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White Tail Deer Woman

White Tail Deer Woman

The inspiration for this figure came from a solitary doe on the Tohono O’Odham reservation. I spied her in the distance when I stepped from a tipi after a long, sleepless night of ceremony. She was standing half-in, half-out of shadows; I moved and she leapt away. The horns indicate that White Tail Deer Woman is a medicine woman and a healing figure.

The O’Odham have a complex relationship to animals. It is their belief that illness is often the result of inappropriate contact with animals, or a wrong relationship with them. The healing process often involves songs to the animals or birds who are causing the illness -- usually by someone gifted with medicine songs particular to that creature. “Deer medicine” is women’s medicine among many tribal traditions.

Oil sketch on canvas paper, 13 x 18.

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