This study examines forty-six colonial records spanning over two centuries (ca. 1581–1802), the majority of which consist of Mexican Inquisition and criminal trials. The article illuminates how Indigenous medical specialists, alternatively labeled ritual specialists, maintained communal solidarity by accessing the divine using sacred rituals. From New Spain’s southern extremity in Chiapas to its northern frontier in Santa Fe, devout commoners made votive offerings to combat disease and recalibrate the cosmos. Indigenous medical specialists such as curanderos and midwives remained influential locally because commoners perceived their ceremonies to be efficacious. Ritual specialists used their advanced knowledge of medicine and spirituality to alleviate illnesses like dysentery, fever, and typhoid. Concern for ailing family members prompted Natives to take an inclusive approach to the treatment of disease, which could conflict with church doctrine. Case testimony reveals that diverse, nonorthodox methods of healing persisted in the face of Spanish colonization. Faith in the efficacy of Indigenous cosmologies helped the infirm to envisage a better life, instilling hope. The study’s focus on the spiritual and material illuminates how ancestral knowledge produced political and social ramifications centuries after inception, demonstrating how the past reverberates into the present.

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