Who We Are ~
Sonia Keller-Lapoint (She her hers)
Founding Member, Program Manager, Spiritual Advisor
Sonia is mutli-cultural. Her tribe is Seneca of the Iroquois nation. Her family comes from the Cattaraugus Seneca Indian territory. Her grandmother is of the Beaver Clan. She is a spiritual mentor and cultural consultant. She has over 30 years of experience working in Indian Education and Indian Health Service. She is a Drum Keeper, Traditional Dancer, Story Teller Presenter and teacher of many Native Crafts. She has presented in Germany and Switzerland bringing Native American cultural teachings to help other cultures heal historical trauma and bridge the gap of cultural understanding. Her work abroad helped to promote cultural acceptance of individuality and encourage inclusivity. Sonia's main purpose as to unapologetically shine her light, be her best self and support others in being their best self. She has a unique gift in helping elders with end of life care and ceremony. When she is not out helping community members you will find her in her garden braiding sweetgrass, making moccasins or spending time with her grandkids. Sonia sees love as the greatest medicine of all.
Dr. Shirley Rowland (She her hers)
Spiritual Advisor/Addictions Specialist
Dr. Shirley is a seventh generation Cherokee, descendant of “ C e t o ae “ in Big Lich North Carolina. She traces her spiritual development to her ancestors who guided her steps on the Medicine Path, to her connection to Mother Earth Medicine and the heartbeat of the drum. Author, poet, artist, and teacher/mentor, she shares her wisdom and teachings with all who come to her. Dr. Shirley’s undergrad work is in psychology, with a master’s degree in healing families and a doctorate in Addictive Disorders. All of her work has been focused on her Native American culture. Today, as a mother of two daughters, two granddaughters and six great grandchildren, she mentors and inspires the next generation of young people. Her passion and experience is obvious in her daily life. She is a council member for the ‘Cherokee’s of the Northern Central Valley’, (a satellite community of the Cherokee Nation). She is a founding member of ‘Otsigeya’, a Cherokee Women’s mother drum group. She is also a regular speaker at the Community Lutheran Church in her community. When she is not busy helping others, you can find her in her kitchen preparing medicine’s, making jellies, or doing cultural art and crafts.
Rebecca "Maggie" Magdalena Escobedo-Steele & Ma Betty (She her hers)
Founding Members, Traditional Healers, Ceremonial Leaders
Maggie and Ma Betty are quite the dynamic duo. Just shy of celebrity status in Native community. Maggie and Ma Betty are revered for the love and cultural knowledge they collectively bring.
Maggie Steele is the founder of 7th Generation Warriors For Peace, an organization dedicated to working with communities, families, individuals, children and youth to prevent cycles of family violence, gang conflict, addiction and suicide by promoting cultural healing, positive activism and empowerment. For over 25 years Maggie has implemented women’s leadership programs, youth and community healing events, peacemaking in prison facilities, and wellness workshops throughout California and the United States. Recognized as a Distinguished American Indian Educator by Ca Department of Education, a Peacemaker by the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution, a Community Fellow for the California Wellness Foundation Violence Prevention Initiative, and an Ambassador for Peace Violence Prevention Coalition of Orange County. She has also received the prestigious Chiefs award from Southern California Chief of probation, for her excellence and innovation in working to bring cultural healing and conflict resolution to countless individuals and families.
An accomplished artist, storyteller, poet and singer, her work is well known and respected in Native American communities, and known as “Aunty Maggie” she is loved by thousands of youth throughout the nation.