An akoonah

An akoonah was a device used by some Native Americans in the 24th century to facilitate vision quests, taking the place of psychoactive herbs used by their ancestors. It was used by placing one's hand on the surface of the device and concentrating on an object important to the user.

Commander Chakotay's medicine bundle consisted of a blackbird's wing, a river stone bearing a CHAH-mooz-ee, and an akoonah. In 2371, he showed Captain Kathryn Janeway how to use the akoonah so that she could seek her animal guide. (VOY: "The Cloud")

In 2372, believing that Seska had impregnated herself with his DNA and given birth to their son, Chakotay used the akoonah to seek the spirit of his father, Kolopak, for guidance. His father advised him to embrace the child instead of denying and punishing it for the crimes of his mother. (VOY: "Basics, Part I")

Neelix asked Chakotay for the use of his akoonah in 2374, following a near-death experience after which he found himself in a deep existential and spiritual crisis, questioning his long held beliefs in the afterlife. (VOY: "Mortal Coil")

The Akoonah could also be used to induce lucid dreams. In 2374 Chakotay did just that, in an attempt to communicate with aliens that appeared in dreams. (VOY: "Waking Moments")

The device was not mentioned by name in the episode, but Chakotay mentioned his intention to use the same technology as for vision quests, and was then seen holding the device during the procedure.

In 2375, Chakotay used the akoonah to investigate the hallucinations he experienced after the USS Voyager became trapped in chaotic space. The vision quest allowed lifeforms native to chaotic space to communicate the means of freeing Voyager to him. (VOY: "The Fight")

The concept of the akoonah proved to be highly controversial, which thrilled Jeri Taylor. She considered neither the technology nor its uses to be supernatural. Of the device, she remarked, "It's been extremely controversial, which I love. I'm delighted to stir up controversy. We are positing that maybe American Indians in the twenty-fourth century have a technology that allows them to tap into their subconscious in a safe way so that they no longer have to take drugs, fast or go to sweat lodges. Consequently, they navigate their unconscious frequently and are very much more comfortable with it than most of us. I see nothing supernatural about that. This is a man going through his unconscious, tapping into whatever is inside him that can help him navigate through his life." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages)
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