Abstract

Despite the recent profusion of interest in Samson Occom, scholars have focused primarily on his religious writings and autobiography and, by extension, his relationship with the Congregational minister Eleazar Wheelock. By contrast, this article examines Occom's medical writing, particularly "Herbs & Roots," a manuscript herbal written in the 1750s, in the context both of Occom's Christian education and of Native American medical knowledge. "Herbs & Roots" represents connections among plants, bodies, maladies, and medical practitioners; it makes visible medical networks that endowed plants with healing power. Moreover, Occom used the herbal's pages to keep accounts and to draft letters; these extratextual elements illustrate how Occom began to establish his relationship to Native, Christian, and colonial worlds. Finally, the herbal offers an opportunity to consider Occom in an epistemological tradition of Mohegan medical practitioners and to reexamine the form of the list in relation to eighteenth-century natural history and to oral and written communication practices.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0895
Print ISSN
1543-4273
Pages
pp. 540-565
Launched on MUSE
2012-08-09
Open Access
No
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