• What did medicine men or medicine women do?
  • Their clients believed they had special powers given to them by the spirits to heal the sick, call animals to be hunted, foretell the future, assist in warfare, and help find lost property. Powers were obtained through dreams and visions. If a dream or vision directed one to become a medicine person, one was obligated to do so even if he/she didn't want to. Doctoring was one of the most important jobs, and usually involved the use of medicinal plants. Medicine people, often called "shaman," are still sought by traditional American Indians today to cure certain physical and psychological problems. Medicine men and women differed from priests, who presided over ceremonies. In the story, Little Basket's powers  focus mainly on seeing the future.
  • The warehouses at Casas Grandes held thousands of trade items. Why were these items valuable farther north? Which may have been the most valuable?
  •  Discuss the concept of supply and demand, luxury items vs. utilitarian items, etc. For example, a trader might trade a macaw and turquoise beads (luxury items) for a turkey feather blanket (utilitarian item) from a person of the Ancestral Puebloan. The blanket would, in turn, be traded to someone who lived in the cooler mountain climes (the feather blanket might be essential to keep warm in the winter. This would be a good time to mention that there are real mountains in Mexico).


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