Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Blessings. That is how I see my life: full of blessings. They take shape in the many people who have supported my efforts and counseled, pushed, and prodded me along during this long journey. The healers who spoke with me and became my teachers were infi nitely patient with my questions. Lizzie Brieno, Jo Ann Ramos, Jacinto and Fela Madrigal, and Charlene Beacham deserve my many thanks. Esperanza Ytuarte gave me a historical viewpoint of San Antonio I had not considered. There ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-5

It is spring or early summer during my childhood in Corpus Christi. Our backyard is covered in cilantro (coriander). Tall, green, feathery plants sway in the breeze, their white fl ower heads so compact that bees walk across their petals with complete confi dence. Towards dusk my mom sends me to gather the leaves that season our evening meals; the smell of tortillas and simmering beans follows me out the door. I enjoy walking through the weedy herb patch, my feet crushing plants here and there, ...

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Chapter 1:The Road Home

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pp. 7-17

What is so great about Texas? The vastness. It is the depth and breadth of the place. When I drive through Texas, it is an emotional experience every time. The landscape changes subtly but markedly; mile after mile it is never boring. Texas has distinct geographical areas.

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Chapter 2: Living in the Borderlands Means . . .

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pp. 19-27

Eliseo Torres, who wrote Green Medicine, argues that Alvar N

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Chapter 3: Work as Medicine

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pp. 29-49

When I was in San Antonio during a fi eldwork period, I had a car wreck. I never saw the other car. I heard brakes screeching, a loud bang, and then the relentless sound of my car horn. Someone tugged me out of the slouched position I found myself in and put a dirty...

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Chapter 4: Curanderismo as a Template for a Mexican American World View

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pp. 51-65

Research conducted in curanderismo has changed little over the years. The research and writing of the 1950s and 1960s described curanderismo as a “mass- cultural phenomena” with out a theoretical approach, given to shallow reporting and “highly repetitious” in content.1...

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Chapter 5: Healers and Their Clients

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pp. 67-92

Imagine a typical Saturday morning on San Antonio’s Southside: Conjunto music rides over on humid air from the fl ea market’s main plaza where food, water fountains, and toilets are located. The bajo sexto’s resonating beat has my toe tapping; Germans may have...

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Chapter 6: La Planta es la Vida: The Cultural Life of Plants in Curanderismo

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pp. 93-102

Twice a year or so, Mr. Madrigal and I travel to the Texas border to collect plants just on the outskirts of Eagle Pass. Amid the junk tires and broken glass, we gather a few sangre de drago (Jatropha dioica Cerv.) and gobernadora (Larrea tridentate (DC) Coville) for transplanting...

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Chapter 7: Curanderismo and Its Possibilities

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pp. 103-116

My grandmother’s name is Felicitas, meaning happiness. With veiled heads, a dozen abuelas assemble in the front pews of the church. They kneel, and with rosary beads clicking, they bring in the day. The old women stand in unison when the priest enters the church....

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Epilogue

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pp. 117-121

On February 14, 1995, I received a letter of acceptance from the anthropology department at the University of Michigan. I cried. It had taken me over five years to complete the eighty hours of course work necessary to receive my Bachelor of Arts degree. I was thirty-six years old and working as a customer accounts representative with AT&T, as was my husband. The company ran on a top-down hierarchy in a constant reactive mode, dependent on market competition. As a “rep,” my well ...

Appendix

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pp. 123-129

Notes

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pp. 131-136

Bibliography

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pp. 137-142

Index

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pp. 143-147