Yuria Celidwen is a senior fellow at the Othering and Belonging Institute, and a native of Indigenous Nahua and Maya descent, born into a family of mystics, healers, poets, and explorers from the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico.
She teaches Indigenous epistemologies and spirituality and her work pioneered the Indigenous contemplative experience within contemplative studies. In addition, she leads workshops on prosocial practices (such as mindfulness, compassion, kindness, gratitude, etc.) from an Indigenous perspective. She emphasizes cultivating a sense of reverence and ecological belonging, raising awareness of social and environmental justice and community-engaged practices, revitalizing Indigenous languages, traditional medicine, clean energy, and conservation.
She is affiliated with Berkeley’s Department of Psychology where she is conducting research into how Indigenous Peoples psychologies are expressed through self-transcendent practices of contemplation, and developing her talents for laboratory science, including experimental design, physiological measurement, and the concepts and tools of social and cultural psychology.
Since November 2021, she has co-chaired the Indigenous Religious Traditions Unit of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), and is part of the steering committee of the Contemplative Studies Unit. She co-chaired the Indigenous Religions Unit and was the Women’s Caucus Liaison to the Board of the Western Region of the AAR (2018-2021), where she previously co-chaired the Psychology, Religion, and Culture unit (2016-2019).
As an Indigenous woman and as a scholar, she has taken the quest to bring the voices of Indigenous peoples of the world as equal holders of sophisticated systems of contemplative insight. She is committed to the reclamation, revitalization, and transmission of Indigenous wisdom, and the advancement of Indigenous rights and the rights of the Earth for social and environmental justice.