September 3, 2008

Honoring Healers

By Juan-Carlos Rodriguez Journal Staff Writer

Traditional healing methods such as herbal remedies, reiki, limpias and massage therapy will be available this Saturday, courtesy of the Kalpulli Izkalli Promotoras Tradicionales Project.

This year is the third in which the project is hosting the event, named in honor of a native Albuquerque healer, Doa Predicanda Perea.

Perea said Kalpulli Izkalli director Sylvia Ledesma, is one of many local healers who provide traditional healing methods to community members. Ledesma called her, the "Curandera de Duranes," in honor of the neighborhood Perea lives in.

"She really inspires us with her commitment to the community and to healing" Ledesma said. "We want to honor her."

Perea will be at Saturday's event, along with many other healers from around New Mexico.

Several elder healers will be honored as well, including Enriqueta Vasquez from San Cristobal near Taos, Virginia Newman from the Southeast Heights, Maclovia Zamora from Barelas, Juanita Herrera from the South Valley and Donne Audelia Lopez Gonzales from Ojito near Espaola.

Ledesma said the Kalpulli Izkalli has spent the past year focusing on spreading the knowledge of traditional healing methods with an apprenticeship program for young women.

"Bringing in young women has made a big difference," Ledesma said. "As promotoras tradicionales, we are lifelong learners. And we are learning from the young women at the same time we are empowering them."

The Kalpulli Izkalli is part of the Topahkal Health Collaborative, which is made up of distinct but complementary units - - the nonprofit Kalpulli Izkalli alternative healing center, funded primarily by grants and donations, Family Medical Access, a Western medicinebased family practice clinic that is fee-based and for- profit, and a third component, Ultrasound Access, which is run through the family practice clinic and provides the procedure for those who might not be able to afford it otherwise.

S at u rd ay 's event w i l l include a ceremonial blessing and Aztec dancing, healing opportunities, a children's tent, blood screenings and blood pressure tests as well as several lectures about topics such as:

Women's health and healing

Children's health and healing


Food as medicine

Environmental health

Irma G. Hernandez, the Kalpulli Izkalli's coordinator, said traditional healing methods are important to keep alive, particularly for new immigrants to the United States who have left behind a culture where those methods are both encouraged and celebrated.

"It's a really big relief for (immigrants) to come in, speak their own language and for an hour and a half, just make a human connection and be validated and listened to," Hernandez said. "It's very hard for people to see how their traditional systems are not reflected in this culture."

For more i n for mat ion about the Kalpulli Izkalli call 452- 9208 or visit its Web site at If you go

WHAT: Kalpulli Izkalli 3rd Annual Encuentro de Medicina Tradicional

WHEN: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHERE: Westside Community Center, 1250 Isleta SW

(c) 2008 Albuquerque Journal. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.