Presenter Bios

Alex Jackson

Alex Jackson photo

Alex is a Holistic Health Practitioner in Traditional Maya Medicine who cofounded Centered Spirit – Cultural & Holistic Center.  He is a graduate of the Massage Therapy Training Institute of Kansas City, MO, with a National Certification in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.  Alex is a certified practitioner in the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy.For over a decade, Alex’s primary focus in his practice has been on traditional ways to heal the body and spirit through the abdomen.  Proper balance in the core can resolve many physical ailments and emotional traumas.  Alex sees the abdomen as the doorway to achieve this balance or “Centered Spirit.”  Traditional Maya Medicine has been at the core of his work, often providing the missing link in healthcare for his patients.  Alex’s passion is to bring this ancient healing wisdom to our modern world.  Alex treats acute and chronic health conditions in women and men.  His treatments address menstrual/reproductive issues, digestive disorders, post-surgical scar tissue/adhesions, musculoskeletal pain and chronic anxiety/nervous system problems.

 Anselmo Torres

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Dr. Anselmo Torres Arizmendi has been involved with the Traditional Medicine without Borders class for more than 9 years. He will return again this year to present his dia de los muertos lecture. It has been a long journey from his home in Cuernavaca, Mexico to his first day at UNM in 1998 as a master’s degree student who spoke limited English. He was honored by the Senate of Argentina for his contributions to education and the economic development of Latin America. The Distincion Gubernador Enrique Tomas Crests is named for an enlightened public official in Argentina. 


Bernadette Torres

Bernadette Torres photo

Grandma Herbalist, Teacher, Health Facilitator, Director of Shabeta’s Healing Garden, began her journey with medicinal plants and healing as a child in the mountains of Taos, New Mexico where her father introduced her to her first healing plants. She worked in health food stores since 2004, learning the valuable connection between heath and food. Recognizing the nutritional value in many plants, she became passionate about learning all she could from many amazing herbalists, curanderos, and healers from all over the world. Every summer, she leads private and public medicinal Plant ID hikes for the Integrative Medicinal Students at UNM and others. In 2009, she began teaching at the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics, the only national recognized massage school that offers an herbal program.

Elisa Lucero and Kathy Vega

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Elisa Lucero and Katherine Vega are trained drum circle facilitators. Each has decades of experience sitting and participating in various kinds of community building circles and each has their own experience with finding medicine with the drum. Elisa Lucero came to drum medicine 26 years ago through the Lakota Sundance Ceremony.  She danced 12 years and has been given permission by her Sundance chiefs to share some songs with the people. Right before leaving New York City to come to New Mexico, Katherine Vega was introduced to the drum by one of her Elders.  For the past 14 years, she has been drawn to it to help her go within as part of her own healing journey.  With the drum we tap into the pulse that runs through us all. As we tap into the Universal pulse, we begin to connect with each other, our community and our Mother Earth. With the drum we all have a voice. Let’s come together in one heartbeat to celebrate our lives through music, song and prayer! In the drum we find healing, celebration and some of our most sacred moments. The medicine of the drum begins with your own heartbeat. Ancestors Drum has facilitated hundreds of drum circles with all populations ranging from severe Alzheimer’s patients to incarcerated youth.    

Laurencio López Núñez

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Maestro Laurencio (Lauro) López Núñez, a well-known curandero, botanist, author, and temazcalero has studied the medicinal qualities of plants for over 15 years. He has written a book on the medicinal qualities of plants. He is an employee of CECIPROC, a local non-governmental organization that has been working with underprivileged communities since 1992 to install ecologically friendly latrines that promote the overall health of the communities he serves. It is one of the first groups to support community gardens fertilized by composted human waste.  He is a master teacher in UNM’s Occupational Therapy summer course: Introduction to Mexican Traditional Medicine with Dr. Terry Crowe.  The course was designed through a partnership between CECIPROC- a non-government Oaxacan organization working in community health, Tierraventura - a small business offering unique eco-tourism and the University of New Mexico Occupational Therapy Graduate Program in the School of Medicine.

Manuel Terrazas

Manuel Terrazas photo

Born in the city of Delicias, Chihuahua, he married Maria Teresa Guevara in 1986 and has 5 children. Since his childhood, he has shown an interest in nature and what Mother Earth has to offer as he worked in agriculture alongside his father. He learned about the plants that grew around the environment he grow in, embracing their healing properties for any ailments that he and his family could think of. His interest in learning about medicinal plants helped him select his field of study. He studied at the University of Chihuahua and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Engineering with a concentration in Agronomy, which allowed him to continue studying nature and the crops of different plants.  He has continued to involve his family in embracing medicinal plants and their beneficial properties, while also combating different ailments to maintain a healthier way of living. In 2004, with the support and guidance of the University of Chihuahua, he was able to obtain the first liter of oregano and deepened his understanding of it.  Read more...

 Maria Teresa Guevara

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Born in the city of Delicias, Chihuahua, she is the 3rd of 9 children in her family and has 5 children of her own with her husband, Manuel Terrazas Marquez: Fabiola, Manuel, Maria Teresa, Luis Guillermo, and Sebastian. As an instructor for “Jardin de Niños”, she worked in different educational centers for the Federal Government from 1980 – 2013 and has worked serving the education sector for 30 years. She studied in Chihuahua, Chihuahua and obtained a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education, a Bachelor’s in Audiology and Language, a Master’s in Educational Management, and is Professor in Early Childhood Education.  In 2004 she began working on a project with her husband, Manuel Terrazas Marquez, when she saw the surprising benefits that the Oregano oil had on her youngest son who suffered from bronchial asthma. She also saw the surprising benefits that it had in the health of her entire family, each of whom had different ailments.  Read more...


Mino photo

Ashéninka (Brother) Mino  was born in a palm tree hut and grew up in the Ashéninka Indigenous Community in the central jungle of Perú. His first native language is Ashéninka. He comes from a family of healers. His grandfather, Sheripiari (healer, in Ashéninka language) Kentzikoari, traveled on foot and by spirit to many nearby communities to work with sick people. Mino, as a child, was learning as he sat next to and watched his grandfather. It is natural among the Ashéninka to use all the natural elements that grow around them. His parents guided Mino to continue learning the wisdom of the sacred plants that help heal  through Ashéninka Traditional Healing. Mino is a teacher in Intercultural Bilingual Education and Translator for Ashéninka/Castellano, which inspired Mino in the development of primers and reading materials in the Ashéninka language. His first three working documents for reading and writing in the Ashéninka language are "Alphabet Ashéninka", "Nabireri" and "Kamaari Ipoña Ashéninka".  His older sister "Sshibá", currently works as a Naturopathic Doctor, who also profoundly influenced Mino's life.  Read more...

Monica Lucero

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Dr. Monica Lucero DOM (Diné, Apache, Mexica), Dr. Monica Lucero has been healing with her heart and her hands since she was a little girl. She comes from Diné, Apache, and Mexica heritage, and has a deep love for her Native New Mexican herbs and healing traditions. She is a Nationally Certified Doctor of Oriental Medicine that blends the traditional medicine of the Americas with Chinese Medicine.   Dr. Lucero also serves community as a birth worker.  She serves on the board for Changing Woman Initiative, a birth justice and traditional birthing program.She and her late partner Dr. Arlo Orion Starr DOM have served community through  at Red Root Acupuncture & Herbs in Albuquerque, at Del Corazon Medicine in Los Lunas, and at the Pueblo of Acoma Behavioral Health Services. She is the co-founder of Native Acupuncture Project, and has worked sharing knowledge of traditional medicine with Indigenous healers in Guatemala, Mexico, and throughout the Americas. She specializes in Women’s health, and works with a collective of Indigenous Midwives throughout turtle island to revitalize birthing traditions.

Rita Navarrete

Rita Navarrete photo

Curandera (Traditional Healer), Temazcalera (Mexican Sweat lodge Guide), Sobadora (Energetic and Physical hands on healing), Consejera (Counselor), Yerbera(Herbalist), Nutricionista (Nutritionist), Quiropraxia (Traditional Chiropractor) Orador Motivacional (Motivational Speaker).  Rita has been practicing Traditional Healing for over 28 years.   Rita started her practice in Mexico City, and has continued her practice in Cuernavaca, and Jilotepec.  Rita is also the director of Kapulli Mexico, La Cultura Cura, a school and clinic of Traditional Medicine in Jilotepec México.  The school’s goal is to empower survivors of domestic violence to first heal then learn to heal others.  Her specialty is working with individuals with cronic illness, and life coaching.  She will tell her patients, “Curanderismo is not magic, I cannot heal you, but I will teach you to heal yourself.” Rita is internationally know as an educator of Rizaterapia (Laugh Therapy), and Temazcal (Mexica sweatlodge).  She is a professor at Centro de Desarollo Hacia La Comunidad, at the University of México, Morelos.  She teaches clases in Temazcal, Massage, and Medicinal Plants.  Her motto is that she would like to implant a seed of knowledge in as many people that cross her path.  Her belief is teaching others will allow her to help preserve traditional medicine.

Robert Vetter

Vetter photoRobert Vetter, M.A., is a cultural anthropologist who has been conducting fieldwork in the area of spirituality and healing among the Southern Plains tribes since 1980. He has been adopted into families in the Cheyenne, Kiowa and Comanche tribes. His adopted grandfather was Oliver Pahdopony, the last medicine man of the Comanches. Along with his adopted Kiowa uncle and medicine man Richard Tartsah Sr., he authored the book Big Bow: The Spiritual Life and Teachings of a Kiowa Family. Through his organization Journeys Into American Indian Territory, he has been sharing experiential workshops with thousands of people since 1987.  Read more...

Rodney Garcia

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Dr. Rodney Garcia was born into a Cuban, immigrant family and grew up in Miami, Florida.  Originating from the Cuban countryside, his farther emphasized an appreciation for gardening and wholesome foods while his mother taught the usefulness of traditional healing and plant medicines.  This early exposure formed the groundwork for a lifelong interest in the healing arts. During his medical training at New York's Weil-Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center he worked as an Anesthesiologist specializing in cancer and critical care.  At these medical centers he grew to appreciate the need for an integrated approach in medical practice;  one where Body, Mind and Spirit are all engaged towards achieving balance and health.  At Memorial Sloan-Kettering he began a fellowship where he worked on gaining experience in Integrated Medicine and End-of-Life care.  In an effort to further understand his evolving perspective of healing as a force beyond physical explanation, he attended a Shamanic initiation hosted by The Open Center in New York City. 

Dr. Tomas Enos

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Dr. Tomas Enos, President of Milagro Herbs, Inc. in Santa Fe, New Mexico is an ethnobotanist, teacher, and natural products formulator.  Based upon his education and experience of over 28 years in the herb business, Dr Enos has demonstrated success in developing natural products for national distribution.  Dr. Enos received his PhD from Union Institute and University in 2001 after completing a two year apprenticeship and study of traditional healing practices in Oaxaca, Mexico which culminated in his dissertation on curanderismo and holistic healing.  He continues to practice this centuries-old system of health that treats body, mind, and spirit through applications of herbal medicine, counseling, reflexology, massage, and visualization techniques. 

Margarita Camarena

img_1658.jpegMargarita Camarena Ajq' Ij, CST, CMT, RMT, Tenochca-Tlatelolca born in Mexico City between the twin ancient sister cities of Tlatelolco and Tenochtitlan. As a child she learned from her grandparents how to carry life in a holistic way through remedies and healing practices. These ways were not labeled curanderismo, these ways were simply a way of life. Margarita is Ajq'ij (Mayan spiritual guide, carrier of time and fire keeper) practicing fire ceremonies and working with the sacred while of life. 

She embraces a multidisciplinary practice that includes craniosacral therapy, indigenous healing arts, Reiki, and multidimensional bodywork. She holds the medicines of sacred lineages of the Zapotec, Maya, Toltec, and Mexico. She serves the communities in San Francisco and the Bay Area. She is also an educator and holds different workshops sharing the teaching of indigenous healing, bodywork, medicinal astrology, energy, and Reiki nationwide and in Mexico. It is her passion to connect people to nature and ancestral lineages through ceremonies in nature and cultivating the art of ritual. Her background is in Art and Design. She comes from a line of female Curanderas and Parteras (midwives) and male artists and muralists which she inherited and practices.

 Efrain Vicente Sajbin


Efrain Vicente Sajbin Es Maya K’iche’ Ajq’ij and Sacred Time Keeper, Indigenous rights activist and primary school teacher. Health Program coordinator of indigenous medicine, at the Indigenous Healing Center of Marin, in Marin County CA.