THE MENTAWAI DOCTOR, SIKEREI
Possessing an incomparable knowledge of the plant and animal life surrounding, the Mentawai Shaman, the Sikerei, preserve a great understanding of how almost every species found there can, or can’t, be utilized in support of their existence; which, when residing on the island of Siberut, one of the world’s richest biodiversity hotspots, this is, for lack of a better term, rather mind-blowing.
One particular use for the various species of plant, and an important one at that, relates to its medicinal values; which, combined by a profound knowledge held by Sikerei – the skill to concoct a range of disease-specific natural medicines, which have been shared through Mentawai generations for thousands of years gone, has, and is, together with their role as Sikerei, proving vital in the healing and surviving of their people.
As it goes, the general practice for when a member of society falls ill is they’ll hastily summon the service of Sikerei/s, who’ll then prepare the natural medicines, treat and, subsequently, heal.
As with the many other events entwined within the cultural practice of Mentawai life, this shall be performed through traditional ceremony.