David Atekpatzin Young
Atekpatzin Young is an independent researcher, author and curandero. Mr. Young has done extensive research on the Indigenous peoples of Tehuayo, Indetah and Aztlán (U.S. Southwest) and their present-day descendants. He has also studied the relationship of ancient and contemporary Nahua religious practices. He spent fifteen years studying with traditional Indigenous healers.
About the book, A Magic Feather:
When the Spaniards first invaded Mexico, they encountered advanced medical practices among the Indigenous peoples called huehuepahtli (ancient ancestral medicine). The Spaniards renamed it curanderismo. Despite 500 years of colonization, huehuepahtli remains deeply embedded in the Indigenous communities of North America precisely because of its success in treating myriad physical, mental, emotional and spiritual illnesses. A Magic Feather divulges key healing secrets still utilized in the Indigenous Chicano community. Atekpatzin, a curandero who studied with Aztec/Mexica, Apache, Chicano, Genízaro, and Lakota medicine people, shares the theory, philosophy and science of curanderismo. Beginning with original sources written in the sixteenth century up to contemporary oral teachings that predate European contact, A Magic Feather takes us inside these living traditions across time to arrive at a contemporary expression of Indigenous medical practices deeply rooted in the Aztec cosmology of Mexicayotl.
The sixteen chapters of the book are divided into three sections. A Magic Feather explores how curanderismo has evolved over the centuries, why it is still practiced and it provides practical applications for addressing illness for both Indigenous individuals and communities. An Indigenous term called motonalcauhqui is introduced to explain how trauma impacts individuals and how trauma in one generation (such as human trafficking) can impact subsequent generations. The book proposes treatment options for individuals and communities impacted by historical trauma. New language is introduced to name the new terms and concepts pulling from the Indigenous language Nahuatl. A Magic Feather addresses the ever present issues of racism, indigeneity, lateral violence and historical trauma and how these have impacted the Chicano community.