Medicine Woman


It’s all interconnected and Native people speak of it that way.
It’s the western world that needs to catch up.

-Dr. Lori Arviso Alvord

What does it take to heal a people? That’s the question at the heart of Medicine Woman, a new one-hour PBS documentary interweaving the lives of Native healers of today with that of the first Native American doctor. Born on the Nebraska frontier in 1865, Susan La Flesche Picotte studied medicine at a time when few women dared. She graduated first in her Philadelphia class and returned home to a shattered world. She spent the rest of her life working to help her people become whole again.


Susan La Flesche Picotte (Photo Credit: The Hampton University Museum and Archives)

Doctor Lucy Reifel with Casey


Like Doctor Susan, modern day medicine women are fighting a war, sharing a confident, even joyful approach to the work of healing. In Medicine Woman you’ll meet three remarkable women, from the Omaha, Lakota and Navajo tribes. Without fanfare, in their own communities, they perform small miracles that the world rarely sees.

How can they hope to mend the wounds of body and spirit that history has created? And what have they learned about new ways of healing that can help us all?

Producers are Christine Lesiak and Princella RedCorn (Omaha). Actress Irene Bedard (Inupiat/Metis) is the voice of Doctor Susan. Poet and musician Joy Harjo (Mvskoke) narrates the documentary.


Princella RedCorn
Listen to co-producer Princella RedCorn's interview with Invisible Nations about the Medicine Woman screening in Tulsa, OK.