Sacred Fire Foundation is served by a small team and governed by a dedicated board. The organization is advised by a circle of passionate individuals, and seeks guidance and wisdom from a council of Elders, whose teachings, values, and principles are the very threads that hold Indigenous cultures together.


We are blessed to have individuals who know the organization intimately and continue to serve our mission in a volunteer capacity.



Sherry was the founding President of Sacred Fire Foundation in 2005 and served on the Board through 2010. She has remained a loyal volunteer ever since in various capacities, currently in support of donor relations. Sherry spent many years in business and then as a teacher in a holistic health capacity. Currently, under the banner “Love Is Round,” Sherry teaches people how to experience connection with the sacred world and from that place of connection, to prayer effectively and receive their own direct guidance. Sherry also teaches the Sacred Fire Community’s Lifeways program “Exploring the Phenomenon of Prayer”, and is initiated as a Quiapaquiz (Weather Worker) in the Nahua ancestral tradition. She lives in Victoria, Canada.



A water sprite by nature, Wendy has nevertheless spent the majority of her adult life nestled amongst the saguaro of the American Southwest. She has held a wide variety of jobs over the years, ranging from fire lookout to teacher, public health nurse to massage therapist. What stirs her heart most is sitting in stillness feeling the bounty of the natural world flow through. She deeply honors the mission of the Sacred Fire Foundation, and in her own words, “is thrilled to shower our precious donors with gratitude.”


Our dedicated team comprises our Executive Director, Director of Community Partnerships, Creative Director/Editor of Video Content, and our development and communications groups. With years of experience in and knowledge of a variety of social change movements and organizations, we are passionate about the continuance of Indigenous wisdom traditions. We are grateful for the support of our Elders Council, Board, and Circle of Advisors.



Kim has worked in the social sector for over 20 years as an executive director, event producer, and strategic development consultant. As an ED, she directed Terra Conservation Initiative, and two social profits of her own—Journey to the Heart and the Indigenous Land Rights Fund. Prior to her work in the world of social change, Kim enjoyed 20 years in the music business as a promotion executive, working with five major labels. No matter where her journey has taken her and for as long as she can remember, she has been drawn to Indigenous cultures. Kim strongly believes that the work of the Foundation, to serve as a bridge between Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous people, is more important than ever. We have much to learn from our Indigenous sisters and brothers—about resilience, the interconnectedness of all life, and our responsibility to each other and the planet. Kim lives with her partner and the variety of wild creatures who frequent their home in the beautiful foothills of the Sangre de Christo Mountains, the traditional homelands of the Tewa people, outside Santa Fe, New Mexico.  



John Nabil Handen Piette, a UK Telly-Award Winner, is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker, with a passion for creating compelling, unifying, and world-changing content. Growing up, John developed a love of storytelling—the only constant in his life as home and roots were ever-changing. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, John moved with his family to London, then Paris, eventually arriving in Washington, D.C. and then Austin, where he attended film school at the University of Texas. In 2009, he moved to Los Angeles and began working with A-list talent on award-winning films, music videos, documentaries, trailers, and a web series. With his move to New York in 2018, he served as a Senior Producer and Editor for The Dodo, creating hundreds of animal-centric videos, and now, as a member of the Writers Guild of America East, he has formed his own production company—Assemble Studios—where he develops original narrative and documentary projects, as well as collaborates with inspiring organizations to help tell their stories. “Whatever the medium or platform, my storytelling focus is always set squarely on enlightening, yet entertaining content that helps unify and uplift our world.”



L. Paloma Abregú Arroyo is Chanka (an ethnic group of Quechua people from Peru). She spent most of her formative years in the US, and has since lived in many other countries, including Australia, where she completed a master’s degree in International Relations, and then Austria, where she was awarded a scholarship for a graduate diploma in Peacebuilding and Conflict Resolution. Paloma’s work has taken her to Honduras, India, Nepal, Ghana, and California, where she was involved with a wide variety of community projects over the years. She has supported women’s development efforts and the rights of young women against cultural oppression, created and led sustainable art workshops, developed and led conflict transformation workshops for Liberian refugees, provided mediation and taught permaculture with former child soldiers, as well as led restorative justice and mediation programs at primary and secondary schools in both Oakland and Berkeley, CA. Based on her experiences, Paloma has surmised that one of the most important elements to improving one’s self-esteem is strengthening one’s identity. She has seen that those who feel connected to their roots feel a sense of balance, a strong identity that allows them to value their past, their present, and respect the cultures of others. With this passionate awareness, Paloma in 2014 founded and is the executive director of Saphichay, an organization whose mission is to support and defend Indigenous rights and cultural survival in Peru. Her dedication to supporting Indigenous knowledge, practices, and rights is fundamental to who she is.




Dr. Isabel Hawkins is Astronomer and Project Director at the Exploratorium science museum in San Francisco, California, USA. She obtained her doctorate in astrophysics at the University of California in 1986. Isabel received a Fulbright U.S. Global Scholar award in 2018 to research the Pleiades from the perspective of three cultures—Māori, Maya, and Quechua—in New Zealand, Guatemala, and Peru. Since 2011, she has served as volunteer co-coordinator with Dr. Shelly Valdez (Laguna Pueblo) of the Yakanal Indigenous Youth Cultural Exchange Program whose mission is “To strengthen cultural identity and leadership capacities in indigenous youth, preparing them to engage with other cultures while preserving their own.” She is also seven-time Latin dance world champion in salsa and bachata in the “over-50” category at the World Latin Dance Cup international competition. La Dra. Isabel Hawkins La Dra. Isabel Hawkins es astrónoma y directora de proyectos en el museo de ciencias Exploratorium en San Francisco, California, EE. UU. Obtuvo su doctorado en astrofísica en la Universidad de California, Los Ángeles en 1986. Isabel recibió una beca de “Fulbright US Global Scholar” en 2018 para investigar a las Pléyades desde la perspectiva de tres culturas—maorí, maya y quechua—en Nueva Zelanda, Guatemala y Perú. Desde el 2011, se ha desempeñado como co-coordinadora voluntaria con la Dra. Shelly Valdez (Laguna Pueblo) del programa de intercambio cultural de jóvenes indígenas llamado Yakanal, cuya misión es “Fortalecer la identidad cultural y las capacidades de liderazgo en los jóvenes indígenas, preparándolos para interactuar con otras culturas y preservando sus propias raíces.” La Dra. Hawkins es siete veces campeona mundial de baile latino en salsa y bachata en la categoría “mayores de 50” en la competencia internacional World Latin Dance Cup.



Marcus Griswold PhD is a coach, scientist, community engagement specialist and founder of Calm Waters Group. He has 15 years of experience communicating science and policy, providing strategic leadership, fundraising, and empowering communities on the most complex and controversial projects. He works on and provides mediation, facilitation, and planning services to non-profits, local, state, and federal governments and tribes. He believes that communities already know what is needed to solve climate justice, and helps them tell their story, advocate for their needs, and engage with agencies. Marcus is father of two boys, Leif and Kai. They live in Northern California.



Rudo Kemper is a human geographer with a background in archives and digital storytelling, and a lifelong technology tinkerer. For the past decade, he has worked in solidarity with Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities in the Amazon to map their ancestral lands and document their traditional knowledge and oral histories. He is passionate about co-creating and applying technology to support marginalized communities in defending their right to self-determination and representation, and being in control of telling their own stories. Rudo currently works with Digital Democracy, where he is accompanying local communities across the globe in defending their lands, and stewarding the development of the Earth Defenders Toolkit, a new collaborative space for earth defender communities and their allies. He also serves on the executive boards of Native Land Digital and the International Society for Participatory Mapping, and is one of the core stewards of the open-source geostorytelling application Terrastories. Rudo is originally from Curaçao but currently based in Springfield, Virginia.



Robert has worked in nonprofit management for more than 25 years, mostly in the areas of health promotion, health equity, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. He has with local organizations in San Francisco, Chicago and Santa Fe and serving as regional “weaver” for Native Americans in Philanthropy. Since 2000, Robert has been consulting with nonprofits, focusing on values-driven management, effective communication, community-based evaluation and diversity, equity, and inclusion. In 2016, he founded Indigenous Methods, LLC with his friend Lee Francis IV from the Pueblo of Laguna. Indigenous Methods provides evaluation and planning services to indigenous communities and native-led programs and works with philanthropic and nonprofit organizations to decolonize their policies, procedures, and operations in order to increase equity for all people. Since 2014, Robert has split his time between Santa Fe, New Mexico and Oaxaca, Mexico. In Oaxaca, Robert works on projects that support indigenous youth and artisans and help to decolonize folk art curation and marketing.

Robert ha trabajado en la gestión de organizaciones sin fines de lucro durante más de 25 años, principalmente en las áreas de promoción de la salud, equidad en la salud y diversidad, equidad e inclusión. Trabajó con organizaciones locales en San Francisco, Chicago y Santa Fe y se desempeñó como “tejedor” regional para Native Americans in Philanthropy. Desde 2000, Robert ha estado consultando con organizaciones sin fines de lucro, enfocándose en la gestión impulsada por valores, la comunicación efectiva, la evaluación basada en la comunidad, y la diversidad, la equidad y la inclusión. En 2016, fundó Indigenous Methods, (Métodos Indígenas) LLC con su amigo Lee Francis IV del Pueblo de Laguna. Indigenas Methods brinda servicios de evaluación y planificación a comunidades indígenas y programas dirigidos por personas indígenas y trabaja con organizaciones filantrópicas y sin fines de lucro para descolonizar sus políticas, procedimientos y operaciones con el fin de aumentar la equidad para todas las personas. Desde 2014, Robert ha dividido su tiempo entre Santa Fe, Nuevo México y Oaxaca, México. En Oaxaca, Robert trabaja en proyectos que apoyan a los jóvenes y artesanos indígenas y ayudan a descolonizar la curaduría y la comercialización del arte popular.


Our board members have rich experience with and deep connection to Indigenous wisdom and traditions. 



Keiko joined the board in 2013, bringing with her a background in administration and leadership that began in the 1980’s with disaster response planning for the American Red Cross and later spanned into her work in the early 2000’s as the Academic Dean at both Yo San University and Emperor’s College.  A long time student of Soto Zen, she later spent 18 years making pilgrimages and participating in ceremonies in the Wixarika (Huichol) tradition.  Keiko has been practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine since 1996.  She and her husband currently reside in Los Angeles, in the traditional homeland of the Kizh and Tongva peoples.



A graduate of the University of Phoenix and the University of Texas, El Paso, Alberto has lived for over twenty years in Santa Fe. Alberto worked managing the business operations of an Oscar-nominated entertainer and entrepreneur, at the Corporate Finance offices of The Home Depot and as a Controller at the Pepsi Distribution Center in El Paso, Texas. Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy, he also worked ten years at two non-profits with a social justice mission. He is active in immigrant rights activities and fluent in Spanish. Passionate about health and physical fitness (you can find Alberto at the gym very early, every morning), or on a bicycle-having cycled across Portugal, the Adriatic coast and the foothills of the Apennines of Italy and from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C.



Artemia is native to México and holds a PhD in Social Anthropology. Since 1988 her main work has been in research and in teaching in different Universities in México specializing in the anthropology of religion and judicial anthropology. Artemia regularly conducts seminars and postgraduate courses about Indigenous rights, cultural diversity and the intercultural dialogue for legal representatives of Indigenous people, lawyers, judges, human rights advocates and public employees. She is an advisor to anthropologists and lawyers in judicial process where Indigenous individuals or groups require expertise in their culture, judicial system and values.




From Brookfield, MA, Gwen majored in Psychology and later became a doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Gwen is an initiated mará akáme (healer) in the Huichol tradition and plays an important community role as a fire keeper for her hamlet. She has had a successful patient care practice for 20 yeatrs that now includes deep shamanic healing as well. Gwen was a strong volunteer on a committee that produced city master plans over a two-year period.