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New Mexico grants historical recognition to curanderas’ role in state history

LatinaLista — If you’ve ever had your feverish body massaged by a raw egg in its shell chances are it was done by a curandera, or your abuelita who learned it from a curandera.
Curanderas, or the faith healers, of Mexican communities are well known for their homespun knowledge of folk remedies to fix what ails us — or to even cast spells on others. As such, there are two kinds of curanderas ( I was once told this by a viejita in a small Mexican village who was trying to sell me a rooster’s foot) — good and bad curanderas.

The first New Mexican state marker honoring the achievements of (a) native born woman(women) was in honor of Mother Magdalen and the Sisters of Loretto in Santa Fe. Until this marker was unveiled in December 2007, none of New Mexico’s 580 historic markers since 1936 had focused on a woman as its central subject.
(Text source: Las Cruces Sun-News)

In New Mexico, it’s only the good curanderas the state is honoring with its very own wooden historic marker. As part of its women’s initiative to honor the state’s women who contributed culturally, socially or artistically throughout the history of New Mexico, the marker honoring curanderas is a very public acknowledgement of an important (sometimes underground) role some women have played in the well-being of their local community.
And the state’s Cultural Properties Review Committee knows exactly where the marker should go — Mora County. According to historian Tom Chavez, a consultant to New Mexico’s Historic Women Marker Initiative Committee:

“It could have been for a number of different communities, but we picked Mora because it is very real and still active there. “It is an historical part of the fabric of that community and people in Mora County know who the local curandera is.”

So, the next time you’re in need of some serious curandismo to get rid of “el ojo,” trek on over to Mora County, New Mexico — just follow the historical marker!

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