The Center for Shamanic Education and Exchange Hosts its Annual Board Gathering By Mary Olivar, Vice President
An inspiring, annual in-person meeting for the Board for the Center for Shamanic Education and Exchange (CSEE) took place on August 23 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Following an opening prayer ceremony, greeting the Directions, the land, and our allies, and setting intentions for the gathering, the board embraced the work ahead of us to review projects, financials, fundraising, and our dreams and goals for 2024.
The meeting began with each board member sharing how the mission of CSEE aligns with our own personal beliefs and purpose. Many of the board members have personal experience and connections to the communities we work with and feel especially grateful to reciprocate support to these communities. During the lunch break, founder, former board member and advisor, Lena Stevens, talked about the origins of and original vision for CSEE when it was founded in 2007.
While the mission has been honed since its inception, the focus of CSEE is still to perpetuate the shamanic wisdom, culture, practice, and traditional ways of life of Indigenous people worldwide. In the afternoon the board focused on current and future projects and ways that we can increase our reach, both in how we are sharing about the projects we are supporting, and in the amount of funds we can generate to support those projects.
The board set intentions to create more shamanic exchanges between Indigenous communities, and to amplify the number of our projects. The board discussed partnering with other organizations to support projects we aren’t currently funding and ways we can align with other organizations to increase the range of resources available to the Indigenous communities we partner with. During the afternoon break, the board celebrated Ben Boomers’ birthday with chocolate cake!
As the board focused on goals for 2024, there was a decision to take a big leap forward in the fundraising arena and the board set their intention to raise $250,000 over the next year. Excited about this big step, the board is reviewing our options and strategy for better storytelling about our projects and ways to reach a broader audience with these beautiful stories.
We are looking forward to sharing more about the important work of the Indigenous communities we partner with in maintaining the practices and traditions that preserve and nurture the human connection with our beloved planet. In January, the board will finalize the budget for 2024 and our strategy for moving forward with new projects and fundraising ideas. The retreat ended with dinner at Maria’s in Santa Fe.
Thank you for being a part of our vision for a future that values the unique wisdom and culture of Indigenous peoples and for your generous part in supporting this vision.
Within the past year, CSEE has funded the following projects:
A project to share the spiritual midwifery practices of the holy women of the Kogi Nation with other Indigenous women in Colombia. More about this project here. https://shamaniceducation.org/csee-funds-traditional-knowledge-sharing-from-the-kogi-women-to-the-amazonian-women-of-colombia/
Supporting the Wixaritari in preserving their sacred lands through the Real de Catorce Project and their work with the Huiricuta Natural and Cultural Reserve and goal of full UNESCO World Heritage status. Learn more here. https://shamaniceducation.org/supporting-the-wixaritari-in-preserving-their-lands-and-heritage/
Deepening our partnership with the Maya-focused, non-profit, Saq Be’, and expanding our support in Guatemala to a new apprenticeship program that partners Mayan elders with young people in their communities to advance the intergenerational knowledge transfer. Read more about this here. https://shamaniceducation.org/csee-supports-guatemalan-apprenticeship-program/
Continuing support of the Shipibo Kurin Metsa school in Peru. The students are continuing to diet with the plants, take care of the garden, and plant new medicinal plants. We will be adding new Shipibo kene song cloths to our shop in time for holiday gift giving. Each cloth is unique and carries its own particular prayer and blessing. You can purchase these here and support the Shipibo apprenticeship program. https://shamaniceducation.org/shop/
CSEE also provided a donation in support of the completion of the Traditional Diné Hoghan Project. Located in the Southwest, this project is working to re-plaster and reinforce a ceremonial hoghan.
Support their project here: https://givebutter.com/hoghan
Your purchase from our online shop makes a difference! This featured textile is called “Song of tobacco and Anaconda for good luck”. Our shop provides you with an opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind, hand made items that come directly from the Shipibo and Huichol people we work with. Browse our shop right here: https://shamaniceducation.org/shop/
Your donations support our projects, helping us continue our mission to perpetuate the shamanic wisdom, culture, practice, and traditional ways of life of Indigenous people worldwide. Please accept our gratitude for your continued support and contributions. https://shamaniceducation.org/get-involved/donate/