By Mary Olivar, Board Vice President, Center for Shamanic Education and Exchange
The Center for Shamanic Education and Exchange (CSEE) is pleased to announce changes in the Board of Directors. We welcome our newest members, Veena Fox Parekh and Ra James.
Veena’s 20+ year career has spanned the international development and non-profit sectors, corporate communications, and consulting for social impact businesses. She has been a student of shamanic practices for more than 20 years and believes that Indigenous knowledge and wisdom are critical to uphold – both as a social justice imperative and as a powerful guide for how humankind can create a sustainable future for all beings.
Ra integrates transformational ancient wisdom for future-ready leadership. Mentored by various Indigenous elders from around the world, Ra brings aspects of these global wisdom traditions forward as medicine for modern times. He is the founder of Future Elders, an 8-week online un/school focused for elders-in-training, (re) Biz, a 31-day workshop that restores right-relationship between business & Earth, and Pueo, a regenerative business consulting company.
Additionally, we’d like to convey our appreciation to those members leaving CSEE who have served on the board for many years. Much gratitude to Adam Shaening Pokrasso for his dedication and service to the CSEE board. We wish him well in his new endeavors. We also send our deep appreciation to CSEE co-founder, Lena Stevens, who will be leaving the Board of Directors and joining our newly formed Advisory Board. We are grateful to have Lena’s continued guidance and support. Thank you Lena for over 15 years of dedication and service to CSEE and this work! You can learn more about the CSEE Board here https://shamaniceducation.org/board/
CSEE has made some staff changes and we would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to Pallah Baker, who stepped down as the Director of Operations in February. Her organizational wizardry and dedication to the vision of what we do has been a boon to CSEE and all its moving parts. Thanks Pallah! We’d like to extend a welcome to our new Director of Operations, JoDee Powers. JoDee has been a Shamanic Practitioner for over 25 years, studying with a variety of indigenous elders from traditions of South Africa, South and North America and the UK. JoDee believes that indigenous knowledge and earth-based practices are vital keys to restoring self, community and the Earth. Professionally, she has worked in the non-profit world for much of her career and brings her skills of executive leadership and management, program development and fundraising to supporting the vision and mission of CSEE.
Ongoing support of other Huiricuta projects
We would like to share a time sensitive call to action to support the Huiricuta Natural and Cultural reserve as they pursue full UNESCO World Heritage status. Becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site will protect the area around Real de Catorce and the Wixarika sacred pilgrimage route to Quemado in Mexico. You can donate directly to the Real De Catorce Foundation, an American 501C-3 Registered Foundation that fiscally sponsors their sister organization, Fundación Real De Catorce A.C. in Mexico, supporting their work and partnership with Conservación Humana A.C..
Learn more here:
Make a donation to the Real de Catorce Foundation here: https://www.mightycause.com/organization/The-Real-De-Catorce-Project
Current Project Updates and New Project Announcements!
Maya Traditions in Guatemala
Last year CSEE supported the Maya-focused, non-profit Saq Be’ to help start a medicinal and educational garden in Guatemala. The community is looking forward to their next season of growing traditional healing plants at their ceremonial center.
Now working on a new apprenticeship program, Saq Be’ is helping to partner elders with young people in their communities to advance the intergenerational knowledge transfer necessary for the Maya lineage to remain vital. CSEE has pledged its support for this new project, which will support five Maya communities throughout Guatemala.
Wixárika Project in Mexico
Our temple restoration and building project with the Wixárika (Huichol) people in the community of Tuapurie was completed when the current jicareros (shamans) completed the traditionally made ‘shaman chairs’ and mats for the new incoming jicareros, who will serve the community for the next five years. Here is a link to the final part of the project: https://shamaniceducation.org/shop/
We wish to thank our liaisons, Totupica Candelario Robles, Tuapurie community leader, and Humberto Fernández Borja, Humana Foundation director, for their help and support making this successful project possible. We are currently exploring the possibilities of new projects with this community and with the greater Wixarika people. We look forward to sharing more updates soon.
Kurin Metsa School in Peru
The school currently has 4 students including Edith the senior apprentice. They hope to add 2 or 3 more students in the future. Currently, students are continuing to diet with the plants, take care of the garden, and plant new medicinal plants. They are learning and improving their icaros and healing techniques, including Shipibo massage and making plant baths and steams. New kene cloths and textiles have been uploaded to the store. Shop here to support the Shipibo. https://shamaniceducation.org/shop
New Project in Colombia!
We are thrilled to be supporting a gathering of Indigenous midwives and apprentices from multiple Indigenous groups around Colombia. Much of this gathering will feature teachings and knowledge sharing from a samha, a midwife, from the Kogi Nation. The Kogis are considered to be keepers of rich and deep spiritual traditions, which are woven throughout their lives and practices. They live in a mountain basin in the world’s highest coastal mountain range in northern Colombia. This project would support the sharing of the Kogi teachings and practices with Indigenous communities in other parts of Colombia. We will be sharing more about this project in future newsletters.
With your support and generosity we are able to support these projects and 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/