Accepted Paper:

Ancient Feminine Knowledge, Practice and Artful Resistance in an Indigenous Community of the Huasteca Potosina of Eastern Mexico  
Claudia Rocha Valverde (El Colegio de San Luis)

Paper short abstract:

This paper reflects on how the indigenous women of Tamaletom, in the Huastecan region of Eastern Mexico, transmit and transform their pre-Hispanic ancestral knowledge via traditional artistic practices when their spiritual-natural environment is threatened.

Paper long abstract:

This paper reflects on the stories told by indigenous women of the community of Tamaletom in the Huastecan region of San Luis Potosí in Eastern Mexico discussing how their ancestral pre-Hispanic knowledge is transmitted through their artful practices of embroidery, traditional medicine and ancient "flying" rituals. These practices embody and transmit the concept of "Madre Tierra" Mother Earth, but must also respond to the radical transformation of their ecological and spiritual environment. The women discuss their apprenticeship-training and teaching of the arts of traditional medicine and midwifery, practices developed only when a woman knows she has received this "gift" and makes a dedicated commitment to heal people in her community. One woman shares her apprenticeship experience of embroidering traditional garments used in sacred ceremonies; Two other young women share their recent involvement in the dance of "El Volador." (the flying ritual) and the significance of participating in a practice that has always been designated only to men. The study and instruction of these diverse arts are passed from one generation to another via oral and visual tradition. These two generations of women discuss how to continue to transmit this ancient wisdom while confronting social and ecological factors rupturing and modifying their material practices and their very conceptions of Mother Earth.

Panel P070
Apprenticeship: Illuminating Persons and Places through Shared Practice and Performance