‘Medicine Man’ Gets Unhealthy Reception

Hansen’s Natural Corp. has just released a new line of drinks called Medicine Man, but Hansen is finding that some Native American already feel the line is bad medicine. Mark Hall, senior vice president for the Corona, Calif. company, says Hansen’s has met with tribal leaders and asked them to provide artwork and to allow the beverage company to use its official seals on the bottle.

However, of the 10 original tribes Hansen’s contacted, six dropped out, many because they reportedly didn’t like the name Medicine Man. Now, some of those whose images are depicted on bottles also disapprove. “It’s marketing at its worst,” says Mike Miller, a spokesperson for the Cherokee nation, which has undergone a change in leadership since the agreement was signed. “The ‘medicine man’ concept is something that no one in the Cherokee nation should ever market.”

The drink, which Hansen’s says is made from original recipes provided by the tribes, comes in four flavors: Comanche Bitter Root, Cherokee Cloud Berry, Zuni High Desert Melon and Shoshone Prickly Pear Nectar, with each of the four tribes getting a percentage of the sales.