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Timeline / Citizenship, Services, and Sovereignty / 1940s: Fanny Flounder, Yurok healer, dies in California

1940s: Fanny Flounder, Yurok healer, dies in California

The Yurok shaman Fanny Flounder is celebrated for her ability to use a hollow bone to suck sickness out of a patient. Nearly 100 years old at her death, she was also an herbalist who depended on the woods near her northern California home for her knowledge of medicinal plants.

For many non-Indians, Flounder represented the stereotpyical “Vanishing Indian,” linked to an assumption that Native practices would eventually disappear, and that Native peoples would assimilate or cease to exist. Instead, American Indians continued traditional healing and religious practices but made them increasingly private, conducting them “underground.”

Medicine Ways

Yurok healer Fanny Flounder on the porch of her house in Requa, California

Courtesy Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology and the Regents of the University of California