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The Latina History Project

María Elena Martinez

María Elena Martínez holds a BAs in Spanish and History from North Texas University and a M.Ed in Elementary Education from the University of Texas at Austin. She worked in private and public education for thirty-four years in the area of bilingual education as a classroom teacher and instructional coordinator. Prior to that María Elena was involved in education reform and electoral politics during the Texas Chicano movement of the 1960s and 70s. She was the first woman to lead a political party in Texas as the last state chair of La Raza Unida Party and an active member of its women’s caucus, Mujeres Por La Raza Unida. Since 1993 has engaged in the study of shamanism through the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and trained with Mexican curanderas (healers), including Zapotec curandera, Doña Enriqueta Contreras, from Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico. María Elena is on the women’s council of Alma de Mujer Center for Social Change and has been instrumental in helping to coordinate educational, spiritual, environmental, feminist, and activist activities and efforts at the Center.