The popular summer course, “Traditional Medicine without Borders: Curanderismo in the Southwest and Mexico,” takes place at the University of New Mexico from July 16–27. Dr. Eliseo “Cheo” Torres, UNM vice president for Student Affairs and professor of Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies hosts the course in conjunction with the UNM Women’s Resource Center.
This summer class, now in its 12th year, is an opportunity for Mexican traditional healers to share knowledge about curanderismo, the art and science of Mexican folk healing, with students and members of the public.
Torres takes an integrative approach to medicine and his class features demonstrations incorporating curanderismo with various traditional and holistic health techniques. The course uses healers and health practitioners from UNM, Mexico and the Albuquerque community as instructors.
“Each year the class has grown in popularity. We consistently have more than 100 students and this year, I’m again expecting local, national and international students,” Torres said. “Unique about this class is that local curanderos — practitioners and healers — all come together to share and learn about traditional healing methods. The first week local curanderos will be involved, while both Mexican curanderos and local curanderos will take part in week two,” he added.
In conjunction with the class, the UNM Women’s Resource Center and the National Hispanic Cultural Center sponsor and host two Mexican Traditional health fairs (Ferias de Salud) and free workshops; as well as a performance, “Santa de Cabora” about “Teresita,” a legendary curandera.
The health fairs and workshops are set for Tuesday, July 24 from noon to 4 p.m. on the UNM campus; and on Thursday, July 26 from 4 to 9 p.m. at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. The fairs feature more than 30 well-known Mexican folk healers/curanderos(as) from the México City area, including the communities of Cuernavaca, Tepoztlán, Amatlán and Oaxaca.
“The healers will discuss traditional healing therapies including herbal medications, spiritual energy cleansings and other healing techniques, which have remained a part of the Mexican culture for centuries. Treatments will be available and donations accepted,” Torres said.
Elena Diaz Bjorkquist performs “Santa de Cabora” on Thursday, July 19 at 7 p.m. at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in the Roy E. Disney Room. Bjorkquist is a writer, historian and artist from Tucson who authored two books, “Suffer Smoke,” and “Water from the Moon.” Opening performances that night include the music of Elena Klaver, a singer-songwriter whose songs reflect her work for peace, justice and environmental issues; as well as a “healing through laughter” demonstration by renowned curanderas, Rita Navarrete Perez and Tonita Gonzales. A $10 suggested donation will benefit the UNM Women’s Resource Center and the curanderismo class.
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