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Maria Parra Cano

Maria or Carmen as many know her is the mother that put out a call to her community for support. She is co-founder & Executive Director of the Cihuapactli Collective, now in its 6th year. Maria is a Xicana Indigena born in Phoenix, Arizona with her lineages stemming from the Mexica People from Texcoco, Mexico & Raramuri People from Cuauhtemoc, Chihuahua. Maria was raised in Barrio Garfield, along with her 7 siblings. Maria is a community organizer and activist at heart.

Prior to having children, Maria served as Director of Prevention, Education, and Immigration Services for a local nonprofit. Maria has experience in program development, grant writing, finance, evaluation, and implementation of social service programs for over 20 years. Maria received her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University in Non-Profit Administration & Sociology, her MBA with an emphasis in Finance from Grand Canyon University, and a culinary arts degree from Scottsdale Culinary Institute - Le Cordon Bleu.

She has been married to Brian Cano for the past 9 years and has birthed social entrepreneurship wings with Ironwood Metal Works & Coatl while also birthing 4 little ones - Yolehua Luna, Quizani Texcohtli, Tonaliztli Mitohtiani, and a son - Ayocoyani who is in the spirit world. Maria is a mother, wife, sister, aunt, community organizer, danzante y mujer de ceremonia as part of the Calpoalli Nahuacalco and other ceremonial circles for the past 21 years. Maria is a board member for the Sagrado, the Orchard Community Learning Center, the National Parents Union, and is a regenerative farmer/co-founder of the Food Forest Cooperative at Spaces of Opportunity in South Phoenix. Maria is also an Indigenous Lactation Educator, birth & postpartum CoMadrita/doula, flower essence specialist, traditional babywearing & rebozo use educator with Indigena.


Maria's work is a restorative movement aimed at healing Indigenous communities, assisting plant relatives in reversing diseases like diabetes & hypertension, healing our bodies from birth, using food as medicine, and paying tribute to her mami all while being in the kitchen with Sana Sana Foods & supporting the community. Maria was taught to cook at a very young age by her mami, Maria Cristina Parra Martinez, and learned about Indigenous cuisines from Central and Southern Mexico.

Born in the Sonoran Desert, Maria has deep connections with plant relatives from the territory and has been working with local community groups to expand their knowledge of ancestral/traditional foods by providing community cooking classes, demos, and workshops. Maria is grateful for the teachings and trust she has received from Elders, Comadres, and relationships with Indigenous Peoples from around the globe.



  • Indigena

  • Sana Sana Foods

  • Cihuapactli Collective

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