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Current Projects

We have several funding programs for 2015 and beyond:

Spirit Keepers Journey

This video (07:54) about Kenosis Spirit Keepers was created by Jacob Devaney (courtesy of Culture Collective).

Kenosis Spirit Keepers provides indigenous "bridge builders" in the Americas, who have shared interests, parallel traditions or overlapping geographic roots, ways to connect with each other on an intimate, small group level. Through ceremonial time in sacred sites and interchanges it is our intent that indigenous traditions are strengthened and sustained.

We ask the Native community to create a travel group of leaders to serve as placeholders both during the travels and upon return to their home community, as well as young people who are positive role models, but who may be living in high-risk situations.

During the Summer 2008 journey, Hopi Wisdom Keeper Harold Joseph spoke to Q'ero spiritual leaders who were traveling with us, "You are my brothers and sisters! When I am at home and pray for rain for my corn, I pray for your corn..." See a video from this journey.

This program is open to any other travelers who are interested and wish to support indigenous wisdom. Details available on our Events page. A portion of the program tuition is tax-deductible and goes to support Kenosis Spirit Keepers programs.

Spirit Keepers Sponsorships

We provide designated sponsorships for Indigenous leaders and young adults to take part in cross-cultural exchange programs in Peru, Bolivia, Mexico and Guatemala. Our work is centered on the Q'ero, Quechua, Aymara, Maya and Hopi peoples because of their migration paths or other common threads.

The Heart of the Andes. Since 2007 we have provided sponsorships for Hopi leaders to participate in spiritual travel programs in Peru. In 2015 Bolivia has been added. The purpose is to bring them together with their relations to share traditions and visit sacred sites along their migration path.

In addition, we have sponsored ceremonial circles with Q'ero spiritual leaders to share their sacred ways. On specified programs, we sponsor travel for small groups of Q'ero medicine people, community leaders and young adults so they may experience sacred sites distant from their home villages, those of their Incan origins.

See photos of past journeys.

For spiritual travel to Bolivia and Peru, September 23-October 7, 2016:
Sponsorships are designated for one Hopi and six Q'ero travelers. Go to The Heart of the Andes program page to view detailed information.

Entering the Maya Mysteries. Since 2008 we have sponsored Hopi leaders from villages Second Mesa and Moenkopi so they may continue weaving connections with the Maya peoples of Mexico and Guatemala through ceremony and travel to sacred sites upon their migration path.

Download The Last Spirit Keeper by Carla Woody, a featured article in Sacred Fire Magazine in Fall 2012, which shows how creating a space for healing has far-reaching and powerful effect in this progressive story of connection between the Hopi and Lacandón Maya.

Grandmother Flordemayo, Maya member of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, was sponsored on the 2013 program. View her impressions in the video below.

For spiritual travel to Mexico:
Sponsorship is designated for one Hopi Wisdom Keeper. Go to the Maya Trip page to view detailed information.

We ask your assistance in gathering funds to fully support all Spirit Keepers Journey sponsorships. These are annual programs. Donate now.

Spirit Keepers 2007-2015


Young Adult Sponsorship Program

This program is currently on hold due to limited funds. Please check back.

We offer a limited number of sponsorships for non-native young adults, who are emerging leaders, to participate in programs for cross-cultural exchange and consciousness-raising purposes. For young people just entering adulthood and facing major decisions, their experience imparts what elements are really important in life. Some of those we've sponsored have been at risk. They've used this program as a boost to take them on a new path. Without exception, we've witnessed young people gain new levels of self-esteem and confidence. For more information, see Past Projects or download the application. Donate now to support young adults.

Note: Programs are also open to any other travelers who are interested and wish to support indigenous wisdom. A portion of a program's tuition is tax-deductible for U.S. taxpayers and goes to make Kenosis Spirit Keepers programs possible.

Apply for Young Adult Sponsorship: The purpose of these sponsorships will be to participate in targeted travel programs for cultural exchange purposes. Amounts will normally range between $1,000 to $2000 depending on need. Young adults must meet this criteria: 1) Between the ages of 18 to 25. If over 25 but not more than 27, they must be enrolled in school or have graduated within the last year; 2) Must demonstrate interest in Indigenous traditions. Download the application. For more information, contact us at info@kenosisspiritkeepers.org.

Read some stories from previously sponsored young adults.


Community-Building Projects

Allies Gallery

Allies Gallery logo

The Allies Gallery is a program of Kenosis Spirit Keepers. Through this online art gallery we sponsor talented Indigenous artists who have little to no exposure to the larger world or opportunity to offer their work for sale. Any artist featured has an agreement with Kenosis Spirit Keepers for this purpose.

To learn more about the founding of this program, go here. To view the Allies Gallery or to make a purchase go here.

Keeping traditions in the Q'ero village of Ccochamocco

Designated funding efforts are named on a year-by-year basis to support such activities that are undertaken by the Q'ero community in an effort to protect their ancient Incan culture and increase wellbeing. Support may be in such areas as weaving, agricultural, healing and spiritual traditions to continue stewardship of their past, present and future.

There are currently two projects:

Alpaca Shelters

Alpacas

There is currently no protection for alpaca or sheep herds in Ccochamocco. Over the last few years the village has experienced increasing climate change issues with extreme, unexpected snowfall. At such times some alpacas and sheep succumbed, particularly pregnant mothers and babies. The Q’ero depend on their herds for survival.

We have instituted a pilot program for family groups to build shared shelters. We will be providing materials not available from the land while those Q’eros who participate will provide the labor to build the shelters. The first family group builders has been determined. We anticipate start of this pilot program by January 2017. Progress will be documented here or through the newsletter with photos and updates.

Donations are funded through The Heart of the Andes spiritual travel program and private donations. To donate to this community-building opportunity, go here.

Q’ero Weaving Project

Alpacas

As of October 2016, we made a collaborative agreement with Gandharva Farm and Alpaca Ranch to benefit the weavers in the Q'ero village of Ccochamocco. Until December 2019 we will act as liaison for an exchange between Q'ero weavers and Gandharva to support a smooth process for direct business. The items—such as bags, mesas (ceremonial cloths), belts, table runners and pillows—are 100% alpaca, either natural wool or natural dyes and purchased directly from the weavers. Gandharva is currently selling the goods at art shows and craft fairs with plans for an online presence. For more on Gandharva and their alpacas go here.

Preserving Folkloric Traditions of the Andes

Willkasara is based in Pisaq, Peru and was founded by Martika Qorichayna, Wachan Bajiyoperak and daughter Shiqwarkenti to preserve the cultural heritage of the people of the Andes. Their mission is to pass down the sacred Andean music that is traditional from Peru and provide Quechua young people with the knowledge of their ancestors while increasing spiritual, emotional and economic levels of wellbeing. Their music and dance project strives to instill the wisdom and dignity of Indigenous culture, while working within a framework of reciprocity, respect and social justice.

To donate to this ongoing need, go here.

Preservation of Maya Textile Museum and Humanitarian Work of Don Sergio Castro

Don Sergio Castro works with impoverished Maya communities around San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico, in the areas of medical and school needs, where there is no help from the Mexican government. Most of his patients are unable to give money, but in return pay with their blessings, tamales, and other items that serve as reciprocity. Lack of consistent funding makes it quite difficult for Don Sergio to fulfill the growing needs of the communities to which he has been dedicated for more than forty years.

Don Sergio Castro explaining traditional clothing.Don Sergio Castro attending a patient.

Don Sergio Castro explaining traditional clothing.
(Photo credit: Carla Woody)

Don Sergio Castro attending a patient.
(Photo credit: Consuelo Alba and John Speyer)

Years ago, patients started giving Don Sergio their traditional clothing. To support his medical and school-building work, he opened a small textile museum, which doubles as a clinic. From that source and the occasional donation he's somehow able to keep going.

Travelers on the spiritual travel programs to Chiapas, co-sponsored by Kenosis Spirit Keepers, visit the textile museum and have an audience with Don Sergio, supported through an entrance fee included in the program tuition. We are now making a larger commitment to Don Sergio's humanitarian work by raising funds to go toward the rental fees of the textile museum. This move helps preserve beautiful traditional clothing, clearly within our mission. But, in addition, funds formerly earmarked for rental space can now be directed to much needed medical supplies and other requirements.

To read more and view a documentary about Don Sergio's work, go here. Go here to donate.

Supporting traditional Maya healer Doña Felicita Rixqiacche Sacche to obtain credentials and materials to serve her people

Dona Felicita photoDoña Felicita Rixqiacche Sacche is a respected Maya healer, herbalist and spiritual guide (Ajq'ij) living in Guatemala. She has worked as a traditional healer and teacher for many years. Although K'iche Maya, she has made her home among the Kaqchikel Maya, but still returns to K'iche Quetzaltenango for consultations and further training, and is doing work there with an herbal medicine cooperative.

A survivor of both civil war and domestic violence, at the end of the civil war in 1996 she was without family or property and living in the city. With the war ended, she began a path of Maya spirituality and healing.

Doña Felicita became a midwife licensed by the ministry of public health. Her work performing Maya ceremonies took her to El Salvador and Honduras, and she stayed in Honduras three years where there was a company producing herbal medicine. When she returned to Guatemala, she worked with a group that provided her land in San Miguel de Tejar to grow herbs and process her own organic herbal medicine. She became well known for developing organic compost. People came day and night for her cures.

When the project closed, a medical clinic was opening in Chimaltenango. She had trained the director of the new clinic on his path to becoming a Maya spiritual guide, and she was given a place in the clinic to continue her herbal work and maintain an herbal pharmacy of all products she produced. She also gained experience in chiropractic, stress massage, reflexology and aromatherapy. The clinic lost funding and was closed in December 2012.

Doña Felicita enrolled at Instituto Naturista in Huehuetenango, Guatemala to receive both a diploma and health department certification, thereby allowing her to better serve her people. Since 2013 Kenosis Spirit Keepers provided funding help for her tuition. We are happy to relay that, as of November 2015, Doña Felicita graduated. During 2016 we will provide final support for equipment and materials as she now re-establishes a traditional practice in her home village.Go here to donate.


Educational Outreach

Spirit Keepers Series

Our Spirit Keepers Series provides a forum for Indigenous educators and spiritual leaders from around the world to share the teachings of their traditions to the general public. We offer this outreach program to educate on Native culture and values—and help all of us remember what we already know. These weekend sessions are held in Phoenix, Arizona unless otherwise indicated in the announcements.

These programs are offered free of charge on a donation basis with no one turned away for lack of funds. In order to continue this Series twice a year, we must be able to cover the presenter costs and space requirements. Donations are needed to ensure continuity. Donate here.


Past Projects

Kenosis Spirit Keepers projects are, in part, an outgrowth of scholarship programs originally instituted by Carla Woody through an organization she founded, Kenosis LLC. Below are those programs.

Alpaca Purchase

From our 2014 Heart of the Andes program, a $1000 funding gift was given during our visit to Ccochamocco. The community decided to use these funds to purchase high-grade alpaca to help strengthen their herd and ultimately improve the quality of their textiles.

Documentary Film

During our 2008 Spirit Keepers Journey in Peru extensive footage was taken showing traditions, as well as some never before filmed interviews and sacred rituals, all done with full permission of the participants. We intend to produce videos in order to raise awareness of the fragility of indigenous cultures and the importance they be sustained.

In 2012 Kenosis Spirit Keepers received a private donation that allowed us to produce the first of these videos. In November 2013, a 17-minute video Q'ero and Hopi Spirit Keepers Share Traditions was uploaded to this website's library, shown in the Spirit Keepers Journey section above and You Tube.

Additional video shorts may be produced in the future.

Alliance with Flordemayo's The Path: Supporting 40 Acres and the Seed Temple

We were honored to support the establishment of The Path's work toward preserving Native seeds and plants used in traditional agriculture and healing that are in danger of contamination and extinction. The buildings are built and ceremonial places created; seed saving efforts are in full swing. From 2012 to 2014 we raised $5825 in assistance. A brief description is below. For more information, please go to The Path's website.

Corn SamplesRainbow Corn

Corn samples
(Photo credit: Carla Woody)

Rainbow Corn
(Photo credit: Greg Schoen)

Flordemayo, a member of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, established The Path, a nonprofit, whose mission is to build an underground seed vault that will become, not only a place of protection, but also one of prayer and of teaching sacred ways. The Path's mission is to conserve and distribute seeds for future generations. In addition, The Path's vision is to raise spiritual consciousness on the interconnectedness between humanity and Mother Earth. The purchase of forty acres near Estancia, New Mexico was accomplished by Winter 2010. Seed savers and trained volunteers are sorting and documenting seeds already received and preserved in a controlled environment in the underground vault. The plans also include organic gardening in a greenhouse with proper filtering (HEPA-filters) to keep the integrity of the heritage seeds from GMO-contamination, training and distribution to growers.

"The seed has a spirit, but it doesn't have a voice. We are giving the seeds a voice! We are welcoming Native and heritage seeds from growers. The only restriction is that the seeds are organically grown; and we know where they came from and who is growing them. So we need to have documentation in receiving them," Flordemayo said to Carla Woody, founder of Kenosis Spirit Keepers, in an interview.

EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE for Q'ero Village of Ccochomocco in the Peruvian Andes

Between August-October 2013, a state of emergency existed in Peru for high altitude areas due to extreme cold and snow storms. Deaths of children and alpaca were reported. Kenosis Spirit Keepers has a direct, longtime relationship with the Q'ero people of Ccochomocco and assisted in building the school that opened in 2010. Our Q'ero friends were most at risk because they live at the highest altitude of the Q'ero villages in the Andes. They are quite isolated living in stone huts in desolate conditions.

We sought donations for emergency assistance to send food and blankets, and secured a way to transport. The response was overwhelming. Due to donations we were able to purchase and transport food supplies, children's clothing and alpaca blankets. Thankfully, no children were lost. Sadly, the alpaca herd suffered. Total funds raised and used for this effort: $3400. This amount goes a long way in the Andes.

Building a school in Peru for the Q'ero Nation

The Q'ero Indians live in isolation at 17,000 ft on the mountain called Q'ero in the Cusco region of the Andes as they have for the hundreds of years since fleeing when the conquistadors invaded in order to keep their spiritual traditions pure. Read more about these native people and our long-time engagement with them.

We are happy to report that as of March 2010 the Kusi Quyllur (koo-sy coy-lur) Education Institute, as named by the Cochamocco community, is in operation. Current enrollment is 19 girls and 23 boys ranging between ages 5 through 15 in two classrooms with two teachers. The curriculum includes: Quechua, Spanish, Community Knowledge, Mathematics, Science and Technology. This private school is managed by a committee of parents in collaboration with the teachers and community government. They now have their own website with a number of photos.

This is a success story extraordinaire!

History of Our Involvement:
In July 2008 during our gathering with Q'ero paq'os and community leaders, immediately after a despacho ceremony, we asked what we could offer the Q'ero Nation in ayni for all they had shared with us over the years.*

They asked us to help them build a school in the Q'ero village of Ccochomocco by providing materials and initial support. Because the nearest school is three hours away over very rough terrain, none of the children have gone to school. The Peruvian government offers the Q'ero Nation little to no support and they have no funds to accomplish this on their own.

Q'ero leaders were very clear that they did not want a mestizo school built of concrete blocks, but one resembling their own traditional stone dwellings. Hence, they were to construct the school. Our part was to raise funds to provide such materials as windows, doors, stoves, whatever is not available on site. Benches, desks and school supplies were required, as was a teacher with a curriculum that honors their culture. We intended to assist them in maintaining supplies and the teacher's salary during the early phase — until cottage industries the Q'ero of Ccochomocco could develop to support the ongoing expenses of the school and be self-sufficient.

During our May-June 2009 Peru Program we finalized the agreements to assist our Q'ero friends in building their school and began funding this project.

Global Collaboration:
Word of the dream held so strongly by the Ccochomocco community was passed along and engaged the hearts of a number of individuals around the world, as well as organizations beyond Kenosis Spirit Keepers. The Heartwalk Foundation acted as an important advisor and helped us streamline our efforts in getting the funds to the source and purchasing materials. Katherine Majzoub of Mana Studios, and their Peruvian-based fiscal agent Pachamama's Path, were major on-the-ground contributors in ensuring the project came together. Kusi Quyllur has now formed supportive relationships with NGOs I.E. Kusi Kawsay in Pisac, Willka T'ika in Urubamba, and Asociación Andes in Cusco.

A captivating story is that of Xavier Saer, a Peruvian musician living in South Africa, who, having heard of the need for funds, flew to Lima. There he gave a benefit concert and then undertook an odyssey to find Ccochomocco, with no knowledge of how to get there, to put the funds directly into the hands of Fredy Flores Machacca whom he'd never met. Fredy is now the director of the school. To read the full account of Xavier's story, download his e-book "Finding Fredy." (3.3 MB)

* Translated from Quechua, paq'o is a shaman, despacho is a blessing ritual, and ayni is the sacred sense of reciprocity the Andean people live by.

View photos that tell the story of the Cochamoco School Project.

Q'ero Village Cochamoco     Q'ero Mother and Child

Q'ero Village Ccochomocco (Photo credit: Oakley Gordon)    Q'ero Mother and Child (Photo credit: Monty DeLozier)

Providing sanitation and aid in Mollamarka

The Mollamarka Indians live in relative isolation about five hours outside the city of Cusco. We had been asked to provide aid to the elderly villagers and children of Mollamarka by purchasing blankets to protect against the cold. These were bought in the market in Cusco and brought with us to Mollamarka.

The Mollamarka school was in need of a bathroom for the children. We raised $3000 to provide materials and labor. Fundraising for this project is complete.

See photo update on Mollamarka Sanitation Project.

Mollamarka Elder     Mollamarka Children

Mollamarka Elder and Mollamarka Children (Photo credits: Monty DeLozier)

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