The Spirit Aligned Leadership Program is pleased to announce the selection of its first circle of eight Legacy Leaders.

The eight Indigenous women Elders are acknowledged and celebrated for being vessels of their traditional ways and for leading in sustaining and creating legacies of strength and resilience for their own people, for all Native peoples and for all of humanity. We honor their gift of ancestral knowledge that they have so courageously and unassumingly spent a lifetime nurturing. The Legacy Leaders selected interweave indigenous knowledge, at times with western science, and embody integrity at its highest form.

Katsi Cook, director, shares: "We feel that the life knowledge of traditional Native women, particularly those who have stepped out courageously to create healthy paths for their generations, deserved to be celebrated. Our purpose as the Spirit Aligned Leadership Program now begins to unfold through the eyes of a circle of women brought together to think and act on how to heal, strengthen and restore the balance of Indigenous communities."

The Spirit Aligned Leadership Program is an ongoing creation; the inaugural Legacy Leader circle is invited to reimagine their relationship with themselves, their peers and what’s possible. The cultural knowledge, experience and sharing of wisdom of these connected knowers will set the path for future circles of Legacy Leadership. Their legacies will be shared in self-determined ways for the sake of those worlds that they hold up. The Inaugural Circle is empowered to interact and impact Indigenous cultural expression, Violence against girls, women and the earth, Leadership of Indigenous girls and women, Healing from historic trauma and oppression and Indigenous education.

NoVo Foundation inspired, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors sponsored, the Spirit Aligned Leadership program has its origins and continuity in the many thoughtful conversations among these organizations and a broad range of Indigenous Elder women…. “so that what lives deep within our Indigenous girls and women and Mother Earth can connect and come forth now in these extremely critical times.”

With over 100 applications from across the United States and Canada, we are honored to introduce the following Elders selected to our Inaugural Circle:

Barbara Poley,
Laguna/Hopi, Arizona

Dr. Henrietta Mann,
Southern Cheyenne, Oklahoma

Jan Kahehti:io Longboat,
Turtle Clan Mohawk, Ontario

Lenora Naranjo-Morse,
Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico

Loretta Afraid of Bear Cook,
Oglala Lakota, South Dakota

Louise Wakerakats:se Herne,
Bear Clan Mohawk,
New York

Sarah Agnes James,
Neetsa’ii Gwich’in, Alaska

Yvonne Annette Toon Nee Mu Sh Dupuis Peterson,
Chehallis, Washington