There are many types of Shamans and only a small few are actually real Shamans. Whilst it is a "buzz" word at the moment, perhaps 0.1% are on an authentic shamanic path. Shamanism isn't mixed with a myriad of other cultures and its purpose is straight forward. Some titles and versions out there are simply ridiculous and insulting.
The power of a Shaman is unique, intense and many are not even enlightened to perform the role of a Shaman. It requires (as a starting point) complete enlightenment. This means having a balanced ego and alignment of self. Enlightenment is not the end goal, but rather the starting point to the work that follows. It also means not meditating eight hours a day away from life in the mountains, but rather having an active role in society, actually making a difference.
Many that try to fake this path, soon returning to work with ego, attempting to use what power they have drained from someone else, at the expense of that person(s). This buzz word will eventually see its end. Be aware, nine out of ten are wanna-bes and nothing else. Being a shaman is a birth right and not one that can be shamelessly taught. It is either your path or it is not. For most, it is not.
Yes, the Native American Indians had shamans, but these were not the first let alone the only ones. This is a perfect example where Wikipedia is wrong and completely illogical in the origins. Given that Wikipedia is based on opinion, this should not be surprise. The fact is, most really have no idea what this incredible and hugely responsible path entails.
A Shaman of ancient traditions is extremely rare and unheard of, because of what it requires to accept the responsibility that comes from such pure power. Shaman is a common term however, the actual journey definitely is not.
What is it to be a Shaman
Shamanism is the oldest divinatory practice in the world. It is the connection between the spiritual and physical world and all the ones in between. A shaman is someone who interacts directly with spirits (all existing energies) to address the spiritual aspects of illness, perform soul retrievals, divine information, creates balance, healing and the possible divine acts are unlimited as well as potent.
The shaman has a unique and special relationship with the universe and everything that is entailed within. This means communicating with all life force energies in a much deeper and intricate way - very different from the standard healer or spiritual worker.
A basic principle of shamanism is the belief that everything has a life force energy i.e. it is living. Shamans don’t dominate the earth and its creatures; they strive to live and work in harmony and balance. Most importantly, shamanic work makes a practical difference in this world. Their work brings about change. Their journey is undertaken with a specific purpose in mind.
The work of a shaman is not limited by time, space or dimension. The journey is constantly evolving and requires complete commitment. Not all shamans are all encompassing however, the Original Shaman, definitely is. Being the original this is a given.