Chief Valerio Cohaila
A native Aymara from Tacna, Peru, Don Valerio Cohaila (Freddy) is a teacher of this ancient wisdom. He is an YATIRI (priest), born in the Khallawaya community, 13,000 feet high in the Andes, the frontier for Peru and Bolivia. As an heir to the Andes/Amazon tradition, when the 10th cycle of the Pachacuteq Calendar started, in1992 he was sent to Europe and North America by his Elders to share their traditions and to fulfill the Hopi Prophesy that states: When the Condor of the South meets the Eagle of the North and they fly together, then it will be the sign that the Children of the Mother Earth are reawakening. We are honored to have Freddy at the Gathering this year as he has been from the very beginning of this event. This year, he will share The Message of the Inca Elders.
Dan is an Anishinaabe and is a volunteer mentor for at risk youth. He's also a spiritual adviser for the department of social services treatment facilities. He facilitates spring and fall ceremonies as given to him in dreams. Dan will be performing with his drum troupe and will facilitate sweat lodge and give traditional teachings.
Jerry Honawa is a Hopi Village Elder from Hotevilla, Arizona. He is the Clan Patriarch of the Rabbit-Tobacco Clan. He was born and raised on the Hopi Reservation in Northern Arizona. His maternal grandfather was his spiritual mentor and teacher just as he is today for many of the young men in his village. He is an experienced public speaker having an encompassing understanding of the Hopi world view. His knowledge of his people's cultural history is rich and informative. He has also served as a Cultural Advisor and Administrative Consultant for Black Mesa Trust in Kykotsmovi, Arizona. This non-profit environmental organization is a grass-roots initiative founded by traditional Hopi farmers and elders to save the water under Black Mesa for future generations from contamination and depletion by the Peabody Western Coal Company.
My Honawa has also been actively involved as a teacher/mentor for two student exchanges between elementary school children from the Hopi Reservation and the City of Sedona, Arizona.
Nayoka H. Blackbird
Nayoka is a Coahuiltecan/Mescalero Apache and is a respected elder and leader in her native community. She has traveled throughout Europe, North Africa, Central and South America, Indonesia and the UK and has spent many years visiting and studying with village elders with a primary interest in Andean and Mayan cultures. Nayoka has been a ceremonial dancer at Rose Bud Reservation, South Dakota for 26 years and is a mother of three sons, a grandmother, and has raised ten foster children.
Mr. Curtis Kekahbah is a Kanza Indian who is enrolled in the Kaw Nation of Oklahoma ("People of the South Wind"). He is a traditional counselor at the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System as well as a veteran of the U.S. Army. He oversees Native American ceremonies, conducts traditional healing services, and provides counseling. He is also faculty for a "Gathering of Healers" program which is a four day experiential spiritual program that allows VA Participants to learn beyond a didactic level.
Mr Kekahbah provides presentations on traditional indigenous beliefs and sacred aspects of life. He leads Native imagery exercises as well as various ceremonies to fully engage participants and orient them to the traditional Native American paradigm of spirit, mind and body. He is also a contributing author to "Light of Consciousness: Journal of Spiritual Awakening," a quarterly publication of the Truth Consciousness Ashram. Mr Kekahbah embodies the role of a traditional American Indian Elder and is frequently engaged by participants from across the nation with questions on ceremony, ritual, spirituality, and life way practices. His calm and stable presence, body of knowledge, and life experience make him a welcoming presence to all people.
Tahnahga Myers is a Taino, Mohawk woman who was adopted into the Anishinabe way by her Grandmother of the Midwest. For 23 years Tahnahga was an apprentice with her Grandmother Keewaydinoquay, an Anishinaabeg Elder of the Crane Clan and a scholar, ethno-botanist, herbalist, medicine woman, teacher and author. Tahnahga also attended the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where she got a degree in Rehabilitation Counseling with an emphasis on chemical dependency and traditional healing methods for Native people. Tahnahga's work comes from her deep sense of her identity as a Native woman. She uses her ancestral teachings to work for peace,comfort and healing. Tahnahga serves as an independent consultant and trainer to local and national agencies throughout the United States. Her skills include counseling, training, program development, restorative justice work, and group facilitation. Also a performing artist, Tahnahga has written and produced numerous plays that express the balance, harmony and inherent responsibilities of the spirit in today's world. Her plays bring together many different art forms; painting, beadwork, traditional dance, poetry, music and audio art. Through her poetry and storytelling, she seeks to help Native people access their visions. Her writing reflects her own Native spirituality remembered through visio0n and dreaming. Her poetry and storytelling explore the cycles of life. With this focus, she hopes to deepen the awareness that spirituality is alive and strong, able to meet the needs of the Seventh Generations.
Roxanne Gould (Odawa/Ojibwe) received her BA and MA from the University of South Dakota and her doctorate at the University fo Minnesota in education with her research emphasis on global Indigenous education and leadership. Her most recent research was looking at Indigenous education best practice models with an emphasis on the Maori of New Zealand. Roxanne presently works as a consultant to Indigenous Educational Design and teaches American Indian Studies and education courses at Augsburg College. Her previous work experience includes serving on the faculty of Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, and as director for the American Indian Learning Resource Center at the University of Minnesota. As a past recipient of boht a Bush and Kellogg Leadership fellowships, Roxanne was afforded the opportunity to research and work with Indigenous people and leaders in Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cuba, Sweden, Norway, China, New Zealand and Canada. Most recently she co-lead seminars to Namibia, Africa and Bolivia where she facilitated a 3 year agreement with their Ministry of Decolonization to work on issues in education, climate change, culture and cosmovision and health and wellness. Her passion to create Indigenous global alliances also opened doors to organize Indigenous exchanges to New Zealand, Australia, Mexico and Basque country. Roxanne is also the co-founder of the Sharing the Dream/Indigenous Women's Exchange, an Indigenous community development project in Guatemala. She also serves on the boards of Dream of Wild Health, Bdote Learning Center, Indigenous Educational Institute and the American Indian Advisory board of the Science Museum of MN. Roxanne's work reflects her commitment to social justice and methods of decolonization that will bring about healing in Indigenous communities.
James Rock (Dakota) has a Master's degree in educationa dn has taught astronomy, chemistry and physics for 30 years. He currently serves as a consultant to NOAA and NASA and teaches a Native Skywatchers course at Augsburg College. His work as a consultant with Indigenous Educational Design lead to contracts with Native Americans in Philanthropy and several other Native and non-Native organizations.
James has taught Astronomy and American Indian philosophy at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College where he also tutored and inspired urban Native students to see and experience science throughta combination of western and Native knowledge. Jim's unique approach to teaching has inspired many students, both Native and Non-Native, to seek careers in STEM/science, anthropology and education. He most recently was the principle investigator and designed the first Native American experiment aboard STS-135 Atlantis, on the last NASA space shuttle which also involved Native students from the American Indian OIC high school, the Science Museum of MN, and Dream of Wild Health which is a Native youth gardening project. His present work includes the Onandaga Nation Tribal School and the MOST Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse, New York as a consultant on the NASA-Beautiful Earth Team.
As a consultant with the MN Planetarium Society (now UM Bell Museum), James incorporated Indigenous star knowledge in their ExploraDome presentations with exposed 100,000 students to see Earth from space and space from Earth. James was honored to be selected as a Cosmic Serpent fellow. This was an NSF-funded, three year project between Native and Western scientists through museum partnerships. James has worked for organizations such as NOAA, NASA, Indigenous Educational Design, Native Americans in Philanthropy, Minnesota Planetarium Society, Phillips Indian Educators, Dakota Wicohan, Minneapolis Public Schools, MN Historical Society, Science Museum of MN, the 106 Group of Archeologists and the Maya Society of MN. James also speaks at least five languages and has lived, traveled, studied and worked in Japan, Peru,. Ecuador, Bolivia, Spain, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Mexico, Guatemala and Canada. Most Importantly, he is grandfather ("Tunkan") to his five year old, indigenous "skywatcher" who is already learning to love and pass on the ways and languages of her many indigenous nations, ancestors and relatives.
Susana De Leon and The KetzalCoatlicue Aztec Dance Group
Susana De Leon is the director of the KetzalCoatlicue Aztec Dance Group. She was born in Zacatecas in northern Mexico. She attended normal school in Mexico, where she trained as a teacher. She later moved to California and then to Minnesota. She continued her education at the university of Minnesota and is now an immigration attorney.
Ketzal Coalticue (Divine Bird of the serpent skirt) is a Kalpulli (learning community) of Indigenous people joined by the desire to learn, share and live in the tradition of mexicayotl. The main focus of the Kalpulli is to conserve and share the cultural teachings of our ancestors, with dance being one of the essential pieces. KetzalCoatlicue pursues this spiritual, mental, and physical vocation with music from the sacred drum, conch shells, seeds and other instruments gifted by the natural environment. We offer authentic cultural presentations with commentary on the naturall elements depicted in the dance steps and the connection between the dances and the environment.
Gabriele Kushi is a German native and her life is rooted in a deep connection to mohter earth and her lifelong studies of the healing arts. She is a certified holistic health and natural foods coach in the Macrobiotic One Peaceful World tradition and has taught in Europe, Japan, Africa, and throughout the United States. She has a BFA summa cum laude in art and Native American studies and has published a book that contains stories and photos from Native American, African, Asian, American and European women about their midlife passage.
She has apprenticed with the late Denise Brave Heart in the Lakota medicine ways for more than two decades and has worked with elders like Martin High Bear (Lakota), Napoleon Ross (Anishinabe), Thomas Banyacya (Hopi), Dabassa Guyo (African) among many other medicine people.
Gabriele's Northwest Coasts shamanic teacher Johnny Moses, Whis.stem.men.knee (Waling Medicine Robe), gifted her the altar cloth to hold Red Cedar Circles, in honor of the ancient Si.Si.Wiss (sacred Breath, sacred life) medicine way. The circle calls in an atmosphere of prayer, laughter and loving friendship to awaken the healer within each person and to make the changes necessary to open inner channels for the healing spirit of the Creator.
Shannon Kring Buset
In 2008, Shannon Kring Buset left behind her career as the award-winning author of four nonfiction books: executive producer and costar of an Emmy-winning PBS reality-cooking series; and owner of acclaimed restaurants, cooking schools, and culinary merchandise brands. She moved to a remote Maya Ch'or'ti' village on the Honduras-Guatemala border, bringing with her just one suitcase and three goals for inner achievement; to heal her heart, to reconnect with ther spirituality, and to discover her higher purpose. She did just that.
Today Kring Buset is grateful for having lived and worked alongside indigenous elders, spiritual luminaries, world leaders and other awe-inspiring individuals in places as diverse as Indonesia, Finland, and India. She is dedicated to inspiring others to embrace a more soulful existence, adn to preserving dying, living, and emerging wisdom from all four corners of the world.
Kring Buset is a frequent keynote speaker at events across teh globe, and has been featured on CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, FOX, Lifetime, NPR, and in more than 150 publications worldwide, including The Wall Street Journal, SmartMoney Magazing, and Redbook. She recently wrote, directed and produced the award-winning film 2012: The Beginning.
Tata Pedro Cruz Garcia
Tata Pedro Cruz is one of the last authentic Mayan TZ'UTUJIL Elders of San Pedro La Laguna, a region that surrounds the famous Lake Atitlan in Guatemaya. He is an acclaimed spiritual figure and an international ambassador of world peace. Tata Pedro is one of the principal authorities of the council of Mayan Elders of Lake Atiotlan. He has received the title of " Heart of the Lake Atitlan: K'U'XYA, by his fellow Mayan elders and his TZ'TUJIL people.
He has traveled around the world and visited more than a hundred countries spreading a message of peace, love and unity. His teachings include Mayan Culture, Mayan cosmology, and the Mayan Calendars along with the oral ancient wisdom of the Maya. He is a traditional Mayan Ajq'ij and Day Keeper and is genuine guardian of the last traditions of Guatemaya. He has recently inaugurated a traditional Mayan school for the youth in San Pedro, La Laguna in hopes to preserve the legacy and folklore of the TZUTUJIL Maya of Lake Atitlan.
Tata Pedro is one of the founders and head of the Unification of Wisdom festivals in Tikal Peten Guatemala. These festivals have brought together the fragmented Mayan descended tribes throughout Guatemala to promote the oral traditions, rituals and culture of the ancient Mayans and to share this wisdom with the world. He has expanded festival beyond the wisdom of the ancient Mayans by including ancestral wisdom from other cultures around the world. He recognizes the interconnectedness of all people, of the expanding consciousness of the planet, and the urgent need to unify our spiritual, cultural and ethnic wisdom for the benefit of the planet and humanity.
Shuni Giron, aka SHUMANTLA - FENIX
Shuni Giron was born in Guatemaya, Central America and is a Mayan AJQ'IJ (spiritual guide) and Mayan Day Keeper. She has a doctorate in Naturopathy Medicine and is an Iridologist. She completed her studies on the Mayan Calendars in 2005 under the tutelage of Tata Pedro Cruz. She has worked with Mayan Elders Carlos Barrios and Adriana Rojas in their Heart Land Tour in Chicago and Wisconsin in 2011. Most recently, she has had the priviledge to be named Teh Official Guardian of the "Popol Vuh in Chicago" by the Maximum Mayan authorities from Chichicastenango. She was one of the collaborators and spiritual teachers at the Mayan Unification Festival in Tikal, Guatemala in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. In May, 2010, she was part of a series for WGBH Television in New York called "An Invitation to World Literature". A series about the 13 most important texts in the world. She explained the importance of the sacred text, "The Popol Vuh" among living Maya today, along with Richard Hansen, Michael Coe, Allen Christenson, David Damrosch and many other Mayan scholars. In Sept, 2011, she worked with the Brad Meltzer Decoded Show for the History Channel about the Mayan Prophesies and the year 2012. Shuni is the founder and president of the Kasa Kame (House of the Magnificent and Spiritual Arts) a non-profit organization in Guatemaya that is dedicated to the transformation of the human spirit through alternative therapies, active consciousness, environmental awareness and artistic performance.
Miguel Sobaoko Koromo Sague (Black Ribs)
Miguel Sague is a Taino Indigenous spiritual guide from Cuba. His is descended from the original indigenous inhabitants of the Caribbean area. He was trained by a Taino teacher from Boriken (Puerto Rico). He operates within the ancient shamanic tradition of his Caribbean ancestors and guides both individuals and groups through the processes of shamanic journeying, healings, afterlife psychopomp, vision questing, soul retrievals, and learning transitions. Miguel has been sought out by prominent television paranormal investigators as an on-screen commentator.
Miguel is the founder and leader of a spiritual community called Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle. The organization is dedicated to the reawakening of the spiritual traditions of the ancient Taino people of the Caribbean. Their work includes traditional ceremonies and communal sharing. It also includes research and spiritually inspired interpretation of the ancient Taino Scared narratives as they have been passed down from ancient times of contemporary people and also as they were presented in the writings of the early colonial chroniclers. They are committed to the accurate interpretation of the ethnological record left by these same chroniclers concerning the ancient spiritual tradition of their ancestors as well as the interpretation of archeological material left by their ancestors in their sacred sites. They base their interpretation primarily on comparative study of the material in light of research and information acquired from related present-day Indigenous inhabitants of the Orinoco Rivre basin, who they believe are surviving relatives of their ancient ancestors.
Misha Dancing Waters
Misha Dancing Waters is a life-long student of the cultures, spiritual beliefs, and healing practices of the native peoples of the Americas. her educational background includes a wide variety of traditions and teachers: Alberto Villoldo, Jose Luis Herrera, the Sinte Gleska People (Rosebud Sioux), and numerous others. Misha brings a worldly-vision to her work and teachings as she has lived and taught in Ecuador, has traveled extensively throughout Central, South America, and the Caribbean. Currently, she is offering personal healing sessions, classes on Shamanism, Native American Spiritualism, and personal healing methods and techniques in Madison, WI and beyond.
Brenda has a calling as healer and creative spirit. Filled with wonder for all that is sacred, Brenda's journey has been one of exploration and integration. SHe has been a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner for over 30 years in addition to learning and practicing various alternative healing arts, yoga and dance. Brenda has been trained in Peruvian shamanic practices and participates in Native American/Anishinaabe spirituality, sweatlodges and dances. Her collage of life experiences and interests allows Brenda to bring together ceremony and ritual as she connects to the spiritual nature of the world and it's people.
Nancy Nielsen has studied core shamanism through Michael Harner's Foundation for Shamanic Studies. She co-leads the Drum and Journey Circle and teaches shamanism at Pathways in Minneapolis. Nancy is also certified in Healing Touch and has attended many Native American ceremonies including pow-wows, sweat lodges, and sundances.
Timothy Cope is a Twin Cities writer, storyteller, firewalker and shamanic practitioner who has been exploring the shamanic path for over 29 years, principally under the guidance of Michael Harner and Sandra Ingerman. He has been certified as a shamanic counselor by the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and has been extensively trained in a wide range of shamanic techniques. For over 19 years, he has taught classes in shamanism and facilitated journeying circles at Pathways, an alternative healing center in Minneapolis. Timothy is on the faculty of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and teaches workshops throughout the upper Midwest. He lives and maintains a healing practice in Minneapolis.
Nancy and Timothy will co-lead an experiential presentation on Shamanic Journeying at this years Gathering.
Elle Allen, S/K/A Llewelyn, is a poet and certified YogaFit instructor. She holds a Master's Degree in Human Resources and Industrial Relations and has been on the shamanic path for several years. Within her Christianity background, she sought many years from one denomination to another to find an atmosphere of open-mindedness combined with genuine caring and enthusiastic spirituality. She found such a combination in the metaphysical philosophy of Unity Worldwide Ministries and is currently a member fo Unity of the Valley Spiritual Center in Savage, MN where she serves a Prayer Chaplain.
Deeper drums also call her spiritually and having apprenticed with Allen Brown, Llewelyn has been initiated with the rites of the Andean Q'ero mesa-crarrying tradition and carries this connection with great honor and respect. She facilitates occasional yoga and spirituality retreats and workshops, women's' circles, and meditative drumming circles in the southwest Twin Cities suburbs.
"Embrace with me, in wonderment, the Great Mystery: the One which manifests in a balanced dance of constantly evolving diversity." L