“The work I do is about the prayer and the intention. It is never about me, it is about the people I am touching with these plants. The morning prayer sets the tone for the day. This is the same when I do a prayer and offer the tobacco when I plant a seed. It sets the intention for the plant. These plants are grown for a purpose. The beauty of the plants is the exposure to the sun, the wind, the water, the Earth--the cycle of the four medicines that we honor. When the time comes to harvest, it is a beautiful time. There are songs and prayers being offered, and we thank the plant before we harvest it, because the Spirit is there. This Spirit is what will touch the inside of our bodies as we drink it.”
- Marika Alvarado
I am Marika, a Lipan Apache. I am a direct descendant of generations of Medicine Women: traditional native healers of body, midwives, and plant medicine. My mother, grandmother, and aunt handed the medicine down to me.
My family and extended family were migrant farm workers. We traveled from Texas to the north, and we always worked. We followed the seasons because it was our tradition to keep moving. We were raised to be in harmony with the Earth, the seasons, and the plants. The plants provided our living and they healed us and those who traveled with us. The healers in my family tended the sick, the injured, and the women when they were with child and when they gave birth.
When I was five years old, my grandmother called me to her side and told me that I was the one to carry our Medicine forward. I had the calling to teach our future generations and those who had the spiritual dedication and heart to learn and use the Medicine to help others.
As a child, I was taught the traditional way, as my family tended those who came to them in need. I learned how important ceremony, prayer and intention is in the healing process. I also learned to listen to the Spirit of the plants around me. I grew up listening to the song of the Earth as she sang her wisdom to those who would listen and understand.
I am here to help in the healing of others and to pass on these teachings I have been given. I believe that I should teach all people who have the dedication and spiritual will to use these teachings as Mother Earth and the generations before me intended.
I was honored with a Lakota name, Pejuta Wakan Yuha Mani Win, which translates as, "She who carries the sacred medicine." Being given a Lakota name is an honor, reaffirming the Condor-Eagle prophecy that says, when the eagle of the North and the condor of the South fly together, the Earth will awaken.