Women’s History Month: Maria Christina Moroles

Maria Christina Moroles
Photo courtesy of Maria Christina Moroles

Born: October 17, 1953 in Corpus Christi, Texas

Bio: Maria Christina DeColores Moroles (also known by the ceremonial names Sun Hawk and Aguila) is best known for founding and maintaining Santuario Arco Iris, an intentional land community in Ponca designed specifically as a “sacred land space” for women and children, especially marginalized women and children of color. Moroles, who refers to herself as a “two-spirit woman” of Mexican and Indigenous American descent, began living on the 500-acre wilderness preserve in 1976.

Growing up in Dallas, Texas, Moroles ended her formal schooling in the seventh grade in response to the poverty, racism and sexual violence she encountered. She eventually earned a GED and at age 15, Moroles married David Paige. Their daughter, Jennifer Jo, was born in 1971. She then moved to Arkansas, where she became involved in the burgeoning women’s community.

Initially, in 1976, Moroles and her daughter lived on property in Ponca owned by a lesbian land collective called Sassafras. Moroles then negotiated with the Sassafras Women’s Community to deed 120 acres of land, now known as Santuario Arco Iris, to women of color. Moroles earned a license in massage therapy and has sought apprenticeship and training from a wide range of healers, psychics, social justice activists and shamans.  

You can learn more about the life of Maria Christina Moroles at the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.