Curing Practices
Conservation and Recreation in San Juan /Rio Grande National Forest
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Portrait of Marta Portrait of Lupe Return to this section in the future for additional information on curing practices and natural medicine among the Rarámuri.
The Rio Grande
Curing Practices
A river defines complex economic, social, and political environments. Contemporary river basin cultural communities have creatively responded to historical and environmental challenges in different ways. This can be seen in the story of the Rarámuri of Chihuahua, indigenous communities who were forced to migrate from the countryside.

Considered the most majestically scenic area of Northern Mexico, the Sierra Madre Occidental is the homeland of an indigenous tribe called the Rarámuri [Tarahumara]. Over the years Rarámuri families have steadily been migrating to urban areas in the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, and Durango. Rarámuri commonly visit the cities in order to sell or trade crafts, medicinal herbs, and textiles; to purchase goods that are not available in their home communities; and to work as wage laborers for short periods of time. In the fall of 1995, Ciudad Juárez created a neighborhood in the northwestern area of the city for migrant Rarámuri. Many women from this community sell medicinal herbs near a local market in Ciudad Juárez. Most of the herbs are brought down from the Sierra usually during the early fall. Taught at an early age to recognize medicinal herbs found in their homeland, Rarámuri know their uses in curing particular diseases.

Only a few crafts are made in this community, but several women often travel to the Sierra to gather craft materials unavailable in the urban area. For example, some Rarámuri women gather pine needles or bear grass (palmilla) to weave baskets (waris). But the women also find materials in Ciudad Juárez to sew traditional Indian clothing and weave sashes (fajas). They are expert seamstresses.

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