about us

Our Mission

Preserving the forest and its wisdom, by empowering the world’s Indigenous, through a Celebration of culture.

Our Invitation

 

Explore

We invite you to explore Indigenous wisdom, culture, and spirituality, to unlock the power of transformational healing through the expansion of consciousness.

 

Awaken

We invite you to awaken to our collective duty as Guardians of the Earth, to care for the environmental and spiritual legacy that has been passed down through millennia by the world’s Indigenous.

 

Celebrate

We invite you to celebrate, one village at a time, the intrinsic wisdom of humankind, as kept by the world’s Indigenous, as we awaken to our collective arrival to a new era of peace, love, equality, and alliance.

Board of Directors

Stephanie Ansin
John Minks Jr.
Spencer Stewart
Anne Marie Miller

Executive Team

Anne Marie Miller

Founder, President

Spencer Stewart

Co-founder & Finance

Jordao Souza

Liaison for the Yawanawá Tribe

John Minks Jr.

Sales Director

Charlie Stewart

Field Correspondent & Content Manager

Angelique Watson

Events & Partnerships Director

Anne Marie Miller is the Founder & President of Indigenous Celebration, overseeing all aspects of strategic planning, development, and fundraising.

Ms. Miller co-founded IC with the understanding that an intrinsic wisdom exists in humanity to heal environmental and social injustice, through the expansion of consciousness. IC is an organization that seeks to facilitate this development of consciousness and transfer of wisdom between indigenous peoples and the modern world, through a celebration of culture; so that we may collectively learn to live in harmony with nature, and with each other as we begin to recognize the true value of simplicity, humility and compassion, as the keys to happiness and peace.

Ms. Miller previously worked in the public and private sectors, in close coordination with the the UN, World Bank, and various IGO’s to implement cleantech infrastructure in Latin American and the Caribbean. In the process, she developed close relationships with members of government, the private sector, and the non-profit world. Ms. Miller holds a Masters in Management and is a member of the International Women’s Earth and Climate Initiative Advisory Council.

Spencer is the co-Founder, Finance Director, and Secretary of Indigenous Celebration, and advises the Board on strategic, legal and financial matters. Spencer first came into contact with the Yawanawá while on a spiritual retreat in Brazil. The idea of bringing Indigenous music and performance to people in America to create a cultural exchange motivated Spencer to join with Anne Marie Miller in founding Indigenous Celebration.

Spencer’s primary role is working as an attorney to advise Indigenous Celebration. Spencer has worked as an attorney for the nationally known firm Baker & Hostetler, and has also worked for 12 years in equipment finance for PNC Bank, which is based in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and is currently the 5th largest bank in the United States.

Jordão de Melo e Souza is Indigenous Celebration’s Liaison for the Yawanawá Tribe, and Chairman of the Indigenous Advisory Committee. Jordão is responsible for preparing feasibility studies for projects proposed by the Indigenous Advisory Committee, and assisting in the implementation of approved projects, such as the Traditional School of Mutum and the Nipeii: Garden of Medicines.

Jordão first made contact with the Yawanawá in 2009 where he began immersing himself with Yawanawá culture, art, and music, studying Yawanawá medicinal plant knowledge and spirituality with the tribe’s elders. Jordão was the last student initiated by Pajé Tata (before his passing in December 2016 at the age of 103).

Jordão’s primary passion at IC is to facilitate journeys to Mutum Village for people around the world, believing deeply in his duty to extend the transformative opportunity he’s received to experience the Amazon forest, and learn the ways of the indigenous cultures that have thrived there for millennia.

John Minks, Jr. is the Sales Director of Indigenous Celebration, responsible for inventory management and assisting in ongoing tribal relations with indigenous artisans.

Mr. Minks has traveled extensively throughout South America to develop his own spiritual understanding of what it means to seek truth, and discover the divine meaning of existence. Over the last 11 years, Mr. Minks has immersed himself in the esoteric spiritual school, dedicated to the practice of Ceremony as founded in Brazil. An avid guitarist, Mr. Minks has learned hundreds of spiritual hymns and believes deeply in the power of music to transform and heal humanity.

Mr. Minks joins the mission of Indigenous Celebration with the intention to share the opportunity he has received, in awakening humanity, through a celebration of indigenous culture, to remember our true divine nature. As one of his hymns states, “the old time arrives for the new age.”

Mr. Minks holds a Bachelors in Journalism and previously worked selling clean, sustainable energy for Green Mountain Energy as one of the highest grossing sales agents in the Northeast region.

Charlie Stewart is a Field Correspondent and Content Manager, assisting IC to implement and manage its projects in indigenous communities in Brazil. Charlie also provides IC with social media, storytelling content based on his local experiences working on the ground in Brazil.

Charlie holds a Bachelors in Biology, and his interest in botany fuels his passion for the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous peoples that inhabit it. He believes that preserving indigenous peoples’ culture is a key component to rainforest preservation and environmental stability.

Charlie previously worked with Southwestern Advantage Company as an organizational leader and top sales representative selling educational materials door-to-door

Charlie Stewart is a Field Correspondent and Content Manager, assisting IC to implement and manage its projects in indigenous communities in Brazil. Charlie also provides IC with social media, storytelling content based on his local experiences working on the ground in Brazil.

Charlie holds a Bachelors in Biology, and his interest in botany fuels his passion for the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous peoples that inhabit it. He believes that preserving indigenous peoples’ culture is a key component to rainforest preservation and environmental stability.

Charlie previously worked with Southwestern Advantage Company as an organizational leader and top sales representative selling educational materials door-to-door

Angelique Marie Watson is the Events and Partnership Director for Indigenous Celebration, managing logistical aspects of event production and developing strategic partnerships to expand the mission.

From Angelique’s first visit to the Yawanawa Village in 2013, she felt a strong connection with the tribe’s members and knew that she had a lifelong mission with them. Since that first encounter, she has dedicated herself to support the preservation and celebration of the Yawanawá tribe and culture. She is inspired by the tribe’s way of life, connection to nature and the depths of their spiritual knowledge. Angelique is committed to sharing the story and wisdom of the Indigenous with as many people as possible.

Angelique aids in facilitating IC’s trips to Mutum Village, organizing logistics of U.S. Encounters Tours, as well as Rainbow Warrior Kids’ Camp Experiences primarily in Austin, TX. She also supports IC in fundraising efforts and social media.

Angelique holds a Bachelor’s in Marketing and Legal Studies and is a certified Yoga Instructor.

Indigenous Advisory Committee

Jordao Souza

Chair

Naiweni
Kenewma
Matsini
Kenewmeni

Jordão de Melo e Souza is Indigenous Celebration’s Liaison for the Yawanawá Tribe, and Chairman of the Indigenous Advisory Committee. Jordão is responsible for preparing feasibility studies for projects proposed by the Indigenous Advisory Committee, and assisting in the implementation of approved projects, such as the Traditional School of Mutum and the Nipeii: Garden of Medicines.

Jordão first made contact with the Yawanawá in 2009 where he began immersing himself with Yawanawá culture, art, and music, studying Yawanawá medicinal plant knowledge and spirituality with the tribe’s elders. Jordão was the last student initiated by Pajé Tata (before his passing in December 2016 at the age of 103).

Jordão’s primary passion at IC is to facilitate journeys to Mutum Village for people around the world, believing deeply in his duty to extend the transformative opportunity he’s received to experience the Amazon forest, and learn the ways of the indigenous cultures that have thrived there for millennia.

Mariazinha Luiza Yawanawa – Naiweni is one of the oldest daughters of Raimundo Luiz Yawanawa (Tuîkuru), the Yawanawá’s greatest Traditional Leader, and has 16 brothers and sisters. Naiweni was born on December 25, 1968, in the Indigenous Land Rio Gregorio – in the former village of Kaxinawa, Tarauaca of Acre, Brazil, and has one daughter, Kenewma with Leader Biraci Yawanawá.

In 1996, Naiweni founded the village of Mutum with her father and her siblings. In 1997 she was chosen by her father to become the first female Chief, of Mutum Village, a historical moment for the Yawanawá people, since no woman has ever been appointed to such a position of leadership before.

She worked for many years in agriculture along with the families of Mutum Village and empowered her two sisters to enter the spiritual diet of the sacred plant, Muka, as the first women in Yawanawá history to undertake this initiation.

Naiweni is known as the mother to all families, and has become one of the greatest indigenous leaders due to the immense compassion she has for her people.

In the year 2014, she decided to enter a spiritual diet for 1 year, in retreat outside the village with no contact other than with her mother, Matsini and Pajé Tata, in a quest to gain deeper knowledge about her people and Yawanawá spirituality.

After completing the diet, Naiweni returned with renewed force and new inspiration for her people. She began working to realize one of her father’s greatest dreams: to construct a Traditional School; which is now manifesting through her work with Indigenous Celebration.

Débora Luiza Brasil Yawanawá – Kenewma, is the only child of Naiweni, first female chief of Mutum Village, and daughter of Biraci Yawanawá, Chief of Nova Esperança Village. She was born on August 15, 1989 in the Rio Gregorio Indigenous Land, Nova Esperança Village, Tarauca of Acre, Brazil.

Kenewma grew up, very close to her grandfather, Raimundo Luiz Tuikuru, where she spent most of her time studying Saiti, Kene, Shenipahu.

In 2011, after the death of her grandfather, she received the Saiti Yawanawá Shavorã by Matsini Yawanawá and entered the spiritual diet of the sacred plant, Muka, to deepen her traditional and spiritual knowledge of her people. She was trained and initiated at the Samakei Center by the great Yawanawá Spiritual Leader, Anihu Tata Natashini.

Currently Kenewma, works to develop the Yawanawá Artisans Women’s Cooperative, one of the largest projects within the tribe, which has directly helped many of the neediest families. She also lends her support to other social projects, including the construction of nurseries for the reforestation of degraded lands.

Paulo Luiz Yawanawá – Matsini is the son of Raimundo Luiz Yawanawá (Tuîkuru) and Maria Marciana Yawanawá. Born on July 16, 1977 in the Rio Gregorio Indigenous Land – in the former village of Kaxinawa, Tarauaca of Acre, Brazil.

He is the son of Raimundo Luiz Tuîkuru, the Yawanawá’s greatest Traditional Leader, the youngest of 4 brothers, and has 13 sisters. He currently lives in the village of Mutum, with 17 children of his own.

Matsini, from a very young age, dedicated himself to studying the spirituality of his people. At 20 years old, he entered the spiritual diet of the sacred plant, Muka and has devoted himself to the study of his people’s history, medicinal herbs, and spirituality ever since. Pajé Tata Natashaini, who died on December 20, 2016, was one of his greatest teachers.

Together with Pajé Tata, he created the Yawanawá Healing and Therapy Center – Samakei, where he spends his time studying the knowledge of his people. Matsini was the first young man to enter the spiritual diet of Muka and remains an inspiration for the young people of his tribe.

Samakei was created so that young people could also learn this sacred knowledge, and after Pajé Tata’s death, Matsini, became the Leader of the Center.

Today, even as a young man, he is considered one of the spiritual leaders of his people, due to his dedication to study the knowledge of spiritual healing sought through the prayer of Mama, Seya, Nane, Yutxi, with Pajé Tata.

Maria Julia Yawanawá, Kenemeni, is the daughter of Raimundo Luiz Yawanawa (Tuîkuru), the Yawanawa’s greatest Traditional Leader, and has 16 brothers and sisters. She was born on June 29, 1981, in the Rio Gregorio Indigenous Land – in the former village of Kaxinawa, Tarauaca of Acre, Brazil. Kenemeni is married, and the mother of seven children, two adopted.

Kenewmeni was encouraged by her father to study outside the village at a young age. She returned to the village at 14 years old and began to work as a teacher at the age of 15 in Mutum.

In 1996, she attended several courses on Indigenous Teaching at the SEE where she finished her studies. In 1999 she began the Project of Medicinal Plants – Nii Pei with her father, to create a place of study and treatment with Medicinal Herbs.

Kenewmeni has dedicated herself to community work within the village, and is currently responsible for the educational development and operation of Yawanawa schools. She also works coordinating logistics for the Samakei Center for her brother, Matsini.

In 2014, she was appointed to the Yawanawá Leadership Council composed of 14 Yawanawá leaders and began coordinating the ongoing Rauti Project of the Women’s Cooperative, which uses crafts made by female Yawanawá artisans as a means of funding development projects in the village, like the Community Garden which aims to offer higher quality food for the community.

Press

Journey To Mutum

Austin Press Release

Journey To Mutum

NY Press Release

Journey To Mutum

LA Press Release

Journey To Mutum – ACulturalEncounter

24_7 Newswire BLAST

A Cultural Encounter

Bigmouthgirlz.com

Family Day at the Kampong

CBSMiami.com

Natural Awakenings

Austin Texas Edition

Journey to Mutum

INYB Newspaper

Experience a ‘Journey to Mutum’

KUT 90.5

Natural Awakenings

Journey to Mutum

Prism Music Group

Culture Guide

DINNER FOR MUTUM

Social Miami

Miami’s Community Newspapers

South Miami News

The Brazil Curator

Indigenous Celebration

The New Tropic

thenewtropic.com

The New Tropic

Bringing the deep Amazon to Miami

Tribe from Amazon to visit Upper Ojai

vcstar.com

Partners

Photo & Video Imagery Courtesy of: Zack Embree, New Energy Media
Video Editing & Storytelling: Michael Atwood, Madcap Productions
Photo Credit: Matt Duplichan