These trusted individuals come from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences. They will share their expertise, participate in programs on an informal basis, and contribute to the growth and long-term sustainability of the organization.
Their guidance and leadership is invaluable to the Sacred Fire Foundation family and the Indigenous Elders and communities we are in service to.
Circle of Advisors
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.
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.
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.
Paul is the former director of the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum and former president of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts. As producer of the Santa Fe Indian Market, his expertise lent to executing the largest contemporary Indian art show in the world.
For 26 years, Paul served as tribal councilman for the San Ildefonso Pueblo. Paul also founded the New Mexico CultureNet Statewide web program. For 14 years, he served on the Board of Regents for the Museums of New Mexico, receiving the Regents Award in 2001.
Additionally, Paul has served as an administrative director for several government organizations including Bureau Chief for the statewide Medicaid waiver program which was the leading program advocating home health services.
Wakanyi Hoffman is a Kenya-born global nomad who has lived in many countries. She is currently based in the Netherlands with her husband and children. She is a trained journalist, a collector of African folktales, and a keeper of Indigenous wisdom from Africa.
As a mother to four Third Culture Kids, she has spent a significant amount of time in international school libraries worldwide and noticed the gaping absence of children’s books about Africa written by Africans. To fix this, she enrolled in a master’s degree program studying development education and global learning and designed her thesis around a project aimed at digitizing folktales from Africa to make them accessible to the rest of the world. While collecting these folktales, she discovered that lessons that aligned to solutions needed to meet the challenges of achieving sustainable development goals were embedded in the storytelling.
Wakanyi commissioned an artist based in Kenya to paint images that would capture the essence of African folktales. The first story will soon be published in a series of children’s books that introduce learners to the SDGs through African folktales. She hopes that this will be one way of bringing Indigenous knowledge into mainstream education on a global scale. Wakanyi founded The African Folktales Project as a space for educators and learners to explore and gain this knowledge through services such as online school visits, teachers’ storytelling sessions, and even a book club about the SDGs for children. She also self-published The Twelve Days of Christmas Safari, a children’s book celebrating African wildlife. Wakanyi is a founding board member of The Kenya Education Fund, which offers high school scholarships to children in Kenya, and is also a co-founder of Humanity Link, which builds partnerships between non-profit organizations and the corporate world. Wakanyi’s mission in life is to continue using her unique African childhood and global life experience to connect children worldwide with knowledge from our indigenous ancestors to co-create a better tomorrow for all future citizens of the world.
In her spare time, she loves walking in the forest, traveling to new places, learning new languages and dancing to new music.