Celebrate the Arizona Centennial with a living history presentation about Teresa Urrea, a 19th century curandera (healer) and reluctant revolutionary figure who lived in the Clifton-Morenci area before her death in 1906.
Chautauqua Scholar Elena Díaz Björkquist will bring Urrea to life on Wednesday, Feb. 8, from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Mission Branch Library, 3770 S. Mission Road. The event is free and the public is invited.
For the first half of the presentation Díaz Björkquist will be in full character and dress as the historical figure Teresa Urrea and will answer audience questions as Teresa. For the later part of the presentation the author will focus on her extensive historical research on the fascinating historical figure, known as the Saint of Cabora.
Urrea was born in 1873 in Sinaloa, the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy rancher and an Indian girl. She learned about healing with herbs and other plants from the head of the ranch’s domestic staff and a Yaqui medicine man. After a near-death experience in 1989, her healing powers attracted Indians, Mexicans and Americans, and her fame spread.
She advocated for – and was seen as a symbol of – Indian liberation and was subsequently deported to the United States. She and her father eventually settled in the Clifton-Morenci area, where she continued to practice healing until her death at age 33.
She is the subject of Luis Alberto Urrea’s novels, “The Hummingbird’s Daughter” and “Queen of America.”
Elena Díaz Björkquist is a writer, historian, and artist from Tucson. Her two books of short stories, “Suffer Smoke” and “Water from the Moon,” are about the people in Morenci, Ariz., where she was born. She has been on the Arizona Humanities Council Speakers Bureau for nine years and is one of the founders of Sowing the Seeds, a collective of Latina writers.
This program is made possible by the Arizona Humanities Council and Pima County Public Library’s Nuestras Raices: Celebrating Mexican-American Authors, Arts and Culture.
For more information about the Feb. 8 event, contact librarians Guadalupe Guerrero at 594-5325 or Marissa Alcorta at 594-5273.