ELDER BIOS

TWILA CASSADORE

Apache - USA

Twila Cassadore (San Carlos Apache Tribe) has been working with San Carlos Apache, White Mountain Apache, and Yavapi peoples for the past 25 years, addressing health and social issues. She works on a number of community and cultural preservation projects- reconnecting the local youths with their ancestors' way of life and diet, she is also a professional caterer. Twila is the founder and face of the grassroots organization “Native Mothers Against Meth.”

BENKI PIYÃKO

Ashaninka - Brazil & Peru

Benki has been referred to as the Dalai Lama of the Amazon, he's considered an 'Antaviari' in his culture, which means a direct messenger of God. Healing people since he was 10 years old, Benki championed the rights of his community at the age of 12, from 2005 to 2007 he was also the environmental administrator of Acre, Brazil.

In 2007 he created training center Yorenka Antame. Benki rehabilitates drug and alcohol addicted youth by teaching them to work with the land, he has repopulated numerous endangered animal species in the area where he lives, Benki has also helped many indigenous tribes recover their cultures.

He won UN's Equator Prize alongside his tribal community Apiwtxa for their remarkable environmental work. Benki has planted over 2 million trees in the past 28 years and created the world's first eco-market which exchanges plastic for food in Amazonian town Marechal Thaumaturgo.

MOISES PIYÃKO

Ashaninka - Brazil and Peru

Moises Piyãko is the brother of Benki and also a pajé. Together they fight for the protection of indigenous land. They frequently repost invasions and illegal activities which are destroying the Amazon rainforest. They travel the world together speaking and advocating against the destruction of the Amazon. To raise funds for their cause they have designed a fashion collection for Osklen. Their work both spiritual and environmental is extremely important and well respected.

ARROW PRIEST JOE DAVID OSAGE AND RAMONA TALL BEAR

Cheyenne - USA

Arrow Priest Joe David Osage

Born in western Oklahoma, Joe David is full-blood Tsitsistsas (Cheyenne). He was raised in the community known as Red Moon, Hammon, Oklahoma. Joe David has lived the traditional Cheyenne life from birth, hearing the stories of many aspects of his people's travels through time and across the continent. He has participated in the sacrificial rites that give him great responsibility to his people. He was seated as ceremonial chief as well as earning the position of sacred arrow priest.


Ramona Tall Bear

Wife of Joe David, she is also full blood Cheyenne and has been initiated on all rites of passage of her people, she’s a Sundancer and gifted artist.

JERRY NELSON

Diné (Navajo) - USA

Jerry Nelson is from the Diné Nation (Navajo), from Whitecone, Arizona. He has been a Native American Church Roadman for the past thirty-eight years with his wife, four children, and twelve grandkids. He is a medicine man and a counselor, helping people in his own traditional ways of prayer. He runs traditional tepee and sweat lodge ceremonies as well as spiritual doctoring work.

NABA IRITAH SHENMIRA

Dogon - Mali, Africa

Son of legendary Dogon prophet Neb Naba Lamoussa, IriTah is a teacher, lecturer, spiritual activist, priest, and healer of the Dogon bloodline of Meritah. He is the “Head Merr” (Leader) of The Earth Center. IriTah was born and raised among the Tem people in Togo. As a young boy, he entered various initiations and apprenticeships with priests and healers, enduring the rites of passage of becoming a mana group of bloodlines, the keepers of knowledge from the upper echelon of the Pharaonic society.

The Dogon culture has remained uninterrupted since the time of the Pharaohs. Nabas specialize in spiritual knowledge including geomancy, astronomy, etc. Their mission is dictated by the Divinities and Ancestors of the shrines they maintain.

WAHIPTAH FAHKARA

Dogon - Mali, Africa

A spirit coming from the vestibule of worship and enlightenment. A Dogon initiate, a Nilotic son, walking and working towards order and balance. He is a Cultural Activist, Researcher, Lecturer. A teacher of philosophy and spirituality of indigenous Dogon and Kemetic culture, preserved in secrecy in Meritah for over 2000 years. WahibPtah is also a Head Merr of the Earth Center in Europe, a Dogon mystery school as it were in the Nile and Niger valley since time immemorial.

MONA POLACCA

Hopi / Havasupai / Tewa - USA

Mona is a Hopi Native American spiritual elder from Arizona. She has worked to further social justice for indigenous people from an early age. She is an author in the field of social sciences, has held posts of responsibility as Treasurer for her tribe, served on several committees for Indigenous Peoples within the United Nations, and is widely known for her "leadership in the Native American revitalization movement. In recent years, Mona has gained international recognition for her work as one of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers - a group of spiritual elders, medicine women, and wisdom keepers founded in 2004.

NINAWA PAI DA MATA

Huni Kuin - Brazil

Ninawa comes from an unbroken lineage of powerful pajés and musicians, he has been on the shamanic path since he was born and has undertaken the highest initiations (dietas) of his tribe, some of which lasted up to a whole year of isolation and fasting in the forest. Considered a rockstar from the forest, he is a gifted musician and captivates people wherever he goes with his charisma and power filled with love and humility.

CHIEF RAONI METUKTIRE

Kayapó – Brazil

Chief Raoni Metukire is a leader and environmentalist. The name Raoni is associated with mystery and the power of the Kayapo people. He is internationally famous as a living symbol of the fight for the preservation of the Amazon rainforest and indigenous culture, declared by French President Jacques Chirac. In 1989, accompanied by singer Sting, the Kayapo leader started his travels to many places around the world.

When Raoni was 15, he started wearing a labret, an ornamental disk that warriors wear on their lower lip when they want to show they are ready to die for their land. The size of the disk is gradually extended to reach its final size after 4 months.

Isolated from the rest of the world until the twentieth century, the indigenous peoples of the Xingu region have fought to orally preserve their traditions for countless generations. Raoni found ways to connect these cultures with the world while keeping appropriate stoicism, distance, and dignity. Although he meets with prominent people in many countries, he lives in a simple hut and owns nothing. The gifts he receives are always redistributed.

In September 2011, Chief Raoni was made an honorary citizen of Paris by Paris mayor Bertrand Delanoë, and received the medal of the French National Assembly from Nicolas Perruchot of France's National Assembly.

The Mamos

Kogi / Wiwa - Sierra Nevada, Colombia

A Mamo represents the maximum expression of wisdom. A pagamento (or payment)  is a sacred offering to settle our debt with Mother Earth. Earth is consistently giving to us: feeding us, sheltering us. These payments balance our energy and heal blockages that are causing harm or disease in our lives And preventing us from full happiness and fulfillment. Pagamentos also provide spiritual food for nature as our consumption is naturally out of balance, therefore the mamos say it is important to give back to earth in order to maintain a harmonious relationship of reciprocity. Making payments have an enormous healing effect on us as individuals and on the collective planetary level.

The Zagas

Kogi / Wiwa - Sierra Nevada, Colombia

Zagas or sagas are the female equivalents of Mamos, spiritual leaders from the Teyuna people of the Sierra Nevada of Colombia. 

Zagas are much more than just leaders.  A Zaga is a Priestess, a medicine woman, a botanist, a midwife, a massage therapist, a weaver, a storyteller, an adviser, a seer, a diviner, a musician, and an Elder. They represent the Light in the darkness. They hold the Ancestral Wisdom for future generations. They move and behave in alignment with the rhythms of Nature. They are the Healers and hold the keys for the Water, the Earth, and the Air elements. And because of this, the Zagas have a big responsibility to sustain the Planet. They are the weavers of knowledge to store Wisdom. Zagas represent the Moon and are the rulers of time and cycles.

They are multi-dimensional bridges that communicate freely with the other realms and are able to translate messages from the different kingdoms in Nature, as well as interpreting messages from dreams and the signs written in the landscape by Gaia.

NANA AMALIA TUM XINICO

Maya Kaqchiquel - Guatemala

Amalia is a gifted healer, naturopath, and renowned spiritual leader and teacher, member of the commission of the sacred sites in Guatemala – COLUSAG, founder of the elder council Iq’B’alm, member of the council of elders and political association of Mayan women MOLOJ, spiritual assessor of association of women KAKLA.

Nana Amalia works alongside her husband Tata Mario on healing, purification, and spiritual balancing ceremonies, Mayan astrology readings amongst other traditional rituals.

TATA MARIO SIMON OVALLE CHAVEZ

Maya K’iche - Guatemala

Tata Mario is a renowned spiritual leader, naturopath, painter and talented traditional musician, he plays the marimba, drums, caracol, and flute.

Founder of the council of Ajq’ijab’(spiritual guide) Iq’ B’alam and Accessor of Indigenous Townhall of Santa Lucia, Utatlan, Solola. He gives conferences about medicinal plants, Maya cosmology, and history, identity and rights of indigenous people, he’s also a primary school teacher.

Tata Mario works alongside his wife Nana Amalia on healing, purification, and spiritual balancing ceremonies, Mayan astrology readings amongst other traditional rituals.

NANA Rosalia Zavala

Maya K’iche, Guatamala

Spiritual guide and midwife, she works with the sacred fire and tobacco readings. She’s been elected as part of the ancestral authorities and is responsible for maintaining the order community in Solola.

Louis Te Kouorehua Kereopa (Matua)

Maori - New Zealand

Matua is a Maori Elder (kaumatua) He is a natural counselor and mentor. He works with various levels of spiritual and emotional guidance and healing.

Matua is also a musician and teaches his own form of open eyes prayer meditation, called "Te Rakau Rangimarie” or way of the peace stick. Moving through the 7 elements/guardians of Nature, honoring the Creator and Mother Earth.

Matua’s forehead markings represent his spiritual connection with Sky Father, the nose markings represent the Breath of Life, the lips, mouth, and chin represent Sacred Jaw of Truth, both sides of his face represent his work of service to God, Ancestors, and Family.

He received these markings from the elders of his tribe, a blessing attained or his service of Love as a Master Carver and a Matua Puna... Living Spring.

Khurelbaatar Khuramkhaan

Mongolian

Khurelbaatar is a legend in Mongolia, known as the shaman of the shamans. He incorporates an ancestral spirit called Spark, he has 11 kinds of ethnic spirit guardians from the Xiongnu empire. A master of meditation energy and bone setting.

He is the head of the council of Mongolian Shamanism as well as the group ‘The Destiny of Shaman” . Khurelbaatar is also the president of NGO ‘Undes Ugsaa” and president of Tengerleg Mongol association of shamanists of inner and outer Mongolia.

Túpaq Ttito Kuntur

Paq'o Andino, Inka - Peru

Túpaq descends from the pre-Inka and Inka ancestors. He’s an Altomisayoq - a bridge between the celestial, the elementals, and the terrestrial realms. He was taught by his Inka elders and the Apus (spirits) of the High Holy Mountains of the Andes. Túpaq is a spiritual teacher and counselor, keeper of cosmic wisdom of the Paq’os and the Inkas. He is a maestro of the new MUSUQ, Tawantinsuyo of the Inkas.

Juan de Dios Kucho

Quechu / Aymara - Peru

Kucho was born in Cusco and grew up in and around Machu Picchu. He has been an official tour guide for Machu Picchu for 20 years, although a better way to describe him is a “magic guide”. He’s nurtured a connection with the Sacred Master Plant Wachuma for more than 30 years, guiding people through the mystery and profound healing offered by this plant with integrity, clarity, strength, and joy. He has lived in Machu Picchu for the majority of his life and built a strong relationship with the Apus (Mountain Spirits) of the land there and other places in the Tawantinsuyo that he has visited on different spiritual pilgrimages. He practices and guides those wanting to learn through the cosmovision of the Andean people and will soon open his center Inti Wasi as a school and center for learning and exchange with other leaders and spiritual teachers from the Andes and beyond.

Chief Clara Soaring Hawk

Ramapough Lenape - USA

Chief Clara is Deer Clan Chief in the Ramapough Lenape Nation. An Elder whose inspiration (in spirit) for her life’s work begins and ends with her family, both biological and spiritual. She has been called by her Creator to work with the young humans of the planet.

Chief Clara has been facilitating ceremonies, both nationally and internationally, since 2016. She has been asked to present Ceremony at a multitude of events and religious/spiritual gatherings.

Chief Clara defines herself as a “Spiritual Ecologist”. “In this time of global turmoil, we must all be open to a new level of consciousness. We stand for the Water. We stand for the Land. We stand for the People.

We are the Sweet Water Protectors! A’ho!”

Kiiloona Lunaapeewak ~ We are all One People

MAESTRA INEZ

Shipibo - Peru

Maestra Inez is one of the last Shipibo with her level of knowledge, now in her 70s, she has been working as a Master Shaman for over 50 years, along with her two daughters Laura and Lila.

Austin Nunez

Tohono O’odham - USA

Austin is the elected chairman of the San Xavier District, one of eleven political districts of the Tohono O’odham Nation (formerly known as the Papago Tribe of AZ) located in southwest Arizona, USA. He is currently serving his eighth four-year term, having served continually since 1987. Prior to being elected, Austin worked as the Assistant Director for Save the Children’s Arizona Indian Nations Office, serving 19 Native American nations in Arizona; he also worked for the Papago Tribe of Arizona’s Community Development Program (the tribe changed their name in 1986 to Tohono O’odham Nation, Tohono means desert, and O’odham means people).

Austin is the current chairman for the Indian Land Working Group, an organization dedicated to the restoration and recovery of the native land base; and the control, use, and management of this land base by indigenous communities.

He is also an active member of the Native American Church of Southern AZ and conducts sweat lodge ceremonies, blessings, and prayers for various events and occasions in, and outside his community.

Néité Décimus

Vodou – Haiti

Néité of Lakou Papiyon is a houngan, Vodou Priest or Guardian of the Haitian Vodou Tradition. He blends ancestral wisdom with western training in anthropology and psychology to treat mental illness. He also specializes in healing relationship challenges especially those that involve reuniting with loved ones and/or situations that call for support with legal issues.

Neite is certified by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), and a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA) and the American Mental Health Counsellor Association (AMHCA).

ROSALIA LEMUS DE LA ROSA (MAMA CHALI)

Wixárika - Mexico

We are happy to host Rosalia Lemus de la Rosa, a Marakame (the one that can dream, heal and sing - master shaman) from the Wixarika culture from Mexico.

Rosalia grew up in a cave, naked, until she was 12 years old, coming from an unbroken lineage of Marakames. She married Don Eustolio Rivera De La Cruz around 65 years ago and they worked together up until his recent passing this year. She is a Living Library of knowledge with remarkable humility and incredible stories ~ as well as miraculous healing gifts.

Modesto Rivera

Wixárika - Mexico

Son of Eustolio and Mama Chaly, Modesto is a spiritual leader and political representative of the state of Nayarit, Mexico. He was born in a Wixarika community in the high mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental, coming from an unbroken lineage of Marakames he started his studies at an early age under his parents and followed the sacred path throughout his entire life, learning all about the Wixarika cosmology, music and art. Modesto is a gifted musician who has received and written many of the traditional Wixarika chants, his ceremonies are led by the violin and the traditional canari guitar and dance.

Modesto is a traditional storyteller, he wrote and illustrated the book 'When Animals Were People'.

Matsini Yawanawa

Yawanawa - Brazil

Matsini, the Chief of Aldeia Mutum, comes from an unbroken lineage of pajes (master shamans), studying with his teacher and legendary Pajé Tata from childhood till a few years ago when Tata passed away.

Matsini became a Pajé around the age of 18 and has been deepening his studies ever since constantly doing diets to strengthen his connection with the Uni (ayahuasca) and the Yawanawa prayers and traditions. His sisters are the first-ever female Pajé’s of the Yawanawa tribe, Hushahu, Putany, & Waxy, and also study in Mutum.

Matsini works year-round with groups dieting in Mutum, sharing his prayers and traditions with a few close students, and is focused on NGO work via Floresta Association, a non-profit aiming to create sustainability in Mutum for generations to come.

Hushahu Yawanawa

Yawanawa - Brazil

Hushahu was the first woman of the Yawanawa who entered into a shamanic study, which later paved the way for many women to become spiritual leaders. After showing much curiosity about spiritual training at a young age, her father Tuinkuru and Pajé Tata eventually guided her as she completed a diet of one year and three months isolated in the forest with her teachers. This is where she began to discover the secrets of the Pajés as a woman, expressing this through her art and her voice. The designs that she received are now used in the artworks of many different tribes in Brazil. During her diet, she received female voices that taught her many traditional songs. Following her diet, she continued to study with Tata until he passed. Hushahu has become a great inspiration for female empowerment for the Yawanawa and for women from different regions of the planet. Each year, she organizes a women's retreat in her village, Mutum, where women from all over the world come together to study and discover how to step into their power.

Tuikuru Yawanawa

Yawanawa - Brazil

Son of Matsini, Kuru is 16 and on his way to becoming a Pajé, following his ancestors' footsteps and legacy in Mutum. He grew up studying with his father Matsini since he was a little boy. He studies the Yawanawa traditions and prayers constantly and is an inspiration to his community.

His prayers are powerful and very focused, he will become a Pajé in the next couple of years, when he’s old enough to take the sacred oath. Kuru assists Matsini with all the rapé making and works in the gardens with all the sacred plants. This is his first time in the United States and he is very excited to travel and help create awareness and share his people’s culture.

LánéSAán Moonwalker

Yoreme / Apache - USA

LánéSaán Moonwalker has been an oracle, healer, spiritual teacher, and environmental guardian for more than 45 years.

Láné began her training in the healing arts at the age of 12 from members of her family who were highly skilled curanderas (traditional healers who combine Native and Catholic spiritual beliefs and practices). From her mother, she learned to work with creative expression as a doorway to spirit.

Láné is an accomplished artist, a weaver, and a painter, as well as a dancer and singer, and holds a degree in humanities and the visual arts from the University of Colorado. She has been a licensed minister for more than 32 years and is a Canon in the Brigade of Light.

Láné has studied with many spiritual teachers, including artist, writer, and visionary Joseph Rael (Beautiful Painted Arrow), Eric Tao, and Marian Starnes.

In 1987, she met her main teacher Tu Moonwalker, an Apache, the great great granddaughter of Cochise. Tu was the holder of this unbroken Moonwalker lineage and Láné is an acknowledged part of that it, in addition to being from an unbroken lineage herself through her Yaqui grandmother. Together Tu and Láné founded the Philosophy of Universal Beingness within the Whole. The foundation of this system is about working with nature in a sacred way.

matzuwa oscar

Yoreme - Mexico

Matzuwa Oscar comes from the Yoreme people of Sinaloa, Mexico. He has been a pilgrim of the Wirikuta desert for over 16 years, learning within the Wixarika tradition. He has taken the sacred oath as a marakame (spiritual guide) in Wirikuta as well as different spiritual initiations and vision quests which also granted him the fire to run Inipis (Sweat Lodges).

Matzuwa is a traditional singer and musician, a member of the Native American church, and also a carrier of the Half Moon Altar. Oscar is also an anthropologist specialized in traditional medicine, he wrote his thesis on the traditional and medicinal uses of Peyote. He is a founding member of cultural association Raíces del Corazón de la Tierra, in both Mexico and Catalunya, Spain.

IN MEMORY OF

Don Eustolio Rivera De La Cruz

Wixárika - Mexico

We honor the life of the great Marakame,  Don Eustolio Rivera De La Cruz. A Marakame (the one that can dream, heal and sing - master shaman) of true and gentle power, the love he brought to this world was of the highest, purest and strongest kind. Don Eustolio lived and walked his path of light as a warrior, teacher, husband, father, and grandfather. Not just to his family but to all of us. To anyone lucky enough to have known him and received his blessing. Don Eustolio started his spiritual lifetime commitment as a Marakame at 12 years old and became a legend in Mexico, working with the ancient form of healing that involves sucking disease out of one’s body. 

He carried with him the teachings of his grandfather, and his profound wisdom transformed and healed everyone he touched. He was a living library of knowledge with remarkable humility and incredible stories ~ as well as miraculous healing gifts. Yours was the way of the heart Don Eustolio. The way of the deer. Of courage and devotion to your community. You lived for others with the highest expression of selfless love and service. You brought the purity of your medicine, joy in your heart, and healing in your touch. You were the greatest of men and an eternal child. Playful, laughing, and joking to the very end. You radiated joy with your youthful spirit and amazing sense of humor, you were tireless. At nearly 100 years old you could out dance anyone. You lived with your bare feet on Mother Earth, blessing her with every step. 

A natural man, devoted to your beloved Mama Chali, you showed us how to live in sacred partnership. You took little, gave all, and sung your great song. So, sing your song and play your violin for the last time. On your journey to the stars. We will never forget you. We will miss you so very much. You live in our hearts as we have lived in yours.

TATA PEDRO CRUZ

Maya TZ’UTUJIL - Guatemala

We honor the life of one of the last authentic Guatemalan Mayan TZ’UTUJIL, Tata Pedro Cruz. An acclaimed spiritual figure and international ambassador of world peace. His teachings include Mayan culture, cosmology, sacred calendars, and ancient oral Maya wisdom.

Tata Pedro is a founder of the Unification of Ancestral Wisdom festival in Tikal, Guatemala, which brings fragmented Mayan descended tribes together to promote the oral traditions, rituals, and ancient Mayan culture and to share this wisdom with the world. He recognizes the interconnectedness of all people, expanding planetary consciousness, and the urgent need to unify our spiritual, cultural, and ethnic wisdom for the benefit of the planet and humanity.

He is known for his phrase, “No matter what happens, everything with love!”