bow Chiefs, who don't really comprise a "fraternity," but who became responsible for policing the alleged use of sorcery after their war duties evaporated as a result of European settlement.

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