University of New Mexico Taos and Native Roots are teaming up to offer and accredited Spring Semester class!

Ancestral, Folk, & Indigenous

Herbalism and Healing

January-May Fridays 12-2:30

Must register through UNM Taos. Students at Taos High School also have opportunity to register for this course through UNM Taos.

Several different people of the medicine traditions will be coming in to teach. This is a collaboration that will incorporate many cultures and healing modalities of those cultures.


Teacher Descriptions & Topics:

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Henrietta Gomez

Topic: Food as Medicine

Henrietta is from Taos Pueblo and guides the Taos Pueblo Gardening club for youth.  Her family grows corn and she sells cornmeal and tamales.  She is a much respected elder in the community and we are fortunate to have her share time and fun with the youth for a day.


Howard Badhand

Topic: Healing in the Lakota Tradition with song, dance & herbs

Lakota Herbs Covered: Bear Medicine (Osha Root), Elk Medicine (Sweet Sicily), Sweetgrass, Sage, Cedar

Lakota Songs for Healing, Permission & Prayer

You can listen to him sing and talk at the sites below:

Howard Badhand is a Lakota Sundance Chief, Intuitive healer, medicine man, 4th generation singer, and author of the book Native American Healing A Lakota Tradition.

"I am a fourth generation singer in my family, and have been that all of my life. I am a lover and not a warrior.

I have been a singer, a composer of sun dance songs, an announcer, a ritualist, healer and intercessor at many different sun dances since 1977. I have seen its revival and its evolution since 1966. I recently had a vision in which all of the medicine people I have encountered in my life were in an Inipi with me and they all told me to finish this dance. What this meant to me was that we must begin and finish this part of the sun dance which is to bring people to peace. The revival of the sun dance was meant to wake the Lakota people up to the path of peace by the humiliation of the warrior's ego. It seems we have done enough of that now, and it is time to do the other part of the dance which is to bring peace. That is the reason, with Ervin Keeswood's blessing and honoring of me, we are beginning and we will finish the High Star Sun Eagle International Sun Dance For Peace."

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 Lucy McCall

Topic: Medicine Making, Herbalism, Druidic and Celtic Traditions

Lucy started to study astrology and herbalism as a teenager from her aunt.  Lucy has been an ongoing student and teacher of medicinal plants and has been teaching 40 of those years; the last 10 at the University of New Mexico. She grows and wild harvests herbs, writes about herbs, paints herbs and has made more than 200 formulas.  Her herbal formulas have been in stores across the land and also at Taos Farmers Market before the world got strange about herbs.   She has come to the herbs mainly through the European version and has learned some of other Traditions along the way. Lucy has led and organized many Pagan holidays for the Taos Community.

Emigdio Ballon

Topics: Growing Medicinal Foods, Quechua Traditions of the Andes

*Pachamama (Earth) blessings

*Permaculture: Drought Resistant Crops and tricks for growing during drought years Identifying Obstacles and Challenges, Seed Collection,

Emigdio Ballon is Quechua, from Bolivia, a decendent of the Inca people. He employs traditional Quechua techniques and rituals when he works with food and herbs as medicine.  He is the director of the Institute of Natural and Traditional Knowledge and the Agricultural Director of the Pueblo of Tesuque, and Board President of Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute.

He earned his Bachelors degree in agriculture at Major Bolivian University of Saint Simon in Cochabamba, Bolivia and his Masters degree in plant genetics in Colombia. He studied for his Doctorate at Colorado State University. As a plant geneticist he has specialized in research on quinoa and amaranth grains and has published many articles about them in both South and North America.

Emigdio has served as an organic certification inspector in the United States and has made many presentations at major conferences on agriculture. He has studied principles of bio-dynamic farming at the Josephine Porter Institute of Applied Bio-Dynamics and continues to study and make presentations at various seminars.

In his little free time, Emigdio pursues research into germination techniques for a wide variety of crops, including traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic herbs and herbs indigenous to Northern New Mexico. His other interests include seed saving and sharing, bio-dynamic and organic farming and sustainable agricultural practices. He is also involved with Native American organizations which stress the importance of seed saving and promote the revival and continuation of traditional crops, both nutritional and medicinal. He employs traditional Quechua techniques and rituals which he learned at his grandfather’s side as a boy in Bolivia.

 Tonita Gonzales

Topic: Finding Joy in the midst of grief

Herbs and other techniques to release and process grief.  

Curanderismo, Meso American Medicine and Ceremony, Laugh therapy, medicinal plants and foods for ailments of the body

Tonita Gonzales 

Traditional Healer, Curandera, Sobadora, Yerbera, Temazcalera

Tonita received her Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics, and Bachelors of Arts in Graphic Design from The American University in Washington DC. She recently completed her studies of Traditional Medicine at the University of Mexico, Morelos, at Centro de Desarollo Humano Hacia La Comunidad. She completed her diplomados (diplomas) in Acupuncture, Medicinal Plants, Massage (Sobadas), and Temazcal (Mexica sweatlodge),. In addition, Tonita worked side-by-side with several different Curanderos through-out Mexico. She was honored to be asked to be an apprentice with Rita Navarrete Perez. Tonita worked in Rita’s Clinic and Temazcal in Mexico City, and School/Clinic in Jilotepec Mexico, which focuses on women survivors of Domestic Violence. She continues to work with Rita, and is grateful to have such an amazing Maestra (teacher) in her life.

Tonita is a resident of Albuquerque’s North Valley, and attended Valley High School. Her family is from Gonzales Ranch, NM, south of Las Vegas NM. She attributes her curiosity about plants and alternative medicine to her mother. Her mother used medicinal plants to heal different ailments. Tonita always had an inquisitive mind, and wanted to know how things worked. In 1994, when she began to have assorted illnesses and varied diagnosis, she wanted scientific answers, and turned to allopathic medicine. However, it was only with traditional medicine that she was able to heal. She learned through life experiences that true healing comes from being balanced Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, and Spiritually. This is why she feels she is finally listening to her soul and practicing Traditional Medicine. Her goal is to teach others to heal themselves. She understands that everyone needs to be accountable for their own healing and happiness. People simply need guidance, confidence, awareness and the tools to meet their goals. Her main goal is to work with the community providing treatments, and classes on traditional healing. Although she is inspired by different aspects of traditional medicine, her true passion is for the Temazcal She believes the root of all imbalances start with emotions, and with the Temazcal you can begin to heal your emotions.

Tonita recognizes that her road to healing began by first healing herself, and now is committed to teaching others. The path of a Traditional Healer is a life long journey, one she wholeheartedly embraces. She excitingly looks forward to future learning and continued growth.

Ana Chavez

Topic: Rock & Stones for the Body Navigating Ancestral Intuition

Ana Chavez is a New Mexican Sobadora (native hands on bodyworker). She recognized at an early age that she was a conduit for healing energy and learned the healing traditions from both of her grandmothers. Focusing that energy, Ana investigated traditional forms of healing, studied modern massage, anatomy, and physiology, and received training in polarity therapy, shiatsu, and other healing modalities.

She is skilled in working with people with disabilities and chronic conditions. Ana is also a personal trainer and she teaches Aqua Pilates and yoga.Lucy McCall

Started to study astrology at 16 years of age and herbs at 17 years of age she had an aunt that taught her a lot of the stars.  Various other people on the herb path that she met taught her, so almost 50 years of study have been teaching 40 of those years and the last 10 at UNM. She grows herbs,  writes about herbs, paints herbs and has made about 200 formulas.  They have been in stores across the land before the world got strange about herbs.   She has come to the herbs mainly through the European version and has learned some of other Traditions along the way.

Morgaine Witriol

Topic: Jewish Herbalism and Medicine, Reconnecting one’s own Ancestral Traditions as a culturally displaced person.

Morgaine is a lover of medicinal plants and nature. She is a medicine maker, a farmer, a wild crafter, and the founder of Native Roots. Morgaine has a private practice doing bodywork, sound healing, and physical and emotional trauma release. She lived in Belize and had the opportunity to apprentice tropical medicine with one of the most revered medicine men in the country the late Don Heriberto Cocom for 8 months. She also studied at the Northwest School for Botanical Studies, The Dandelion Center, California School for Herbal Studies, The Dhyanna Center, Blue Otter School, Acutonics Institute for Integrative Medicine, and continues to study with Don Reginaldo Chayax Mayan medicine man in Guatemala. She collaborates with his Nonprofit Association to support the protection of the a fully Mayan run rainforest Reserve Bio Itza and brings groups of students to study with him. Morgaine has recognized the importance of honoring healing modalities of all cultures and especially the ones of our own tradition even if they have been forgotten by a few generations. She grew up with Latino Immigrants as her closest friends and community and found herself easily honoring the elders that still remembered their own language, their own healing modalities and traditions from that community. It was a journey of many years before she started to look deeper into reclaiming the healing practices of the ancestral traditions that she came from and hopes to share with all people of European decent to remember to honor their own ancestors, to connect to the land and the people that are currently practicing and keeping the context of European tribal healing traditions alive today. She hopes to create a safe space to bridge the gap generational knowledge and cultural similarities and healing tools to encourage self healing and community healing.

Karen Miranda

Topics: Andean energetic movements, guided Andean style meditation, connecting to plant allies through art 

The Andean energetic movements are based on the fact that life is equilibrium and harmony, we are luminary beings in an embodied experience.  The Andean movements were created to awaken the spiral of infinite consciousness through guided and intuitive resonances, some examples movements to the Tawantin (Ecuadorian Quichua) the union of the four directions and the four elements, the union to the center (K’intu), Killa (the moon), the snake, the jaguar, the eagle, and sun and the earth. The core practice of the guided meditation is to develop introspection, and inner journeying, the core practice of the movements is to blossom the sun within and its energetic points (punjos) and through these awaken fields, develop a deeper relation with ourselves, mother earth, the spiral of life and the luminaries.  We will do an Amazonian practice called mapping the inner garden which utilizes visualization and then drawing/painting of herbs, plants, and crystals from that garden to be used as yantras, or healing paintings to keep in their altars or homes.

Karen Miranda Rivadeneira, is an artist, a visionaire, a yachaj path walker. She was born in NYC and raised in the pacific south and the Andes in a beautiful land known as Ecuador.  Through her artistic and spiritual pursuits she has weaved a unique journey. She is the recipient of many photo awards, and has been invited to do talks on photography regularly across continents.

In another side of her life, she has lived on and off with a healer in the Ecuadorian amazon for over a decade. There she had her first initiation to shamanism, where she learned about plant medicine, drum ceremony, tobacco readings, limpias, dances, vision and childbirths. Concurrently, she apprenticed in the Andes with a healer (yachaj) who taught her many secrets or awakened the original knowledge; from listening with your inner ear, reading the candle, cleansing the body/soul with smoke, fire dancing, fire cleansing, energy healing, to walking between light and night with joy and reverence.  Karen also apprenticed with an Incan priest who taught her the ancient practice of Andean energetic movements and eagle medicine. ltimately, her goal is to share how to journey within and awaken the power, wisdom and creativity that by birth and light is a gift given to all of us.  Karen lives between Santa Fe and Taos, NM.

Topic: Appropriation vs. Appreciation, How Ritual and Ceremony can be defined, Psycho-Social Functions of Rituals, RAICES model for integration of Western and Indigenous/Ancestral healing practices

Thomas Anthony Chávez, PhD grew up in the beautiful Española Valley of Northern New Mexico with extended family from the Chimayo and Vallecitos communities. He received his BA in psychology and MA in counselor education at the University of New Mexico, completing his PhD in counseling psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently, he is a faculty member in the Counselor Education program at the University of New Mexico. He teaches masters and doctoral level coursework in Multiculturalism in the Helping Professions, Child and Adolescent Counseling, School Counseling, Professional Orientation and Ethics, and Group Counseling. His scholarly work focuses on Latino issues addressing youth and family wellness, identity, mental health among undocumented/immigrant populations, culturally-responsive intervention, and integration of traditional modes of healing (Curanderismo of Mexico and the U.S. Southwest). 

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