Patrisia Gonzales addresses Red Medicine as a system of healing that includes birthing practices, dreaming, and purification rites to re-establish personal and social equilibrium. The book explores Indigeus medicine across North America, with a special emphasis on how Indigeus kwledge has endured and persisted among peoples with a legacy to Mexico. Gonzales combines her lived experience in Red Medicine as an herbalist and traditional birth attendant ith in-depth research into oral traditions, storytelling, and the meanings of symbols to uncover how Indigeus kwledge endures over time. And she shows how this kwledge is w being reclaimed by Chicas, Mexican Americans and Mexican Indigeus peoples. For Gonzales, a central guiding force in Red Medicine is the principal of regeneration as it is manifested in Spiderwoman. Dating to Pre-Columbian times, the Mesoamerican Weaver/Spiderwoman--the guardian of birth, medicine, and purification rites such as the Nahua sweat bath--exemplifies the interconnected process of rebalancing that transpires throughout life in mental, spiritual and physical manifestations. Gonzales also explains how dreaming is a form of diagsing in traditional Indigeus medicine and how Indigeus concepts of the body provide insight into healing various kinds of trauma. Gonzales links pre-Columbian thought to contemporary healing practices by examining ancient symbols and their relation to current curative kwledges among Indigeus peoples. Red Medicine suggests that Indigeus healing systems can usefully point contemporary people back to ancestral teachings and help them reconnect to the dynamics of the natural world.
Patrisia Gonzales is an assistant professor in the Department of Mexican American Studies and is an affiliated faculty member in American Indian Studies Programs and the Native American Research and Training Center at the University of Arizona. She is the author of The Mud People: Chronicles, Testimonios & Remembrances.