American Indian Rock Stallings recalls the teachings of his elders and the lessons of Indian medicine which relied on natural plants and herbs.
Medicine Man Rocky Stallings Shares His Knowledge of Nature
JANE PAULEY, anchor:
On Cross Country this morning, Bob Dotson takes us to San Antonio, Texas to meet and Indian medicine man named Rocky, who says there’s more to the prairie than meets the eye.
BOB DOTSON, reporting:
The Plains Indians get a unique education. They learn to listen before they learn to talk. The Indians realize that in each generation there comes a time when the old feel compelled to pass on the wisdom that has built their lives. The time passes quickly and is gone. But if a child is ready, he will listen. And if he is wise, he’ll remember. Rocky Stallings remembers. Some say he knows more about early American Indian life than anyone in the country. Stallings grew up on the sun parched plains of west Texas. Part Cherokee, part Tonkawa, he lived among Indians of many tribes. And just as the young vistor of the day listens to him, he listened to the Indian elders. Listened and learned. Where most folks see weeds, Rocky was taught to find medicine. On a hill near his home in San Antonio, he has found 197 different kinds. Is there anything that would be available out here in your natural pharmacy for sinus headache, or something like that?
Mr. ROCKY STALLINGS: Yes. You can boil with us. This is grunsel.
Mr. STALLINGS: You use it for 2 or 3 different things. Allergies. It’s got a very good smell to it.
DOTSON: Does nature generally have an anecdote to almost any kind of problem?
Mr. STALLINGS: It does. And using natural plants and herbs, you don’t form an allergy to it, like you would with synthetic stuff.
DOTSON: Are some things too strong if you get it at the wrong time of the year?
Mr. STALLINGS: Yes. That’s why a little knowledge is very, very dangerous.
DOTSON: Rocky never advises anyone to treat themselves with his remedies. When he’s sick, he sees a doctor. Yet, doctors seek him. He is much requested as a speaker at medical schools and societies, for few people know more about the healing power of plants.
Mr. STALLINGS: This is pretty good mullet in here. We boil those to break up a fever. This is milkweed. You use that to take off warts and calluses.
DOTSON: Can you remember your first dealings with Indian medicine?
Mr. STALLINGS: Oh yes. It was a different type of milkweed than this. I had ringworm on my knee. Old guy broke it off and smeared it on there. Oh I smeared it on there. It felt good for just a minute and then do you ever seen anyone do a one-footed war dance?
DOTSON: You’ve always had a special feeling for the land.
Mr. STALLINGS: Our mother is the earth. We come from it. We will return to it. If it has life and grows, it has use.
DOTSON: Rocky Stallings. A man who learned to listen. A man who now keeps the secrets of his ancestors pharmacy. The land. For today, Bob Dotson, NBC News, San Antonio.
Native Americans have always been in touch with the Earth and its dynamics. Hunting and gathering are not simply activities done in order to make a living, they are a religion and a way of life. In the old days, the tribes and bands of the North American Plateau, including Blackfeet, the Ktunaxa (Kootenai), and Salish were dependent upon plants and animals for their livelihood.