Women as Patients and Healers in the Writings of Johan Turi

Thomas A. DuBois (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Sámi writer Johan Turi’s writings from 1908-24 provide evidence for both the existence and the perception of female healers among Sámi people at the outset of the twentieth century. Women healers are said to be recognized and valued for their skills, which frequently include magical procedures. Yet they are also strongly distinguished from male healers, and their effectiveness is sometimes doubted. A careful reading of Turi’s accounts in reference to both women healers and patients provides insights into the roles of women healers in Sápmi before the widespread availability of Western healing and the concomitant suppression of traditional healing practices.

Part of 05-10 Health, Magic, and Gendered Power in pre-Modern Scandinavia and Russia, Friday, November 03, 10:30 am–12:30 pm