Ayahuasca Dialogues Field Facilitators

Christina Chaya

Christina_ChayaFollowing life’s guidance, Christina has found herself working with diverse populations in environmental and community-related projects since she was a teenager in California. In 2002 she shifted her life to South America, and since then has travelled through various countries, connecting with the people and their rich cultures, and eventually dedicating herself to establishing various projects for sustainability, inspired by the needs of each place and their people. As a ‘social and environmental entrepreneur’, she has established a cultural community center with projects and activities focused on sustainable development, coordinated festivals for sustainability, initiated a local newspaper with the youth, and now in the Intag region of northern Ecuador, she is supporting the townspeople to pioneer a waste management system for zero waste and a voluntourism project to encourage healthy tourism. She enjoys helping communities to manifest what they truly know to be healthy and harmonic development for their town and the environment they live in. Since 2013, she has been consulting and translating for an ayahuascero, helping to preserve the integrity of this sacred, traditional medicine. Now as an ESC team member, she applies her community development experiences to assist in the conscientious use of traditional plant medicine.

Kate Keller

Kate KellerRaised in the mountains of rural Montana, it was not until 1995 that Kate found her way into more a more global awareness, but those experiences were the defining moments in her consciousness and socio-political orientation to this day. Following a semester abroad, Kate spent nearly a year living in a Zapatista jungle community in rural Chiapas, Mexico as a human rights observer. While picking coffee in the cafetales of the Selva Lacondona, she committed her life to social justice, food sovereignty, and the pursuit of a more equitable world- ‘ un mundo donde quepan muchos.’ Kate returned to her home in Montana inspired by the horizontal governance and participatory integrity of the Zapatista model, and for 15 years dedicated her work to community organizing, agricultural work and activism in western Washington, New Mexico, and Montana. She has spent the last 9 years as the founding organizer and coordinator for the Missoula Food Co-op, a worker-owned and operated grocery. Most recently, Kate became a student of botanical medicine in the ancient healing traditions of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Her interest in the preservation and understanding of these plants, traditions, and the ecosystems from which they originate are what led Kate serendipitously to this project with the ESC.

Howard Marks

Howard_MarksHoward Marks received his B.A. in Contemplative Psychology with an emphasis on Health and Healing from Naropa Institute. He received his M.Ed. from the University of Northern Colorado, working closely with the pioneers of the inclusion movement. For more than 10 years he has worked as a Program Specialist for the Hawaii State Council on Developmental Disabilities. Howard has always been interested in the study of entheogens, investigating ayahuasca and yage traditions in Brazil and Colombia. Recently he did an extended work with a well-known Taita from Sibundoy, Putumayo, Colombia. His passionate interest in ibogaine led to volunteer work at a well-known clinic in Mexico and in 2012, he was invited to speak about ibogaine in a Congress at the Universidad Nacional in Colombia.

Mariella Noriega

Mariella NoriegaMariella Noriega is a native to Iquitos, Peru. Her involvement with plant medicines from the region was initiated by her family, and passed down to her. She has worked with many of the ayahuasqueros and herbalists throughout Peru, has worked at various healing centers as a translator and aide to the visitors, and actively studies the many plant medicines from the Amazon.

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Due to sustained opposition from a small but significant portion of stakeholders, we have dissolved the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council.

We are grateful for your support in increasing dialogue, learning with one another, and raising awareness about safer, more sustainable, and more reciprocal traditional plant use practices.

For a summary of our work, please see our 2014 financial report or our Dialogues Report.

If you are interested in learning more about ethnobotanicals, please visit ICEERS.