Elders of ICSAW
Council Members of International Center of Spiritual & Ancestral Wisdom
We work together to protect our sacred sites and our environment.
We are planetary advocates helping to restore the lands, animals and the natural world.
Grand Chief of ICSAW • Minnesota, United States
Grand Chief Woableza (Wo-a-blay-za) is a Holyman and Wisdom Keeper of indigenous peoples.
A Lakota/Dakota elder, whose spiritual name “Woableza” identifies him as “One who seeks the Knowledge of Life” or “One looking for Understanding.” He has traveled throughout the Americas for the past 37 years, acquiring and sharing indigenous stories and wisdom regarding care for the land and people. He has produced films, TV programs, educational programs, and has worked with a number of Native American organization concerned with health, media, spirituality and the environment.
Woableza is a great grandson of the famed Dakotah Sioux “Chief Ti Wakan” (Sacred Lodge) who was instrumental in restoring peace between the Dakota and the United States Army during the great Indian wars. He is a follower of the teachings of the famous Lakota Holyman, Chief Tatanka Iyotake (Sitting Bull). Woableza is a Peace Teacher. He teaches about peace found within and peace among people and nations. He teaches about finding peace with Mother Earth and all creation.
Woableza is also an Elder with the Spirit Walkers of Turtle Island. He was a member of the National Congress of American Indians, National Museum of American Indian and the Native American Producers Association. Woableza proudly comes from Buffalo Nation.
Cristobal Cojtí García
Day Keeper of the Mayan Calendar and Cosmology • Guatemala
The prophecy of the Eagle, Quetzal and Condor was brought forth through the Mayan people. Ixmucané Oxlajuj Ei Guadalupe Cojtí Socop, is a young Mayan woman who inherits the struggles and knowledge of the Mayan people. She carries the wisdom in building new leadership, which is needed in liberating the ancestral colonial people. She is a Mayan priestess since birth and completing an education in law.
Cristobal and Ixmucané will explain to us the teachings of the Sacred Calendar and how we can use this knowledge to shift our world into a better future for this generation, for our children and for our future.
Juan Gabriel Apaza Lonasco
Spiritual Elder • Peru
Juan Gabriel Apaza Lonasco is a respected wisdom-keeper of the Q’ero Nation of Peru. Known as the last living descendants of the Inka bloodline, and the keepers of the coca wisdom, the Q’ero still follow the ancient traditions of their ancestors by paying hommage to the Mother Earth (Pachamama) and the Apus (mountain guardians) through traditional “saminchay” fire ceremonies. Juan Gabriel dedicates his life to sharing ancestral wisdom and traditional ceremony to heal at all levels. This passion has guided him to travel internationally for more than 20 years, engaging with indigenous leaders around the world. His dream is to build the Tawantinsuyo Eco-Temple in Peru to encourage indigenous coalitions at a global level.
Laura Espinoza Cuadras
Laura Espinoza Cuadras was born in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico on May 14th, 1953. She’s 61 years old; a mother and a grandmother. She likes to read and travel, but above all she loves meeting people. Since she was 16 years old she has looked for answers about life and spirituality. She has practiced Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, Yogi Path, Native American Tradition, connecting with Nature, Esoteric Schools and she is a Holistic Therapist Practitioner.
Laura is co-foundress of the first Holistic Center in the city in 1981, a Yoga Instructor and practitioner for over twenty years. She has been leading Women Circles, Tribal Dances, and Sweat Lodges since 1996. Foundress of the First Tibetan Buddhism Meditation Center in the same year. Reiki Master, Holistic Therapist by profession, she is a Workshops, Seminars, and Talks facilitator.
From the last twenty years she has been walking beside Grandmother Margarita and other Grandmothers of the tradition, participating in Grandmothers Circles and Gatherings around several countries. In 1999 she met Adam “Yellow Bird” De Armon in Earthdance Ceremonies in the city of Tecate, Baja California, México, and has been leading women in Earthdances in México, United States, Spain since then. She has been the leader of the Earthdance in the mountains of Jalisco, México since 2013.
Dave Swallow, Jr.
Lakota Elder, South Dakota, United States
My name is Dave Swallow Jr. That’s a Christian name. And my Lakota name is Wowitan Uha Mani, Walks With Pride. I’m a Lakota. And althrough the Bureau of Indian Affairs and to all the way to Washington, the War Department into the White House, I’m known as U22981. That’s me. And I live on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation [South Dakota]. I was born and raised there. Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is United States Prisoner of War Camp Number 344. That’s where I was born and raised.
And I had a woihanble [vision] a long time ago when I was young. A vision was shown to me when I was young. And I completed the quest seven years. And after that, I have visited many, many different cultures; many, many different people throughout the world; not only here in the United States, but throughout the world. I pray with many, many different color of people.
Mato Wiyan, Lakota Spiritual Woman • South Dakoya, United States
My first and only spiritual Lakota name is Mato Wiyan, (Bearwoman). I am full blood, 4/4, BIA # U-28841, from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I am the daughter of Noah Helper and Mary Afraid of Hawk-Mexican, known as Mary Johnson.
On my mother's side I am the granddaughter of the late Charlie Mexican and Dorothy Afraid of Hawk (she is still living).
On my father's side, I am the granddaughter of Jake Helper, son of Samuel Helper, who survived the infamous Wounded Knee Massacre (Samuel was nine years of age during that dark, sad day the Longknives took his entire family) and Evelyn Poor Thunder Helper (still living). Evelyn Poor Thunder Helper is daughter of John Poor Thunder and Carrie Comes Again.
I begin with the permission of my Grandmothers and Mother who seeked council advice from the oldest of our male family members.
I am the wife of David Swallow, Jr. (Wowitan Yuha Mani).
I consider myself no higher nor better than anyone. I believe that we are all the same, that we each all carry a gift from above and below, what's on earth is in the heavens.
I do as I was assigned with spiritual guidance to help whether it's at home or at the ceremonies.
I used to be quiet. I learned to be humble and do my very best to be obedient and honest to whatever I am doing.
As a woman we want our voices heard also in a good way. The people have been through too much suffering as it is. We are all survivors, one way or another. There are certain boundaries that we don't cross when it comes to Medicine People. As I was growing up, I witnessed a lot of abuse and misuse, also neglect, from our people as well as others.
I've seen people come to the Medicine Men and Women with wrong intentions. Our own Lakota people are neglecting the Medicine Men so some of them go out off the reservations. Some of them don't get monthly income from the government or tribe, even food stamps or commodities, but still they continue to help people. I see them that they carry all the ugliness from the negative, so the people could survive. The real enemy is the alcohol and drugs, that is the real war, not among each other in this Sacred Hoop.
If a wrong is committed, what they say is abusive, then pray, so that these things do not happen again. I learned that the Wowakan [the Sacred] takes care of itself, before, during, and after the ceremonies. These accusers should come forward to the ones they are accusing. Not to blame all the Medicine People or the ones that have Altars. There should be a council set for these things to take care of it, the Lakota way. Go to the wise Elders and Medicine People who know how to handle these matters before taking it to another level or even to the White Man's Court.
There are certain issues that belong to the man, and woman should take care of women issues. Its embarrassing that men should step in or even speak about womenly issues. I felt I had to mention this, since this is a Lakota problem.
Women should not be excluded from spiritual problems. Women are important in all tribes. When we gave birth to our generations, we shed blood, pain, and tears, sometime even death. What I'm trying to say is that Mato Wiyan don't like how our nations problems are broadcast all over the world. I feel that the government system is laughing at us, like we can't handle ourselves. We give him the opportunity to add another notch of his belt to say we are incompetant.
We are now living in, and past, some of these prophecy's that the wise Elders and Medicine Men and Women talked about. We should be preparing our children for these things as well. Start saving water, make the dried meat, make the dried corn and berries. Save blankets. Something is coming.
I feel that Great Spirit has given us time to prepare ourselves.
When I am in ceremonies, I hear the women cry. I cry because I know, as women, we're absorbing all of this pain, suffering of the people. We absorb the negatives that are happening with Mother Earth. We feel the war, we know that blood is spilled on the ground someplace, somewhere. When all of this confusion is happening, did not one person bother to ask the mothers of the C'anunpa Carriers, the Sundancers, even the ones that go on the hill? We should have been asked what we wanted.
My husband and I, our family, has been under fire from rumors and gossip for seven long years. I have seen our children get cornered, I've seen how they do their best to defend the family and themselves from our own people who savagely attacked us year after year. But still we continue like the buffalo against the storm. We have taken courage beyond anything to continue our lives. We walked beyond the limits of forgiveness. Great Spirit made everything that is on this earth, that even includes all mankind, these are all his sacred children. Whether they commit good or wrong in Great Spirit's eyes, there is no color.
We have a lot of healing work to do. Those of us who are spiritual people like the C'anunpa Carriers, the ones that Sundance, that go up on the hill. Stop arguing about these sacred matters and let's get to work.
Spiritual Elder & Cultural Ambassador • Arizona, United States
James Uqualla is a member of the Havasupi Tribe (people of the blue-green waters). He brings the voice of the Havisupi Spiritual tribe. He is an Ambassador and Cultural Guardian.
Elder and Workshop Presenter: Prayershop, Playshop, Workshop
From the Heart of the Grand Canyon, the Havasupai Tribe live in the most beautiful and remote areas of the western Grand Canyon. Supai village is located in Havasu Canyon, which is accessible only by foot, horseback, or helicopter.
Eons of ancestors have brought wisdom and teachings still relevant for the present times and people.
Uqualla was born into a family with a Medicine Man Grandfather, Arthur Kaska. His mother, the daughter of Kioska, was given the knowledge of the traditional ways—hunts, deer tanning, gourd making, singing and dances, she passed these gifts to her children.
The ancestral ways have provided the themes for many speaking engagements. All of life’s events are the reflection of the world’s people at large. They key is to interpret the meanings appropriate to the times and ages.
The ethereal art of Coyote Telling is ages old and performed in tribal settings of canyon, cave, mountain and desert. Ceremonial Theater is the medium of expression.
As a recognized ceremonial entity, spiritual advisor, Uqualla is called to officiate unions, birth, blessings and healings. Tools of the spirits, eagle feathers, bones, medicine plants, drums, gourds, fire, water, assist in the needed healings, awakenings and transformations. Some call him a medicine man, sage, storyteller, wisdom keeper and priest.
His journey has blessed him with the divine meetings of spiritual leaders, tribally, nationally and globally. My Sacred Oratory, a lecture, is heard through out Japan, Europe, South America, and the United States. See his website: Uqualla.com
Patricio O. Dominguez
Spiritual Guide • Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Patricio was born in a small traditional community and was cultured by the contact of not only his parents and grandparents that lived in the community but he was fortunate enough to have a great-grandmother’s influence until he was thirteen. His great-grandmother’s specialty was herbs and his grandmother healed by the power of touch now called Reiki, Joray etc.
At the age of five Patricio was presented in a public ceremony to the medicine men to be blessed as a man of spiritual knowledge and has grown into being a leader of an urban Kiva Society.
Patricio now lives in Albuquerque, is on the advisory committee of the Tinamit Junan Uleu whose mission is to connect people to the natural and spiritual world, and to bridge the wisdom of the Ancient Ones with the world of today, so that the diversity of life can flourish for future generations.
He is on the board of directors of two non-profit corporations, “Church of the Spiritual Path.” The purpose of the Church of the Spiritual Path is to promote spiritual unity with the Creator and all living things on our Mother Earth and the “Institute of Natural and Traditional Knowledge.”
He has be chosen to be a delegate to the Elders Council of North America and was a founder and serves on the Board of Directors of the Confederation of Indigenous Elders and Priests of America the progenitor organization of gatherings like the “Eagle Quetzal Condor” gathering. Patricio’s activities haven also been mentioned in books and Movies.
Pedro Pablo Chuc Pech
Date of birth: June 29, 1941
Counsellor Yucatan Mayan ethnicity 72 years old, and is a member of the Continental Council of Indigenous Elders and Spiritual Guides since 1995. Retired Teachers and passing through the Secretary of Public Education of Mexico not only worked as a classroom teacher but also as a Co-author of Mayan- Spanish bilingual books for students of elementary school where he worked for 35 years. He has lectured on culture in several countries as Germany, Spain, France, Colombia, etc. Currently has a Maya Cultural Center where reading and writing works of the Mayan language including sacred mathematics and writing hieroglyphic. He also receives groups to share Mayan knowledge in the Mayan land.
Ruben Monroe Saufkie SR
Arizona, United States
Ruben Monroe Saufkie SR. is from the Water Clan of the Hopi People of Arizona, USA.
I am doing my best to share our Hopi teachings of finding balance, harmony and unity which leads to peace. I have experienced this to my own recovery of sobriety from alcoholism of over 16 years. It is this personal experience that I have come to help others to empower themselves to change for the betterment within themselves and to also help these that are still suffering. As we know that there are many challenges that we face personally, spiritually and culturally. We need to come together as one as we move into the future together living upon Mother Earth. Kwak-Kwah, Nahongvitotahni, Mumkas.
Chief Phil Lane, JR
Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. is an enrolled member of the Yankton Dakota and Chickasaw Nations and is an internationally recognized leader in human and community development. He was born at the Haskell Indian School in Lawrence, Kansas in 1944, where his mother and father met and attended school.
During the past 45 years, he has worked with Indigenous peoples from North, Central and South America, Micronesia, South East Asia, India, Hawaii and Africa. He served 16 years as an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada (1980-1996). With Elder’s from across North America Phil co-founded the Four Worlds International Institute (FWII) in 1982. FWII became an independent Institute in 1995. As well, Phil is Chairman of the Four Directions Corporation and First Nations Solar, Indigenous owned companies that serve as Four World’s economic development arm.
With Phil’s guidance and applied experience, FWII has become an internationally recognized leader in human, community and organizational development because of the Institute’s unique focus on the importance of culture and spirituality in all elements of development. Four Directions’ is the Institute’s economic development arm. It is dedicated to the development of sustainable economic enterprises that support holistic, political, social, cultural, environmental, and educational development.
In 1977, Phil was named a Modern Indian Sports Great by the National Indian Magazine, Wassaja, for his record-breaking accomplishments in Track and Wrestling. He has extensive experience in his own cultural traditions, is an award winning author and film producer and holds Master’s Degrees in Education from National University, Public Administration from the University of Washington and was awarded a global fellowship to attend the Institute of Arts Administration Summer Intensive, Harvard School of Business, Harvard University
His film credits include the award winning National Public Television series “Images of Indians” with the late Will Sampson, “Walking With Grandfather”, “The Honor of All: The Story of Alkali Lake”, “Healing the Hurts” and “Shift of the Ages (SOTA )”. Shift of the Ages is the story of Mayan Grand Elder Wandering Wolf and his inspiring mission to unify the human family towards peace on Mother Earth and the Reunion of the Condor, Quetzal and Condor. SOTA was released in December, 2012. In January, 2013 SOTA won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the World Interfaith Harmony Film Festival, in April, 2013 SOTA won the Audience Choice for Best Documentary at the Riverside International Film Festival and was the Official Selection at the Sedona International Film Festival in February, 2013 and the Black Hills International Film Festival in May, 2013.
In August, 1992, Phil was the first Indigenous person to win the prestigious Windstar Award, presented annually by the late John Denver and the Windstar Foundation to a global citizen whose personal and professional life exemplifies commitment to a global perspective, operates with awareness of the spiritual dimension of human existence and demonstrates concrete actions of the benefit for humans and all living systems of the Earth. At this International event, in recognition of his lineage and longtime service to Indigenous Peoples and the Human Family, Indigenous Elders from across North America recognized Phil as a Hereditary Chief of the Ihanktonwan Dakota’s through a Traditional Headdress Ceremony.
On November 11, 2000, Phil received the Year 2000 award from the Foundation for Freedom and Human Rights in Berne, Switzerland. Phil is the first North or South American person to receive this award. This International award was given in recognition of Phil’s “unique contributions to improve the lives and future hopes of Indigenous populations. It is primarily based on his most special merits of promoting freedom and justice for Indigenous Peoples by building human and spiritual capacity rather than opposing oppression directly and, as well, for his international visionary initiatives among Indigenous populations by healing the root causes of hopelessness and despair.”
Other winners of these prestigious awards include, Oceanologist Jacques-Yves Cousteau, David Brower, Yevgeni Velikhov, Vice President of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Winner and founder of Kenya’s Greenbelt Movement, Lester Brown, President of the World Watch Institute, the Dalai Lama of Tibet, Dr. Boutros Boutros Ghali, former Secretary General of the United Nations, and British Lord Yehudi Menuhin, musician and philosopher.
On June 21, 2008, Phil was awarded the 14th Annual Ally Award by the Center for Healing Racism in Houston, Texas. The Ally Award is an annual award presented by the Houston-based Center for the Healing of Racism to honor the achievements of those who have worked hard to achieve harmony of all ethnic and cultural groups. Phil received the Ally Award for his national and international work in promoting freedom and justice for Indigenous Peoples by building human and spiritual capacity that focuses on healing the root causes of racism and oppression rather than focusing on conflict. Special emphasis on this award is for Lane’s dedicated work, for more than nineteen years, as one of the primary leaders in the resolution of Canada’s Residential School issue, which involved the sexual, physical, cultural, psychological, and emotional abuse of thousands of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.