I am honoured to be part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour for Dr. Erica Elliott’s memoir, Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert, which I read and am now reviewing.
(Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.)
Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert, a memoir by Dr. Erica Elliot, offers an exceptional look at the Navajo people and culture during the 70’s and 80’s.
From her two yeara as a teacher on a Navajo reserve to her time in the Peace Corps in Ecuador to her two years as a doctor in Cuba, New Mexico, Dr. Elliott gives us story after story about her many adventures.
Erica almost left after her first week of teaching, but her father encouraged her to stay at least 3 months. She immersed herself in the Navajo culture and learned the language, which made the native people open themselves to her. She became closer to her students and their families as she shared meals and ceremonies and other experiences. She was able to change teaching practices of the time to ensure a bilingual education for the children.
Erica had many harrowing experiences throughout both careers, but her love of the people, the land and the culture sustained her.
As she said:
“My experience among the Navajo people has influenced the rest of my life – including how I practice medicine.”
In the late 1970’s I too taught in a small native community, but in northern Canada. And it was showing respect for, and a desire to learn more about the culture of these people, that enriched my three years up north. It has stayed with me forty years later.
If only we all could experience another culture like this – immersed in the day to day lives of others – to see, understand and appreciate our similarities and differences. What a difference it would make in the world. Erica’s words during her travels through South America after leaving the Peace Corps sum up, I believe, what is possible if we open our eyes and hearts to others:
“I observed that I had a great interest in learning about people who were different from me. I tried to see the world through their eyes so I could understand their feelings and motivations and develop a connection with them.” (pg. 148)
This was an amazing memoir, full of warmth, adventure, honesty and one that allowed us to learn quite a bit about the Navajo culture. I so enjoyed reading it. It really did reaffirm what I learned from my years in the NWT – that it is connections that truly matter.
I highly recommend Dr. Erica Elliott memoir Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert.
A 5* read!
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/
–– Blog Tour Dates
July 13th @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Join us at the WOW blog to celebrate the launch of author Erica Elliott’s Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert. You can read an interview with the author and enter to win a copy of the book.
July 15th @ A Writer’s Life
Visit Caroline’s blog today and you can read her review of Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert.
July 17th @ CK Sorens’ Blog
Stop by Carrie’s blog and you can read her review of Erica Elliott’s Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert.
July 20th @ Memoir Revolution
Read Jerry Waxler’s essay “Losing Yourself to Find Yourself,” inspired by Erica Elliott’s memoir Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert.
July 22nd @ A Storybook World
Visit Deirdra’s blog today where she spotlights Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert.
July 26th @ Michelle Cornish’s Blog
Visit Michelle’s blog and you can read her review of Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert.
August 1st @ Deborah Zenha-Adams
Visit Deborah’s blog today and you can read her insights into Erica Elliott’s Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert.
August 3rd @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Visit Kathleen’s blog today and you can read her review of Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert.
August 4th @ Beverely A. Baird’s Blog
Visit Bev’s blog and you can read her review of Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert.
August 7th @ The New England Book Critic
Visit Victoria’s blog today and you can read her review of Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert.
August 7th @ Books, Beans, and Botany
Visit Ashley’s blog today and you can read a review of Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert.
August 8th @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion
Stop by Linda’s blog and read her review of Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert.
August 10th @ Fiona Ingram’s blog
Fiona will be featuring author Erica Elliott’s memoir Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert.
August 13th @ To Write or Not to Write
Visit Sreevarsha’s blog and read her review of Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert
August 14th @ Bookworm Blog
Visit Anjanette’s blog and read her review of Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert.
August 15th @ Strength 4 Spouses
Visit Wendi’s blog today and you can read her review of Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert.