MEET THE TEAM
Sacred Way Sanctuary is led daily by a team of Traditional Tribal Elders, scholars, and caretakers. We invite you to learn more about our team of dedicated leaders, here...
Richard Broken Nose
Spiritual and Cultural Advisor
We are honored to have Richard Broken Nose as the Spiritual and Cultural Advisor for Sacred Way Sanctuary’s Advisory Council.
Mr. Broken Nose is a traditional spiritual leader and knowledge bearer for his People, the Oglala Lakota. He has committed his life to helping the People through traditional prayer and ceremony. He is of the Payabya Tiospaye under the leadership of Young Man Afraid of His Horses.
Richard has been a life-long horseman. By the age of 8-years-old, he was an accomplished rider. He began saddle training his own horses and those of others by the time he reached 15 years of age. Mr. Broken Nose recalls: “Horses were always an important part of our lives. My grandmother and my grandfather were self-supporting people.
They did not rely on the federal government. We had horses, cows, hogs, and we had our own garden. Our ancestors were self-sufficient. We had our own traditional government, and the headmen were the policy-makers and decision-makers. It is time to return to this way of being.”
Mr. Broken Nose has dedicated his life to the following: serving his People and others who are in need; educating the youth regarding their culture and traditional lifeways; Nation-building; and helping to return the Oceti Sakowin Oyate to their sustainable and self-sufficient way of life.
Governing Council Member
Loretta Afraid-of-Bear is the faith-keeper and holder of the Afraid of Bear/ American Horse Sundance Pipe. Fluent in Lakota, she serves as a Cultural Specialist for her people. She is a dedicated wife, mother, and grandmother. Loretta carries an enormous mission with respect to the Black Hills: returning its management to the Oceti Sakowin (the Seven Council Fires), also known as the Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota Peoples. Loretta has the following consensus from her Peoples: "The Black Hills are not for sale. We want all the unseated lands in the Black Hills back, returned to the 9 tribes." As Loretta states, "Native peoples, First Nations Peoples, are calling for access to their sacred sites. That is what this whole process became for me, was to access sacred sites and to get them back into our hands so that we can share with the world the way that we provide stewardship and guardianship."
Loretta Afraid-of-Bear and her husband, Tom Cook, together with their people, are sponsors of a Sundance ceremony, which takes place at the Wild Horse Sanctuary grounds in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Loretta is a Board Member for Running Strong for American Indian Youth, and the Center for Sacred Studies. She and her husband Tom also enable food security and help to put in hundreds of gardens across Pine Ridge Reservation, alone, each year. Loretta's late mother, Beatrice Long Visitor, held a seat on the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. Serving as her translator and helper, Loretta accompanied her mother around the world for many years to share her People's traditions, and she continues to teach and share her culture with people around the globe.
We are honored to have Loretta as a member of our Governing Council.
Governing Council Member
Beatle Soop is of the Blackfoot (Nitsitapi) Peoples and was born in Alberta, Canada. He was raised by his grandmother, who was a fluent Siksiká language speaker. As he describes, he grew up “surrounded by his people and their horses,” and he is honored to have been a recipient of his great grandmother’s historical stories and traditional knowledge regarding the horse.
His grandfather taught him how to be a horseman, and at the age of 13 he began to train horses in a manner aligned with his grandfather’s teachings.
Beatle is a former Marine. For more than two decades he worked as an award-winning print and television journalist covering feature stories and indigenous issues. Beatle now serves as an Equine Therapist and Crisis Counselor with the non-profit organization, Elk Dog Equine Assisted
Through this vehicle, he and his wife Heather Cote-Soop work with numerous First Nations Peoples throughout the Regina, Saskatchewan area. In this endeavor, Beatle serves side-by- side with the horse to help program participants heal in a manner consistent with their nature and cultural teachings.
As he explains, “My grandfather taught me that horses communicate with you, but today people do not communicate back. It is time that we healed so that we can once again communicate with our four-legged relative.”
Beatle and his wife have three children and three grandchildren.
We are honored to have Beatle as a member of our Governing Council.
Dr. Yvette Running Horse Collin
Governing Council Member
Dr. Yvette Running Horse Collin received her doctorate in Indigenous Studies from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in May 2017 where she graduated with Honors (Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key.) Her research focused on the historical, cultural, and spiritual relationship between the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and the horse. She is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe (OST). She is currently doing her post-doctoral research at CAGT (Centre for Anthropobiology and Genomics of Toulouse) in Toulouse, France. Dr. Running Horse Collin is one of the Founders of Sacred Way Sanctuary and the Native American Horse Trail.
Dr. Running Horse Collin received her B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University (Writing Seminars), and a Joint M.A. from New York University (Journalism and Latin American Caribbean Studies.) She has been the recipient of numerous scholarships, and was granted Fellowships at the University of Alaska,
Fairbanks in 2016-2017 (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Dissertation Fellowship), 2014-2015 (UAF Indigenous Studies Fellowship) and 2013-2014 (UAF Indigenous Studies Fellowship.) She is currently the Executive Director of Sacred Healing Circle, a non-profit organization that focuses on healing Native communities. She also proudly serves as part of the Administrative Team for the Black Hills Sioux Nation Council of Elders.
Dr. Running Horse Collin is an award-winning journalist, and has held various executive positions at non-profit institutions around the United States. She has advised state, federal and Fortune 100 organizations on Native American policy. She lectures extensively throughout the United States and internationally on her people’s traditions and history surrounding the horse at academic and Native leadership conferences such as the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE), the Canadian Indigenous/Native Studies Association (CINSA), the Alaska Native Studies Conference, and Standing Rock Sioux Nation’s Prophecy of the Grandfather’s Conference. She practices the traditional ways of her Ancestors and is a wife, mother, and grandmother.
Governing Council Member
William "Dan" Issac is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw. He is a traditional Choctaw language speaker who lives with his wife, Leda, and their seven children on his tribal lands which are close to Nanih Waiya (their ancestral homeland.) He is a Veteran of the United States Air Force. It is during this time in the military that he experienced many different cultures, races, ways of thinking and ways of being for the first time. As he explains, “It was these experiences that made me want to come home and begin my journey into immersing myself into my own culture and getting my ‘real education.’”
Upon returning home he married his wife, and together they searched for activities that they could do together as a couple and with their children.
Mary Ella Crowe
Governing Council Member
This began their life-long journey into pow-wow dancing and traditional drumming and singing. Mr. Isaac is a part of the Southern Pine Singers, a group of Southern-style inter-tribal singers who perform at pow wows, festivals, tribal events, funerals, and wakes. He was a substance abuse counselor for seven years and now serves as a residential counselor with the Choctaw Housing Authority.
Mr. Isaac explains the following about the cultural and spiritual importance of the Choctaw ponies: “We know that the horses are sacred medicine for our People and that to be around them promotes healing.”
We are honored to have Dan Isaac as part of our Governing Council.
Mary Ella "Missy" Crowe is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, an activist for her People, Indigenous Peoples in general, and Grandmother Earth. She lives on her traditional lands on the Qualla Boundary of North Carolina. She was raised in a Cherokee language speaking home by “a mother who taught [her] to pray and a father who taught [her] how to fight.” She explains that her mother instructed her on the importance of spirituality, cultural tradition, creation story knowledge, the making of culturally important crafts, and the growing and harvesting of heritage foods. Her father, a war-veteran, was forced into the boarding school system in Oklahoma as a child and later sent to war. According to Missy, he taught her how to respect and navigate the harsh realities of the world.
Missy grew up in a family of eight children. Her dedication to community activism was harnessed early by her mother, who was the first foster care parent on the Qualla Boundary, co-author for the bill for the Indian Child Welfare Act, and Co-Chairman of the National Foster Parent’s Association. At a very young age Missy accompanied her mother on trips to support these efforts. This work provided her an early introduction to the world of board rooms, legislatures, congressmen, and senators.
By the time she had finished high school, Missy had participated in a number of state youth organizations, such as a task force for preventing adolescent pregnancy and the President’s Council for the Billy Mills Indian Youth Leadership Conference. In the 1990s she began formal organizing efforts to protect Grandmother Earth and her waters. She traveled with the Indigenous Environmental Network from 1994-1998, fighting alongside other Native Peoples to protect against the damage created by the oil and strip mining industries. This strengthened her alliance with people of the Sac and Fox Nation (Oklahoma), Mole Lake Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Wisconsin), the Assiniboine Peoples (Montana), and the Ahtna and Dena’ina Athabaskan people of Chickaloon Village (Alaska).
Back home on the Qualla Boundary, Missy has served as an individual and group counselor for the Cherokee Children’s home, worked in the emergency shelter for kids, and served as a case manager for adult Natives who suffer from chronic mental illness. She continues to help coordinate workshops to address climate change and to fight the genetic modification of foods and plants.
Missy and her husband Manuel “Bo” Montelongo raised their three children together until he passed away from a heart attack in April 2008. Missy is a cancer survivor, and an award-winning corn husk doll maker. She specializes in incorporating cultural traditions and ways of life into her work. Her deep love and respect for the horse was cemented at a young age, with the spiritual relationship she developed with “Danny Boy,” her four-legged relative.
We are honored to have Missy Crowe as part of our Governing Council.