Who We Are

 

About Us

Since 2007, our programs have sought to help preserve endangered Indigenous traditions by supporting connections between tribal peoples, lifeways and well-being within their communities. Our work is focused within Maya, Q’ero, and Hopi villages.

Kenosis Spirit Keepers, Inc. is a volunteer-run, grassroots organization recognized by the State of Arizona, and by the US Internal Revenue Service under Section 501(c)(3).


 

Our Mission

To honor and preserve the integrity of Indigenous wisdom and sacred cultural practices by providing cross-cultural exchanges, education, and community-building opportunities.

Expression of spiritual identity is integrated into daily life for Indigenous peoples through art, folkloric traditions, ceremony, language, how food is grown, and more. Kenosis Spirit Keepers seeks to support these wisdom ways, build communities and educate the wider world of their value.

The more who are exposed to these truths, the more influence those important values will have. Then we all may remember who we are at the core — and live with respect toward each other… and the planet.


 

Our Board of Directors

Carla Woody, M.A. – Founding President, Prescott, Arizona

Carla Woody

Carla Woody is the founder of Kenosis LLC, an organization based in Prescott, Arizona, supporting human potential since 1999 through life enhancement coaching, retreats and spiritual travel programs working with Indigenous leaders and healers in the US, Mexico, Central and South America. In 2007, she founded Kenosis Spirit Keepers, as the nonprofit extension of the mother organization, to help preserve Indigenous traditions threatened with decimation. Carla is also a visual artist and the author of three books, plus many articles on spirituality, integrative health and advocacy of Native wisdom traditions.
 
 
 
 

“Many factors — including extreme poverty and the most detrimental aspects of Western ways — are extracting ancient traditions that served to provide a foundational sense of connection and place. I believe that, if it continues to happen, we all lose, including those who come after we are long gone.”

 

Oakley Gordon, Ph.D. – Vice-President, Salt Lake City, Utah

Oakley was awarded a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology in 1984, and is an associate professor (lecturer) in the Psychology Department of the University of Utah. Since 1994 he has been studying the epistemology of the Indigenous people who live in remote villages in the high Andes of Peru.

Oakley Gordon“I was drawn into the field of psychology through my interested in Humanistic Psychology (the study of the full potential of being human) which in turn led me to the study of the Psychology of Consciousness. Carla and I met each other at our first workshop with don Americo Yábar of Peru in 1994. That led to us both going to Peru (separately) to work there with don Americo where he introduced us to the paq’os (Andean mystics) from the Q’ero region of Peru. It became obvious to me that these people were precious, their worldview beautiful and important, that this worldview might soon disappear under the tsunami of Western culture sweeping up the Andes, and that I wanted to help. When Carla created KSK I jumped right on board.  I have since joined Carla on several KSK sponsored trips to Peru and have supported her work to expand our focus to include protecting other beautiful, Indigenous, sacred traditions.”

 

Ruth Harrison, J.D. – Secretary/Treasurer, Prescott, Arizona

Ruth HarrisonRuth Harrison is a retired attorney, mediator, and college professor. She has been a student of Indigenous cultures and archaeology since her college days and loves to travel and experience new things. She is a jewelry artist and a lapidary who finally owns a peaceful “country” property with a view of sacred mountains.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

“I have always felt the calling of my ancestral roots. But it was only after my first spiritual travel to Mexico with Carla more than 11 years ago that I became committed to doing what I could to help support and protect Indigenous practices across cultures. I was moved beyond measure by the hearts and spirits of the people I met initially and continue to be inspired by them today.”

 
Gina Thomas – Board Member, Veneta, Oregon
 
Gina ThomasGina (Gi) Thomas is the co-owner of Stillpoint Enterprises LLC. Living in Oregon on a 40-acre farm, she has a background in agriculture and ranching. Her community focus is holding New Moon and Spiritual Self-Mastery Gatherings at Stillpoint Yurt. Her diverse organizational capabilities allowed her to host Mother Earth Festivals to benefit the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, attended by several hundred people each year. Gina also holds a special place for her four-legged dog family. She is a Founding Member, former Board Member, Rescue Chair and Training Chair of NEMDA, the AKC Parent Breed Club for Entlebucher Sennenhunds, a rare Swiss dog breed.
 
 
 
 

“The physical and cognitive ordeals I experienced after being exposed to toxic levels of herbicides 20 years ago drastically changed my life. I now have a level of ‘knowing’ that allows deep connections to all the Elements. I offer support to those who are ready to shift their paradigms, through my business Paradigm Shifting LLC. Through KSK, I’ve taken the lead overseeing the alpaca shelter project, acting as liaison with Q’ero family groups to protect their herds from the increasing risks of climate change. I’m honored to be the madrina, or godmother, of two beautiful Q’ero children. I also maintain strong connection to our Hopi friends having traveled to Hopi several times and shared the Peru-Bolivia journeys with sponsored Hopi leaders.”

Mike Weddle, M.D. – Board Member, Avilton, Maryland

Mike Weddle

Mike Weddle is a practicing physician and directs an emergency department in rural Appalachia. He is also a craniosacral therapist and certified practitioner of mind-body medicine, and leads healing and talking circles in university, prison, and community settings. Mike has been involved in both medical and spiritual work in Guatemala for 30 years and is an ordained spiritual guide and ritual healer in the K’iche’ tradition of the Maya communities. He facilitated the first Maya-Hopi elder delegation, and has maintained ties with the Hopi who look out for him, sending prayer feathers from the kiva when he has need of them.
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Advisory Board

Charlene JosephCharlene Joseph, Indigenous Cultural Educator

Charlene Joseph hails from the Hopi village of Moenkopi near Tuba (Tuuvi) City, Arizona where she was born and raised in a family of 4 sisters and five brothers. Unlike many Hopi youth, Charlene was fortunate that she did not have to attend a boarding school and was educated locally. As a result, she was raised with an abundance of cultural and traditional knowledge and insight, which is now a stronghold for her Hopi values and beliefs. Charlene belongs to the Coyote Clan (Iswuungwa). Iswuungwa takes on the responsibility of Protector/Guard and stands for strength/agility, as symbolized in various Hopi ceremonies.
 
 
 

Harold JosephHarold Joseph, Indigenous Cultural Educator

Harold Joseph is known by his people as Dawahafvoya. He is a member of the Snow Clan of the Hopi Village of Shungopavi. The Snow Clan is responsible for many important functions of the traditional ceremonies, which keeps the whole system in harmony. The clan is responsible for the practice of respect, loyalty, and team approach among all people, leaders, and natural things so that the cultural activities are done in harmony with the natural world. In this way, the good way of life that respects all natural things are achieved for all humankind. Dawahafvoya also works with native tribal districts in Arizona and currently serves as president of Arizona Association of Tribal Conservation District.
 
 

Carol KarasikCarol Karasik, Writer-Researcher on Maya Culture

Carol Karasik is a poet, writer, and editor who has devoted herself to researching and documenting the “Living Maya” culture and mythologies. She is the author of Maya Gods and Monsters: Supernatural Stories of the Underworld and Beyond, Maya Threads: A Woven History of Chiapas (with Chip Morris), The Drum Wars: A Modern Maya Story, and The Turquoise Trail: Native American Jewelry and Culture of the Southwest. Carol has spent more than 15 years in Chiapas, Mexico.

 

Apabyan TewApab’yan Tew, K’iche’ Maya Daykeeper and Spiritual Guide

Apab’yan Tew is an Ajq’ij, a Day Keeper, spiritual guide, male midwife, dancer and musician, of the sacred K’iche’ Maya tradition from the village of Nawalja’ in Sololá of the Guatemalan highlands. His ceremonial work most often takes place in caves, engaging the resident energies of the natural site and timing of the Cholq’ij calendar in conjunction with needs of communities or individuals. During these times he becomes a living mirror and spiritual conduit. Sought after as a speaker and consultant, Apab’yan is the author of The Birth of a Universe: The Maya Science of Pregnancy.