Medicine people live and practice a way of life very different from others. Each doing medicine things differently and have there own specialties. In general there is a universal way to interact with a medicine man. Tobacco is given as an acknowledgement of who you’re working with (Red Elk prefers Pall Mall No Filter). Also, a medicine man smokes and or prays with the tobacco. This is done to make a decision on whether to take on your problem or answer your question. And yes, sometimes the answer is “no”. A donation is given equal to the problem or question. Some medicine people have a standard fee i.e. 100 dollars. Red Elk is an Inner Heyokha medicine man and does not have a standard fee. A person is required to pray and connect with Dad (GOD) to determine the amount to be donated. This is practiced so everyone in the tribe has the same access to spiritual and medical care (rich or poor). This is observed every time a person interacts with medicine people asking for a healing or question.
A medicine man/woman will use the years of learning and experience along with time and energy to help solve the problem. The donation is an exchange in energy. His/her time and energy to help solve your problem in exchange for your donation. In this case, there is no difference between a buffalo hide and dollars, both provide a way to exchange energy. After all, we are all family.
PS: This might be a good time to share the story of the original 13 Inner Heyokha and why where is only 12 now.