scalp shooter

Encyclopedia Article


A ceremonial participant in the Enemyway whose job is to shoot the ritual “scalp” of the enemy that is causing illness in a patient. The Enemyway is a Navajo ceremony performed to cure people from illness caused by coming into contact with an "enemy," typically someone or an experience outside the Navajo culture and traditional lifeways. The symbolic scalp is collected during a ritualized warpath prior to the ceremony, brought to the place of healing without being touched, and kept out of sight until it is time to be destroyed by the scalp shooter, thereby eradicating the cause of the imbalance being suffered by the patient who is the focus of the healing ceremony.

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