JB Rhine Banquet Speaker

PhD Nuria Ciofalo

Indigenous Psychologies from Cem Anahuac (Mesoamerica)


Summary: Indigenous psychologies are informed by their cosmovisions, philosophies, religions, spiritual traditions, and onto-epistemologies. This presentation will address Cem Anahuac conceptions of consciousness and altered states of consciousness, psyche, spirit, and mental and physical health among the Nahua and Maya of Mexico. Their knowledge and praxes systems have resisted colonization and erasure of their rich legacies due to the imposition of the conquerors’ only-one-world view still persisting in academic discourse. The rich Nahua and Maya cosmology, astrology, science, and mythology are preserved in texts written in the stones of their majestic archeological sites. Indigenous communities in this region continue to use sacred substances, such as medicinal plants, mushrooms, and some animals, that stimulate altered states of consciousness in rituals for holistic healing. The Western academy needs to learn from these knowledge and praxes systems, consciousness states, and spirituality to expand their hegemonic paradigm and promote decoloniality in the Euro-centric discipline of psychology.

Biography: Nuria Ciofalo is Core Professor and Co-Founder of the Community, Liberation, Indigenous, and Eco- Psychologies specialization at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Born in Mexico, she gained her B.A. and first M.A. in Clinical and Social Psychology at the University of Munich, Germany where she specialized in psychoanalytic theories. Her M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning and Ph.D. in Community Psychology at the University of Hawaii immersed her in the Native Hawaiian sovereignty movement and healing practices. She has worked with Indigenous communities in Hawaii, Northern, Central, and Southern Mexico for more than 40 years. She teaches Indigenous psychologies centering Indigenous cosmologies, epistemologies, axiologies, and healing praxes in academic curricula applying participatory action research in partnership with communities. She has published in the areas of participatory youth action research, program evaluation, and decolonial, depth, community, and Indigenous psychologies. Her recent book, Indigenous Psychologies in an Era of Decolonization (2019), was written in partnership with Maya Lacandon youths and community leaders of the Lacandon Rainforest in Chiapas, Mexico.


Entrees - Center of the Table
Dish & Description Image
Edam Empanada

Fried corn tortilla stuffed with edam cheese.


Yucatecan Fried gordita mixed with the chaya (Yucatecan spinach) stuffed with Yucatecan White beans and ground pumpkin seeds.

Polcanes with Meat of Temozón

Fried gordita stuffed with smoked pork.

Brazo de Reina

Traditional vegetarian tamal mixed with chaya and eggs and tomato sauce and ground pumpkin seeds.

Kibeh of Meat

Ground meat of pork mixed with zucchini, carrot, jicama, wheat and coriander.

Xkatik Pepper Cream

Blondie Pepper Cream (A little bit spicy).

Frijoles Mugy

Black beans mixed with Yucatecan sausage.

Guacamole with Chicharra 

Traditional guacamole with pork chips.


1st Course
Dish & Description Image
Cheese Cream

Made with edam cheese.

Lemon Soup

Soup of lemon juice, turkey meat and Yucatecan sweet pepper (not spicy).

Beetroot Soup (Vegan)

Delicious beetroot soup (not spicy).


2nd Course
Dish & Description Image
Cochinita Pibil

Traditional pork marinated with sour orange juice and achiote paste. Cooked in underground oven.

Lechon al Horno

Baked pork and marinated with Yucatecan spices and sour orange juice.

Relleno Negro

Turkey meat marinated with burned peppers and burned tortilla mixed with purple onion, garlic, cloves and sour orange juice accompanied by one per meatball.

Filled Cheese (Vegan)

Potato topping stuffed with mushrooms, olives and capers. It is made from a thick base of potato, corn, and pumpkin soup mixed together.


Dish & Description Image
Neapolitan Flan

Traditional dairy dessert, prepared with whole eggs, milk and sugar.

Papaya Candy

Papaya mixed with honey and sugar and Edam cheese.

Caballero Pobre (Vegan)

Bread marinated with cinnamon and vanilla syrup.


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