March 25, 2005

Cal State San Marcos Professors Launch Mixtec Medicine Exhibit

Calling on 15 years of bi-national research into the medicinal and cultural practices of the Mixtec people, two professors at California State University San Marcos will unveil a new exhibit, “Medicina Mixteca,” at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido Sunday, April 10, 2005. The exhibit will open during a free family festival, 1 to 4 p.m., featuring Oaxacan food, entertainment and cultural exploration.

Medical anthropologist Bonnie Bade and visual artist Deborah Small, colleagues at Cal State San Marcos, have worked with members of the Oaxacan communities in both Mexico and California to research and document the traditional medicinal concepts and practices of the indigenous people of Oaxaca, Mexico.

“The Mixtec Medicine project,” explains Bade, “celebrates the antiquity, intelligence and beauty of Mixtec culture and medicine.” The project is based on ethnographic research conducted in collaboration with Don Primo Dominguez, a Mixtec healer from Juxtlahuaca, Oaxaca. The exhibit focuses on many aspects of Mixtec medicine, including diagnostic methods, illness causation, medical treatments, medicinal plants, the medicinal practitioner, and the community.

The exhibit features photographs from the researchers’ fieldwork as well as images from ancient Mixtec books that illustrate the continuity of cultural knowledge and traditions from past to present. “The Oaxacalifornia section of the exhibit features photographs from labor camps, local Oaxacan businesses, peoples homes, and community gardens,” explains Small.

The Medicina Mixteca exhibition is the product of collaborative efforts involving Cal State San Marcos students, local Oaxacan families, and organized Oaxacan groups, including the North County-based Coalition of Indigenous Oaxacan Communities and the Indigenous Binational Organizations Front.

The California Center for the Arts is located at the corner of Valley Parkway and Escondido Blvd in Escondido. The opening celebration on April 10 is open to the public.

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