Teresa Urrea healing people in Mexico

Teresa healing by laying on hands in Mexico



Teresa Urrea, la Santa de Cabora

This daughter of an Indian teen and a wealthly rancher in Sinaloa became a famous healer and an inspiration to Indian rebels. She trained under the midwife/curandera la Huila and a Yaqui medicine man, and was a skilled healer even before her extended near-death experience and visionary transformation. She was given up for dead and nearly buried, but revived and began healing people suffering from cancer, blindness, stroke, and paralysis. Thousands of Indian people streamed to the ranch where she lived.

Teresa preached justice for the Yaquis and other Indian people who had been subjected to genocidal wars and land seizures. She said it was Indian land, and should not be stolen. She denounced the atrocities the federales were committing against the Indians, having herself seen them hang a three-year-old from a tree:

“Do you wonder why the tribe fights the forces of such a government? My poor Indians! They are the bravest and most persecuted people on earth! They will fight for their rights until they win or are exterminated. God help them! There are few of them left.”

A revolutionary movement coalesced around Teresa, culminating in the weeks-long battle of Tomochic in 1892, when Indian villagers held off the federales for weeks. Their battle cry was "Viva la Santa de Cabora!" Other insurgents took up the call, foreshadowing the Mexican Revolution in 1910. Teresa was forced into exile by the dictator Porfirio Diaz, who called her “the most dangerous girl in Mexico.”

She wound up in El Paso where she continued her healing work and remained politically active. She was one of the authors of the comprehensively progressive Plan de Tomochic, which demanded abolition of “all laws or social practices that maintain inequality based on gender, race, nationality or class.” It called for new laws “declaring both men and women, whites and blacks, natives and foreigners, rich and poor, have the the same rights, duties and privileges and that they be absolutely equal before the law.” We have yet to attain those goals today. 

There’s much more to Teresa’s story which is part of the Rebel Shamans show.