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Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert: My Life Among the Navajo People

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  130 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Paperback, 202 pages
Published February 18th 2019 by Balboa Press
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Average rating 4.53  · 
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Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
The book club ladies in SF chose this book I think because someone knows the author, a doctor who lived at The Commons where one of my Writer Gal pals also lives. She is credited for editing the book (which is well edited, of course.) I was skeptical about this white woman's take on Navajo people and culture, but I was happily wrong about her exploitation or light review of them. She lived in Chinle, AZ, for two years as a first-time teacher in her early 20s and she actually learned to speak Din ...more
Dec 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Out of college, the author taught at a government boarding school on a Navaho reservation in Arizona, little expecting how it would change her life. She socialized with her students' families, learned the Navaho language and took part in their lives and ceremonies to some degree. She then went on to get a medical degree and eventually found herself back on a Navaho reservation in New Mexico. Incidents in the book reminded me how many things there are that Western culture doesn't understand or ev ...more
Katie Bruell
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mpl-kindle
I loved reading this! I've always been fascinated with Canyon de Chelly, and I'm so jealous of the time the author spent there. I'm also incredibly impressed with how she has lived her life--her courage, her thoughtfulness, and her willingness to try so many different ways of living. I'm looking forward to the upcoming three volumes! ...more
Karen Mills
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A good taste of Navajo culture and life through her eyes.
Reader Views
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Araceli Noriega for Reader Views (2/2020)

In her memoir, “Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert: My Life Among the Navajo People,” Dr. Erica Elliott takes readers to a place where most non-indigenous readers have never been. She invites readers to join her on an apprentice’s journey to Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico in the 1970s & ‘80s. As a young woman learning about her limits and strengths, Dr. Elliott’s journey teaches readers about the value of developing a strong wor
JoEllen Shannon
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Letting the Spirit lead

I loved the journey portrayed by Dr. Elliott! Her intuition led her with a listening heart through every opportunity she encountered. She allowed the isolation of walking with a new culture of brothers and sisters to wake her to new skills, gifts and miracles in herself and to awesome relationships of love and deep connection. She always allowed herself to become one with those she served, becoming more like them , being enriched and enhanced by the blessing. A unique spir
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
The first of a 4-series memoir, Erica presents her journey as a young woman wanting to engage with life, though not certain of her purpose. She takes us back in time to the 60's when she accepted a teaching position on the Navajo Reservation near Canyon de Chelly. Though not always perfect, Erica found many perfect moments that drew her to fall in love with the People and the canyon.

At first, the cultural shock and divide was too much. She had a deep belief that all humans were the same, and adm
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
(Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.)

My 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, b
Sally Abbott
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Erica Elliott’s memoir of her life among the Navajo, first as a teacher at a boarding school on an Arizona reservation, and later as a doctor at a remote clinic in New Mexico, makes for inspiring and page-turning reading. Elliott has a first rate command of storytelling and is herself in many ways a larger than life character.

Initially flummoxed by the apathy and resistance of her students, she sees them come alive when she starts to learn their language, one notoriously difficult to master. Use
Ashley Hubbard
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are, of course, my own. My full review:

***4.5 stars***

I’m always skeptical with books (or anything) like this – where it’s telling a story about something BIPOC related but from a white person’s perspective. But, the description of the book was enough for me to give it a chance. And, I’m pleased to say I was wrong in my skepticism – for this book,
Kathleen Pooler
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have always been fascinated by Native American culture and Erica Elliot’s memoir Medicine and Miracles does not disappoint. The author writes in such graphic detail with honest reflections that I felt I was right there with her through all her experiences—both the lows of her initial qualms and the highs of her evolving cultural immersion. and transformation.
The story starts out in the present as Erica returns as an Emergency physician and on her first day there ends up as the only doctor in a
Crystal Otto
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am so glad to have read Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert - thank you to Erica Elliot for her poetic and honest writing style. She drew my right into this beautiful tale. I consider myself blessed to have been able to travel back in time to the high desert. She did a fabulous job of helping me know and love the people she met along her journey as well as creating photographs through her vibrant descriptions. Not that her characters weren't amazing, but it was her horse, Jimmy, who broug ...more
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely memoir telling the stories of Dr. Elliotts early adult life. She tells about her time living in the Navajo Nation, where she immersed herself in the culture, traditions, and grew to love the people and scenery. Her experience as a school teacher on the reservation was the first step in guiding the rest of her life. Her experiences paint a picture of what living on the reservation is really like, and allows you to understand the culture and spirituality of the people who inhabit ...more
Eduardo Santiago
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
We hear a lot about Grit these days; here's a book person who exemplifies it. Elliott had—and took advantage of—opportunities that none of us will ever have: teaching to (and learning from!) two isolated cultures, sheepherding in the remote cellphoneless 1970s southwest, avoiding burnout despite years in a grueling emergency-medicine environment. She kept good notes, and we're fortunate that she chooses to share them.

This memoir is especially beautiful in the post-2016 U.S. atmosphere of intoler
C. Summers
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in one sitting. I absolutely could not put it down. I learned so much about not only the hardships of the people living on the reservation, but also about the beauty of the culture and the grace at which Dr. Elliott was accepted when she showed an interest and a desire to learn more. It was a beautiful read and I highly recommend it to others. Without revealing too much I will just say that the mountain lion interaction had me holding my breath on the edge of my seat. Wonderful ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was one of those books that I couldn't stop reading. The author brings us right into her world as she navigates life in the most unconventional of ways. As a young woman living with the Navajo people, Erica Elliott follows a path of heart and surprising instinct, she lives wildly and with absolute conviction in the harsh conditions of the Navajo Arizona desert. Erica is a relentless soul and her story has to be read to be believed. ...more
Linda Brunner
Feb 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Adventures of such a simple yet amazing kind told with such clarity and humility that it made me wonder how someone so brave and adventuresome could be so unconsciously humble in telling their incredible story.

Tragic that many of those isolated and beautiful places and Traditional peoples that she grew to love have been so altered by time, many now gone or irrevocably changed by "progress."

Such a life well and fully lived. I signed on to her blog.
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Medicine and Miracles in the High Desert was a great read. I want to thank GoodReads for the chance to enjoy this book.

I was intrigued by the thought of immersing yourself into another society and conforming to the beliefs and totally understanding others. Well written and informative, as well. Would recommend to everyone who wants to learn about the way others live.
nancy rulton
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! The author is my new hero. I really highly recommend the book. I have told my family and friends about it. I listened to the audio version because Dr Elliott narrates it and it makes it like she is there telling you the stories of her fascinating life v
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this in two long sittings. I recently moved to Santa Fe and am trying to learn as much as I can about the native arts and culture. Can't wait to read the next book in Ms. Elliott's memoir series! ...more
Debara Zeller
Dec 06, 2019 rated it liked it
I rate this 3.5 stars. A very interesting memoir by a truly remarkable woman.
Kim Davis
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Erica is inspiring and her stories chilling and incredible! She has had such a wealth of experience and she says this is only the first of four memoirs. I'll be eagerly awaiting books 2-4! ...more
Victoria Murata
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved reading about Erica's early teaching with Navajo students and her embracing of their culture. Her experiences came to life because of her passion for the people and her willingness to accept beliefs far from what she grew up with. Her Peace Corps experience in Ecuador, and then her later work as a doctor in Cuba, NM are at times funny, at times poignant and always honest. Thanks, Erica, for a wonderful memoir. I'm looking forward to the next one! ...more
lynn stilley
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Not only is this book riveting, but now I want to sit down with the author over a cup of coffee and luxuriate in her company, openness and respect. A great story, a great woman.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-mexico
Coming of Age

A wonderful story of a most curious women facing life with intelligence and a great sense of humor overcoming personnel biases and coming to terms with her humanity.
Barry Garlitz
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nice Read!

Special meaning uncovered here. Like to read the other three books of this series. First book I have read from start to finish in quite awhile.

Gail Kaplan
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Jul 05, 2019
Patricia Routon
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