Circle Legacy Center uses Indigenous advisors for guidance and support for its projects and cultural events. We also share their messages, give voice to their concerns and support their needs.
Kate DeRiel (also a CLC board member)
Having attended Smith College in Boston then some years in California, I ended up in Pennsylvania after I married and had a family. I attended graduate school becoming an elementary school teacher. Having always been interested in Native American history and culture, I was thrilled to make friends with a Native American, who then invited me to her house for Thanksgiving!
As a Quaker, I joined the Indian Committee, which is a working group of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends (Quakers). Here I found many Friends who supported Native peoples and Indian causes. The Indian Committee began in 1795 and may be the oldest committee in the U.S. that is still meeting! Quakers had concerns about the treatment of Native Americans beginning with the arrival of William Penn in 1682; by the 1700’s, Quakers helped the Lenni Lenape, the Iroquois, and other groups with financial and legal advice about retaining their ancestral lands. Older Quakers left their money to the Indian Committee to help Native Americans and we now serve as a granting group which sponsors many activities requested by Native peoples in North and South America. We only give grants to Native people themselves and not to Quaker or other organizations. We receive about 8 to 10 applications for funding each year; in 2012-2013 we have made grants to the Piney Lenape band for a powwow at the Swedish Museum in Philadelphia; to Dr. Ana Maria Tekina-eiru Maynard for a cultural awareness program about the Taino people: to the White Earth land Recovery Project in Ojibwe, MN; to the Winnemem Wintu for a coming of age ceremony in CA for young women; and more.
In 2004, the Indian Committee also helped sponsor a historic meeting commemorating the falling in 1804 of the Treaty Elm in Philadelphia. This elm tree was the place where William Penn and Chief Tamanend of the Lenni Lenape signed a peace treaty in 1683. At the commemoration in 2004, chiefs from the New Jersey and Delaware Lenape shook hands with the chief of the Delaware (Lenni Lenape) Nation of Oklahoma for the first time. We are currently working to support federal recognition of tribes in NJ, PA, and DE.
I also became involved with the Deer Chaser Dance Troup which consisted of Native American children who traveled from South Dakota reservations every November to perform in schools in the Philadelphia area, hosting them in my home for several years.
I became aware of Circle Legacy through Sandi Cianciulli, and the Indian Committee has attended workshops sponsored by CLC as we continue to work together in the eastern PA area as two organizations whose goals are to learn about and support Native causes and issues.
Nancy is a doctoral candidate of history at Temple University. She is the author of articles pertaining to the Cherokee Nation’s influence on United States’ political culture in the Jacksonian era. Morgan is an academic advisor for a Lancaster-based Native American association, Circle Legacy Center, in their efforts to preserve the Farmhouse at Carlisle Barracks as a historic landmark of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, 1879-1918. She has a contract with Cathy Monholland and Tim Alan Garrison for the University of Nebraska Press to publish the journals of Rev. Samuel Austin Worcester, 1831-1841. Her dissertation is entitled, ““Fraught with Disastrous Consequences for our Country”: Cherokee Removal and Nullification, 1831-1833.” Her project explores how these two conflicts contributed to American democracy and the sectional crisis.
Michael is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and is also of Seneca and Cayuga descent. Mr. Nephew grew up in Western New York on the Cattaraugus Indian Teritory and dances in traditional Seneca regalia. He was President of the American Indian Society of Washington DC (AIS) from 1994 to 2011. He is also a Sequoyah Fellow member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and a member of the AISES National Capitol Region Professional Chapter. He is also a past Officer/Board Member with the American Indian Inter-Tribal Cultural Organization.
He is a retired computer programmer having worked for PHI Services, having previously worked for Native American Consultants, the Institute for the Development of Indian Law, Alu Like, Hawaii Council of American Indian Nations, and the United Indian Planners Association.
He is involved in performing/video arts and has worked with Fairfax Cable Access Channel, Native American TV, Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, Contemporary Arts Theatre Co., and a number of other theatre companies. He was the Secretary and Board Member of the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop.
Associate attorney with the law firm Gibbel Kraybill & Hess LLP. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of law. He has lectured on the doctrine of discovery. He works with the Return to the Earth Project. He serves as general counsel for the Circle Legacy Center.
David Courchene (Neeghani Aki Innini – Leading Earth Man)
Anishnabe Nation, Eagle Clan (Manitoba, Canada)
A leader descended from a long line of Indigenous chiefs of Turtle Island (America), Neeghani Aki Innini has taken on the ancient Indigenous role as a Messenger of Peace. His greatest focus has been to inspire young people of all nations to find their own visions, holding many Youth Gatherings throughout Canada and the USA. Neeghani Aki Innini has been an invited speaker on wide ranging issues related to the Indigenous communities, including education; Indigenous traditions; the environment; health and Indigenous medicine; peace; spirituality, governance and decision-making. He has been invited to serve as an Indigenous and spiritual advisor in television and film documentaries. He has been invited to speak at world gatherings in Brazil, Japan, Israel, the Philippines, the US and Canada. In August 2000, he was an invited speaker at the 2000 Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, hosted by the United Nations in New York, USA. David recently spoke at Cambridge University, England.
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