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Meet The Team

OmeAkaEhekatl Erick Gonzalez
   Erick Gonzalez - Founder 

Born in Guatemala, OmeAkaEhekatl Erick Gonzalez is a Spiritual Guide, Teacher, and Healer. He was initiated into Native sacred rites over a thirty-five year period with direct participation, teachings, and guidance from various Native spiritual elders from Mexico, North America, Colombia, Peru, and Guatemala. Erick received a Master’s in Psychology through Newport University in Southern California. Erick integrates body, mind, and spirit in a holistic way using methods taught to him by Mayan elders and other indigenous elders from the Americas as well as personal experiences that have come from his deep connection to the Divine. In 2005, he was adopted into the Ts’aalth Clan, the five finned killer whale people of the Eagle Clan of the Haida, and given the name Gaada, meaning supernatural light.

OmeAkaEhekatl is a member and representative of various councils of Indigenous elders, youth, and spiritual guides. He works as an advocate of Preservation of the Natural World and Its Inhabitants and of Native sovereign rights under the guidance and cooperation of Indigenous spiritual elders and leaders. To benefit all life on Mother Earth, OmeAkaEhekatl participates in many international and local Native & non-Native gatherings, helping to nurture and facilitate healing and spiritual growth with individuals and groups through teachings, ceremonies, and sacred traditions.

Heddi Neale
     Heddi Neale, President 

Heddi has been working for the past eight years to support the exchange of indigenous wisdom in various ways. Fluent in Spanish, she has traveled in the United States, Guatemala, Canada, and Northern Europe to help facilitate and translate for various Councils with Mayan and other indigenous elders, as well as non-native peoples from all over the world. Heddi has been traveling to Guatemala to spend time with and learn from the Maya since 1995, and is helping to create the Patziapa Center on the shores of Lake Atitlan. She also has coordinated the healing services and ceremonies given in the U.S. and Canada by her husband OmeAkaEhekatl. Through these experiences, she has been a witness to the incredible healing and inspiration that indigenous ceremonies and knowledge brings to native and non-native people alike, and feels it is so important to healing our Mother Earth that she has dedicated her life to serve this work in whatever way possible.

Heddi earned a Masters degree in Creation Spirituality from Naropa University in 1999 and completed a Permaculture Design program in December of 2006. She also worked for seven years as a landscaper/ gardener.  Inspired by the beauty and diversity of the natural word around her, Heddi brings her creativity as an artist to all of the various projects she is involved with. 

Marsha Forrest
       Marsha Forrest, VP

Marsha was born and raised on the Six Nations Reservation in Ontario, Canada as a Mohawk woman. She was surrounded and supported by a large extended family that allowed her to fulfill her dream of becoming a Registered Nurse. She worked as a nurse and lived in Haida Gwaii, the Queen Charlotte Islands of B.C., for thirty three years, and was adopted into the Ts’aalth Clan of the Eagle Clan of the Haida. Although most of her work took place in a hospital setting, Marsha was also able to incorporate both western and complementary techniques into her work, such as acupressure, reflexology, polarity therapy, massage, and traditional healing practices.  Marsha has traveled to many countries, including Guatemala, and is part of the Traditional Elders and Youth Council, along with Erick Gonzalez. She just moved with her husband from Haida Gwaii to Southern Illinois and is working with the Cherokee and women’ groups in that area.

Marsha has been fortunate to attend a number of conferences and consultations as a representative of the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada, the Canadian Women’s Health Network and as a representative for Canada. Some of the highlights in this area include the Canada/USA Conference on Women’s Health, the Canada/Cuba Conference on Women’s Health and the Non Governmental Organizations Conference that was held in conjunction with the Fourth International Women’s Conference held in Beijing, China in 1995. She has served as Co-Chair of the Canadian Women’s Health Network.

Marcella Eversole
 Marcella Eversole, Director 

Marcella Eversole serves as TJU's Director of Networking, connecting TJU to partner organizations, foundations, healing centers and spiritual communities interested in building collaborative alliances that promote the preservation of life for future generations. She has spent the past ten years working professionally in marketing, fundraising, community organizing and political advocacy. Some of the national organizations she has served; include, National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Save Our Environment, The Wilderness Society, Planned Parenthood, Natural World Museum, Progressive Majority and Oceana. She received a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Oregon in 1994.  As Co-Founder of SpiralMuse, www.spiralmuse.org, a women’s collective with a healing center and website encouraging creativity and self-expression, Marcella has worked collaboratively with others to manifest shared visions. She has participated in creating a number of large gatherings designed to raise consciousness, promote cooperation and spark a sense of higher purpose. In 2005, Marcella was moved to assure that indigenous representatives were present to offer a prayer for the opening ceremonies of the United Nations World Environment Day, nourishing the spirits of the one-thousand environmental activists present.

Marcella has dedicated herself to learning the sacred indigenous wisdom and ceremonial way of life held and protected by the traditional Mayan elders. She has also participated in other avenues of personal healing and transformation, including; Women’s Circles, Grof Holotropic Breathwork, The Arete Experience and Landmark Education.

Shannon Harms
  Shannon Harms - Treasurer

Shannon joined TJU through her connection to Marsha Forrest, VP in March 2009. Feeling the need to further contribute to TJU's mission of connecting others to the natural and spiritual worlds, she filled the Treasurer vacancy in October 2009.  Shannon was born in Jacksonville, FL but was raised in Southern Illinois from infancy and has lived there for all but 5 years of her life, which were spent living in Springfield, IL. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's in Accounting from SIUC. After having spent 3 years working as an auditor for a public accounting firm, she became employed and presently serves as Senior Accountant/Financial Analyst for a company that rehabilitates people with brain and spinal cord injuries. Because of her skills, educational background, and long-stemmed desire to work in the not-for-profit sector, she believes her relationship with TJU and it's board and members will be well served.Shannon came to TJU after a more than 15 year search for a teacher who would bring her to ceremony and show her how to practice the way of  living in a sacred manner with unconditional love, humility, reverence, honor, respect, grace, and gratitude for Creator, Mother Earth and all our relations. She wanted to live in a way that resonated in her heart and soul, to live as the indigenous peoples live, as caretakers of our Mother and each other and as the continuum of our Ancestors' work, so much so that she plans to resign from her current position at CCS to pursue an RN degree, while studying Spanish and learning herbal medicines.

Rodger-- green_building@sbcglobal.net   (818) 431-1683
Heddi Neale-- HeddiL@gmail.com  (530) 459-3471