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Aama Bombo - NepalAgnes Baker Pilgrim - OregonBeatrice Long-Visitor Holy Dance - South DakotaBernadette Rebienot - Gabon, AfricaClara Shinobu Iura - BrazilFlordemayo - New Mexico

Margaret Behan - MontanaMaria Alice Campos-Freire - BrazilMona Polacca - ArizonaRita Pitka Blumenstein - AlaskaRita Long-Visitor Holy Dance - South DakotaTsering Dolma Gyaltong - Tibetan

Aama Bombo

Buddhi Maya Lama, who is also known as Aama Bombo (Mother Shaman), was born in the remote village of Melong in the Eastern part of the Bagmati Zone, Nepal, 65 years ago. Her father was a renowned shaman in the Nepalese Tamang tradition. Aama became a shaman in spite of the Tamang tradition that women are not supposed to practice shamanism. In the early days, her father restricted her in every way from practicing shamanism. However, when her father died at the age of eighty, his spirits and other gods and spirits started visiting and teaching her to be a shaman, against the prevailing cultural values of Tamang society.

Today, Aama has achieved great renown in Nepal. She treats around 100 patients every morning at her house in Boudhnath, near Kathmandu. Patients come to visit her from around the country, as well as from India and Tibet. She does not discriminate against those she heals, treating the poorest of the poor as well as the Royal Family of Nepal with equal dedication and respect. Read more at Grandmother Aama's personal page    BACK TO PICTURES


Agnes Baker-Pilgrim

"We grandmothers have come from far and wide to speak the knowledge we hold inside. In many languages we have been told it is time to make the right changes for our families, for the lands we love. We can be the voice for the voiceless. We are at the threshold. We are going to see change. If we can create the vision in our heart, it will spread. As bringers of light, we have no choice but to join together. As women of wisdom we cannot be divided. When the condor meets the eagle—thunderbirds come home."

The oldest living member of her tribe, the Takelma Indians, originally from Southern Oregon. Agnes is a world renowned spiritual leader, member of the Historic Society and keeper of the Sacred Salmon Ceremony. Read more at Grandmother Aggie's personal page.

Video of Grandmother Agnes at Esalen - Summer, 2011   BACK TO PICTURES


Beatrice Long-Visitor Holy Dance

"We are here with a prayer for our generations, for our grandchildren who are suffering, for our children’s grandchildren. How are we going to survive? Our government is taking everything from us. Our people want our Black Hills back. The only way to survive is through prayer."

Lakota keeper of the traditional ways, great grandmother, Native American Church elder, sundancer, healthworker for people with diabetes. Beatrice is a member of the Council of Language Elders, focusing on Oglala Lakota language immersion and teaching their native tongue to children and to elders.. Read more at Grandmother Beatrice's personal page.  BACK TO PICTURES


Bernadette Rebienot

"Nothing happens in my country without consulting the women. Our wise people, our elders, they are like libraries. We consult them whenever we need to make large decisions. Every five years, in my country, it is the women who make a peace march. It is the grandmothers who for one month go into the forest to prepare for this peace march. They fast, they pray and invoke the ancestors. When the grandmothers speak, the president listens."

Born in Libreville, Gabon of the Omyene linguistic community, widow and mother of ten, grandmother of twenty-three. Before retiring, Bernadette worked as an educator and school administrator. Bernadette has participated in numerous national and international conferences on Traditional Medicine. She is a healer, master of the Iboga Bwiti Rite and master of Women’s Initiations. Bernadette has offered initiations and consultations for the past thirty years. She has been President of the Association of Traditional Medicine Practitioners for Gabonese Health (U.T.S.G.) since 1994.  Read more at Grandmother Bernadette's person page.  BACK TO PICTURES


 Clara Shinobu Iura

"In these latest times we live in, when killing seems almost natural, we are here in these days of prayer so that we can illuminate a consciousness for this planet that is in agony. Inside our hearts, I believe each of us present at this gathering feels great hope. This is a seed being planted."

Born in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Clara studied philosophy at the University of Sao Paulo. Through her experiences of clairvoyance and mediumship, she was initiated through many teachings, from macrobiotics to Umbanda. After helping with the curing of Padrinho Sebastiao, spiritual leader of one of the Santo Daime’s largest churches, she was invited to live and work in Céu do Mapiá, his community located in the heart of the Amazon forest. Since 1999, she has directed the Santa Casa de Saúde (Holy House of Health) Padrinho Manoel Corrente, Céu do Mapiá’s holistic healing center. Read more at Grandmother Clara's personal page.  BACK TO PICTURES



Born the youngest of 15 children in the highlands of Central America, Flordemayo was found at an early age, like others in her family, to have the gift of Sight. By age four she was being trained in the art of curanderismo which had been handed down from mother to daughter for many generations. Flordemayo’s mother was a midwife and healer and taught her daughters in the use of herbs, women’s medicine and how women are to honor and care for the Earth.

Flordemayo now lives in New Mexico. But you won’t find her at home much. She is a frequent presenter at international conferences. Since 1999 she has been part of the Wisdom of the Grandmother’s Foundation. She is the recipient of the Martin de La Cruz Award for Alternative Healing, a prestigious honor given by the International Congress of Traditional Medicine. Flordemayo is also a founding director of the Institute for Natural and Traditional Knowledge. This organization has many active projects, including the establishment of an organic seed bank and educational outreach in support of traditional agriculture.

Humanity is at a crossroads, we can only go one way, as one can’t go in two directions at the same time. We do not know what we need to do as a human species, there is only one place to go and that is into the light, as one tribeRead more at Grandmother Flordemayo's website.  BACK TO PICTURES


Julieta Casimiro

We need to keep hope alive. It is like a never-ending story. In my village there is violence. What is happening in my village is happening in the world. At this moment, we need our faith. We need to make that faith stronger so we can continue doing our spiritual work and continue helping others.

Mazatec elder, from Huautla de Jimenez, carries the tradition of healing and ceremonies with the use of sacred plants, the pre-hispanic Teonanactl, “Ninos Santos” way. Read more at Grandmother Julieta's personal page.  BACK TO PICTURES


Margaret Behan

If we want to see changes first of all we need to be in peace inside ourselves, and then we need to be patient with the ones that have not yet arrived in that place of peace.

 Arapahoe-Cheyenne #003300, fourth generation of the Sand Creek Massacre. As a child, Margaret attended the Catholic Mission and Government Boarding Schools. Margaret is a Cheyenne traditional dancer. She has served as a dance leader in Oklahoma and in powwows across the U.S. A sculptress for 30 years, she creates clay figurines that have won her many honors, including shows at Eastern New Mexico University, University of Wisconsin, Santa Fe Indian Market and the Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial.

Margaret is an accomplished and published author, poet and playwright. She has presented workshops and retreats for women, adult children of alcoholics and co-dependents. Margaret is currently taking an active role a leader of her tribe as a teacher of Cheyenne Culture and the President of the Cheyenne Elders Council. Read more at Grandmother Margaret's personal page.


Maria Alice Campos-Freire

Today we live in a forgotten world, crowded with illusions and lacking meaning. So much war, such desecration! All the while, how magnificent the Creation that holds comfort and peace. It contains the elements of which we are created and which make us brothers to Nature. It has the four directions that guide us. So simple and beautiful, it inspired our journey here, in these days now. And in spite of all the war, a spark of hope expands inside us, a message that comes to us from our ancestors, our grandparents, great- grandparents, great-great-grandparents who inspire us with their courage and protect us from all forgetfulness. Through time prophesies have foretold that the moment of humanity’s transmutation would arrive, and that women would be at the forefront of this process. And here we are, bringing our seed.

In the church of the Eclectic Cult of the Santo Daime, spiritual leaders are called “padrinhos” (godfathers) and “madrinhas” (godmothers). Maria Alice became one of the madrinhas of the Santo Daime community Céu do Mapia for her contribution as medium and healer, bringing with her the fundamentals of Umbanda to this eclectic center. Founder of Centro Medicina do Floresta (Forest Medicine Center), where, since 1989, she develops research and healings with the plants of the Amazon, as well as education of children and youngsters for the preservation of Nature and sustainable development. A member of the Alliance of Peoples of the Rainforest, she is an activist in the defense of their traditions and patrimony. Read more at Grandmother Maria's personal page. BACK TO PICTURES


Mona Polacca

Indigenous people have come through a time of great struggle, a time of darkness. The way I look at it is like the nature of a butterfly. In the cocoon, a place of darkness, the creature breaks down into a fluid and then a change, a transformation, takes place. When it is ready and in its own time, it begins to move and develop a form that stretches and breaks away from this cocoon and emerges into this world, into life, as a beautiful creature.

We grandmothers, we have emerged from that darkness, see this beauty, see each other and reach out to the world with open arms, with love, hope, compassion, faith and charity.

Mona, a Hopi/Havasupai /Tewa elder, has a Master of Social Work degree. She serves on several United Nations committees on indigenous people's issues and is a featured author, speaker, and educator on indigenous people's human rights, aging, mental health, addiction and violence. She is also the President/CEO and faculty of the Turtle Island Project, a non-profit program that promotes a vision of wellness by providing trans-cultural training to individuals, families, and healthcare professionals. Read more at Grandmother Mona's personal page.  BACK TO PICTURES


Rita Pitka Blumenstein

The past is not a burden; it is a scaffold which brought us to this day. We are free to be who we are—to create our own life out of our past and out of the present. We are our ancestors. When we can heal ourselves, we also heal our ancestors, our grandmothers, our grandfathers and our children. When we heal ourselves, we heal Mother Earth.

Yup'ik mother, grandmother, great grandmother, wife, aunt, sister,friend, tribal elder. Born on a fishing boat and raised in Tununak, Alaska, Rita attended a Montessori school in Seattle for four years. She raised two children and worked at many hospitals delivering babies as a doctor’s aide in Bethel and Nome. She has traveled and taught basket weaving, song, dance and cultural issue classes world-wide, earning money for Native American Colleges.

Rita has participated in many healing conferences where her teachings of the “Talking Circle” were recorded and published. Rita is currently employed with South Central Foundation as a tribal doctor using plant and energy medicine. Read more at Grandmother Rita's personal page.  BACK TO PICTURES

Rita Long-Visitor Holy Dance

Lakota keeper of the traditional ways, great grandmother, Native American Church elder, beadworker.

Rita is a member of the Council of Language Elders, focusing on Oglala Lakota language immersion and teaching their native tongue to children and to elders.. Read more at Grandmother Rita's personal page.  BACK TO PICTURES


Tsering Dolma Gyaltong

I’d like to talk about problems in the world and what the sources of these problems are. I am Tibetan, so I will speak about the situation in Tibet, which affects all of us. Tibetans took very good care of the land, but now it is becoming a place where radioactive waste from products all over the world is being buried. It is a danger for everyone.

Tsering Dolma was born in Tibet in 1929. Because of the Communist invasion of Tibet, she escaped along with her family from Tibet in 1958 to India. In 1972, she and her family (four children) came to Canada as refugees. She returned to India and became one of the founding members who revived the Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA).During the next ten years, she served as an executive member of TWA and established over 30 branch offices worldwide. In 1995, Tsering Dolma attended the Fourth World Women’s Conference held in Beijing, China. She faced many threats and dangers as she along with others openly criticized the Chinese government and its treatment of the Tibetan people and especially Tibetan women. She now resides in Toronto and remains as an advisor to the TWA. Read more at Grandmother Tsering's personal page.


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April 20, 2012