chapter  9
14 Pages

“Life is Superior to Wealth?”: Indigenous Healers in an African Community, Amasiri, Nigeria

An examination of the conceptions of health and healing among the Amasiri offers an interesting basis for interacting with ambivalences surrounding definitions of knowledge and the concept of disease. Indigenous healing reveals a process in which the healer, client, and the social and cosmological order of the Amasiri interact to bring about meaningful, desired results of healing to individuals, groups, or community. The Amasiri clan has three autonomous communities which include Ezeke, Ndukwe, and Opi (which is an acronym for Ohaechara, Poperi, and Ihie). The villages that make up Amasiri clan are compact, with populations in the thousands (Oko 1993: 15). Although Amasiri villages belong to the matrilineal system (Ikwu nne), the organization of the villages and compounds is built up around patrilineal lineages (Umudi), thus every individual member of the clan belongs to a double descent. This family network plays a key role in the sustenance of the indigenous worldview and quest for holistic well-being.