Coming Full Circle


Coming Full Circle

Spirituality and Wellness among Native Communities in the Pacific Northwest

Suzanne Crawford O’Brien

480 pages
14 photographs, 4 illustrations


November 2016


$40.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

February 2020


$40.00 Add to Cart

November 2013


$90.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2013


$40.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Coming Full Circle is an interdisciplinary exploration of the relationships between spirituality and health among Coast Salish and Chinook communities in western Washington from 1805 to 2005. Suzanne Crawford O’Brien examines how these communities define what it means to be healthy and how recent tribal community–based health programs have applied this understanding to their missions and activities. She also explores how contemporary definitions, goals, and activities relating to health and healing are informed by Coast Salish history and also by indigenous spiritual views of the body. These views, she argues, are based on an understanding of the relationship between self, ecology, and community.
Coming Full Circle draws on a historical framework in reflecting on contemporary tribal health-care efforts and the ways in which they engage indigenous healing traditions alongside twenty-first-century biomedicine. The book makes a strong case for the current shift toward tribally controlled care, arguing that local, culturally distinct ways of healing and understanding illness must be a part of Native health care.
Combining in-depth archival research, extensive ethnographic participant-based field work, and skillful scholarship on theories of religion and embodiment, Crawford O’Brien offers an original and masterful analysis of Coast Salish and Chinook traditions and worldviews, and the intersection of religion and healing.

Author Bio

Suzanne Crawford O’Brien is a professor of religion and culture at Pacific Lutheran University. She is the author of Native American Religions and the editor of Religion and Healing in Native America: Pathways for Renewal.



"As scholars in history, anthropology, environmental studies, nursing, and biology, among others, continue to explore indigenous food restoration as a location of sovereignty and cultural reclamation, the case studies featured in Coming Full Circle provide important community examples. Crawford O’Brien’s collaboration with these communities highlights the significance of academic/Native community partnerships and results in accounts of poignant and meaningful health solutions."—Laurie Arnold, Western Historical Quarterly

"This is an important book."—Eric Anderson, Pacific Northwest Quarterly

"Coming Full Circle is a strong example of interdisciplinary, mixed-methods research. By analyzing the historical, religious, spiritual, economic, and cultural factors influencing tribal peoples' healing and spiritual traditions, Crawford O'Brien demonstrates the beauty and resilience of tribal communities and tribal cultural traditions."—Michelle M. Jacob, Oregon Historical Quarterly

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: The Case of Ellen Gray
Part One: Locations
1. Theoretical Orientation: Embodied Subjectivity and the Self in Motion
Part Two: Illness, Healing, and Missionization in Historical Context
2. “The Fact Is They Cannot Live”: Euroamerican Responses to Epidemic Disease
3. “Civilization Is Poison to the Indian”: Missionization, Authenticity, and the Myth of the Vanishing Indian
Part Three: Restoring the Spirit, Renewing Tradition
4. “A Good Christian Is a Good Medicine Man”: Changing Religious Landscapes from 1804 to 2005
5. Both Traditional and Contemporary: The South Puget Intertribal Women’s Wellness Program
6. Coming Full Circle: Defining Health and Wellness on the Shoalwater Bay Indian Reservation
Part Four: Person, Body, Place
7. “Rich in Relations”: Self, Kin, and Community
8. The Healthy Self: Embedded in Place
9. “A Power Makes You Sick”: Illness and Healing in Coast Salish and Chinook Traditions
Conclusion: The Case of Ellen Gray, Reconsidered

Also of Interest