Santa Fe Film Festival: Film documents circle of indigenous healers
Sandra Baltazar Martinez | The New Mexican

Carole Hart believes indigenous medical practices cure cancer. In 1994, she was diagnosed with stage 4 terminal cancer that had already moved to her brain. Oncologists gave her three to four months to live.

Then, by coincidence, she met a spiritual leader named Jyoti during a trip to California.

A few months later, she found herself in a teepee, experiencing a healing ceremony called a Native American Church Meeting, led by several tribal leaders.

"When I came out of there, I felt every cell had shifted and aligned somehow," Hart said in a recent telephone interview. "Then one of the tribal men told me, 'You are healed, but it will take a while for your body to catch up.' ... (This) brought me into direct relation with indigenous medicine."

By October 2004, Jyoti had managed to gather 13 women in New York to form a circle of indigenous healers. They had traveled there from all over the world and created what is now called The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. The grandmothers visited each other's homes in Asia, Africa, Mexico, Central America and the United States. One of the stops in the U.S. included visits to San Juan Pueblo, the Pueblo of Tesuque and Chimayó.

Hart decided to document and film their meetings. Her movie, For the Next 7 Generations, is part of this year's Santa Fe Film Festival. She and her husband, Bruce Hart, have produced other films. They also were among the original writers for Sesame Street.

The 84-minute film captures the interactions of the grandmothers' visits to different countries and tells each of their stories. All of the 13 women believe in Mother Earth and in saving it from human destruction. In their prayers, the women ask for blessings for the next seven generations.

"The way indigenous people see the world is very consistent. ... What they see is a web of life, where everything is connected," Hart said. "If you do something in the web of life, it's going to have a ripple effect. It's going to affect everybody."

One of the 13 women featured in the film is Grandmother Flordemayo, a native Guatemalan who now lives in Albuquerque. She started learning the art of healing, called curanderismo in Spanish, from her mother at age 4. She has lived in New Mexico for nearly 40 years.

Flordemayo is the founding director of the Institute for Natural and Traditional Knowledge based in Albuquerque. She is in Sedona, Ariz., this week participating in the seventh gathering of The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers.

What: Screening of the documentary For the Next 7 Generations
When: 3:45 p.m. Thursday at DeVargas and 10:15 a.m. Saturday at IAIA Museum
Cost: Tickets are $10 per film
Information: Visit or call 989-1495

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