Youth Passageways Leadership

Our Stewardship Council

The Stewardship Council is similar to a Board of Directors and holds the same legal and fiduciary responsibility. This circle consists of a small but diverse group of partners dedicated to steering the larger decisions and direction of Youth Passageways as a living network and organization while keeping vigilant that the mission and vision are always at the heart of Youth Passageways’ operations. Learn more about How we Govern.

Stewardship Council Members

Catherina AKA “Tree” Willard, Co-Chair


Community Engagement Specialist
Greater Seattle Area

Katheryne Lewis


ROP Facilitator
Multnomah Territory, Portland, OR

Cameron Withey Byrne, Treasurer, Co-Chair


ROP Facilitator
S’Klallam Territory, Port Townsend, WA

Ashanti Branch


Founder, The Ever Forward Club
Ohlone Territory, Oakland, CA

Tarek Kutay


Guide, Rite of Passage Journeys
Duwamish Territory, Seattle, WA

Vianey Moreno


Young Warrior, Tia Chuchas Centro Cultural
Tongva Territory, Los Angeles, CA

Hubert Blackwolf


Cheyenne Thunder Youth Group
Northern Cheyenne Reservation, MT

Sharon Blackwolf, Elder Wisdom Keeper


Buffalo Visions Healing Center
Northern Cheyenne Reservation, MT

Lia Bentley


Dancer and Restorative Justice Facilitator

Siri Gunnarson


ROP Facilitator, School of Lost Borders
Coast Miwok Territory, Sebastopol, CA

Teena Pugliese, Secretary


Filmmaker, Light Machine Productions
Three Creeks/Owens Valley, CA

Staff Circle

Along with the Stewardship Council (SC), a smaller group of staff and SC members works in direct dialogue and collaboration with each other to determine and implement the general direction and day-to-day operations of Youth Passageways. We think of them as co-directors called the Leadership Circle, including Darcy Ottey, and Dane Zahorsky. Learn more about How we Govern

Darcy Ottey

She/her |  ˈmɛthaʊ Territory, Twisp, WA

Since her wilderness-based coming of age experience through Rite of Passage Journeys at age 13, Darcy Ottey has been dedicated to creating intentional rite of passage experiences to help young people mature into healthy, capable adults. As an initiated European-American woman (Keltic/Slavic descent), she is particularly interested in how rites of passage can help develop both the individual capacities and the cultural will necessary to dismantle structures of oppression, as well as the role inheritors of race-based privilege can have in interrupting cycles of oppression those structures cause, helping to allow for the creation of truly thriving communities. Currently Co-Director for Youth Passageways, Darcy has worked with a variety of youth-serving organizations as both rite of passage practitioner and administrator. She holds an M.A. in Environment and Community from Antioch University Seattle.

Dane Zahorsky

He/him | Kaw & Osage Territories, Kansas City, MO

Like many called to this work, Dane never had proper initiation, and at 15 left home to seek one. After a long and sordid journey he found himself in a small lake town in Guatemala, taken in by a family of Highland Maya. It was here, living and working among humble and joy filled people who knew exactly who and what they were that he fell into a passionate kinship with initiation, indigenous wisdom, and the nature of simple graces.

In 2013 he was called back to the Midwest to care for his mother, and blessed with an opportunity to remake and re-envision what his own relationships to family and place were and are. A large part of that has been connecting to his Slavic heritage [Hungarian/Slovakian descent].

He has since founded the Make Trybe Center for Transformative Design in Kansas City, that guides seekers of all ages through collaboratively designed transformations in the form of workshops, courses, and wilderness vision fasts as they relate to developing that sense of deep community, or of trybe, that he bore witness to and was a part of in San Lucas Tolimán, all those years ago.

Yeshe Salz

She/her | Multnomah Territory, Portland, OR

Like most beings of African descent, Katheryne’s ancestral journey and healing is an ongoing process. Her family was originally brought to the lands of the Muscogee/ Creek, Yamassee, and Seminole (Georgia and Florida), where many of them still remain. Wanting to honor her family’s legacy of determination, hard work and resilience, a legacy that has afforded Katheryne an abundance of opportunities and gratitude, she finds herself pouring her energy into the work of protecting and empowering our younger generation. Her experience includes a background in conservation and trail work through Montana and Wyoming where she challenged the idea of who was a part of the movement to protect our nonhuman/ beyond-human world. Her latest endeavor was working at a horticultural rite of passage based program in Hawaii. She is currently studying ecopsychology to help youth of color foster a sense of environmental stewardship in efforts to build a sense of belonging and purpose within the communities that are often left out of the outdoors narrative.

Youth Passageways Guardians

Youth Passageways Guardians offer attention to the soul and spirit of our network. Their perspective, guidance, and tending of our mission and values keep our organization and it’s growth in balance with the spiral. Learn more about How we Govern

Gigi Coyle

Gigi‘s life and work are focused on integral healing through right livelihood, social action, rites of passage, the practice of council and the arts. She is a catalyst and consultant, a facilitator and guide: a person who assists in building bridges, understanding, and awareness with individuals and groups.

In the late 70’s after a decade of work in social justice and international relations, Gigi turned her attention to a deeper look into the healing and system changes she and others longed for – thru the study of different spiritual traditions, modern and ancient healing methods, direct personal experiences of ceremony and Nature. This led to her arrival in 1981 at The School of Lost Borders and The Ojai Foundation – the beginning of a long-term relationship with those communities and the work in rites of passage for individuals and organizations. She served as Co–Director and Co- Chair of the Board of Ojai Foundation and as an Associate Director, guide and trainer for the School of Lost Borders at different times between 1981 and 2021. Currently, she gives much of her time and attention to inter-generational pilgrimage and community building thru Beyond Boundaries, Ways of Council and Walking-Water.

Gigi was instrumental in the founding of Youth Passageways, providing vision and guidance throughout the process. She was an advisor to the Hawaii meeting in 2o08, part of the core organizing team for the 2012 Summit at Ojai as well as Youth Passageways’ founding Stewardship Council gathering and has continued to provide leadership and support ever since.

Orland Bishop

Orland Bishop combines a deep dedication to human rights advocacy and cultural renewal with an extensive study of medicine, naturopathy, psychology and indigenous cosmologies. He was a research fellow with the Center for the Study of Violence and Social Change at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles and has consulted with many human development organizations. As director of Shade Tree Multicultural Foundation in Los Angeles, he has pioneered approaches to urban truces and mentoring at-risk youth that combine new ideas with traditional ways of knowledge.

Shade Tree reaches into gang and drug cultures where many young people expect to die before the age of 20.

“These young people feel that they are not welcome in the world, in the culture and in the future,” Orland explains.

Shade Tree employs a unique process that draws on both contemporary and ancient practices, particularly that of the South African tradition of Indaba or “deep talk.” Hidden Forces of the American Dream refers to the creative, still unused powers available to the American people and land that were released through tremendous sacrifices made over the course of American history by Native Americans, African slaves and waves of immigrants.

Orland has provided guidance and wisdom throughout the founding of Youth Passageways. He attended the 2012 Summit at Ojai as well as Youth Passageways’ founding Stewardship Council gathering, served as a member of the Leadership Circle during YPW’s first year, and has continued to provide leadership and support ever since.

Becky & Dallas Chief Eagle

Becky and Dallas Chief Eagle are co-founders of the All Nations Gathering Center on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Both do work that’s hard to contain to any short intro, a few of the things we might mention are Dallas’s work as an artist-in-residence in schools across the nation since the mid 1980’s using Hoop Dancing and other techniques to teach the lessons of the Lakota Way or Becky’s work as the compliance officer of the Oglala Sioux Lakota Housing where she helps manage 1500 low rent rental units across the 9 districts of the reservation.

Over the more than 10 years they along with a growing team of folks have impacted and transformed many people’s lives. The Center blends modern practices with the beautiful traditions of the Lakota Way in the lush and vibrant Yellow Bear Canyon just outside the Black Hills south of the Badlands in South Dakota.

From getting out of unhealthy relationships, stopping suicidal intentions to healing bodies and minds, their healing has been a powerful catalyst for many men and women of all nations to heal and live healthier lives.

Luis Rodriguez

Luis is also a novelist/memoirist/short story writer/children’s book writer/essayist as well as a community & urban peace activist, mentor, healer, youth & arts advocate, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

He has 16 books in all genres, including the best-selling memoir, “Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.” His latest memoir is the sequel, “It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing.” His last poetry book is “Borrowed Bones” from Curbstone Books/Northwestern University Press. In 2020, Seven Stories Press released his first book of essays, “From Our Land to Our Land: Essays, Journeys & Imaginings from a Native Xicanx Writer.”

Luis is founding editor of Tia Chucha Press, now in its 30th year, and co-founder/president of Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural & Bookstore in the San Fernando Valley. He has traveled across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, South America, Europe, and Japan to speak, do poetry readings, indigenous ceremonies, or reportage over the past 40 years. Dedicated to his indigenous roots and Native American spirituality, Luis has a Mexika name: Mixcoatl Itztlacuiloh. With his wife Trini Tlazhoteotl he has a podcast called “The Hummingbird Cricket Hour”–



Advisory Council

Growing directly and naturally out of the dialog between the Stewardship Council and Leadership Circle is our Advisory Council. This is a group of trusted colleagues, allies, elders and confidantes who are beacons of light and knowledge, helping to bring clarity and wisdom to the circle. If ever our waters should muddy, our advisors bring fresh perspective, allowing the surface to still and mirror back to us where we are at, so we may best cultivate the best possible solutions.

Gigi Coyle, Guardian
Big Pine, CA, USA

Orland Bishop, Guardian
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Dallas Chief Eagle, Guardian
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD

Kalani Souza
Laupahoehoe, HI, USA

Kruti Parekh
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Melissa Michaels
Boulder, CO, USA

Sam Bull
Sonoma, CA, USA

Fidel Rodriguez
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Rob Meltzer
Westminster, CO, USA

Pegi Eyers
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada

Grant Abert
Madison, WI, USA

Marisa Withey Byrne
Port Townsend, WA, USA

Sharon Sloan
Ojai, CA, USA

Clement Wilson
Portland, OR, USA

David Blumenkrantz
Glastonbury, CN, USA

Frederick Marx
Oakland, CA, USA

Joshua Gorman
Oakland, CA, USA

Paul Hill
Cleveland, OH, USA

Arne Rubinstein
Mullumbimby, New South Wales, Australia

Bill Plotkin
Durango, CO, USA

Meredith Little
Big Pine, CA, USA

rain crowe
Unceded ancestral Multnomah & Takelma lands (Portland, OR, USA)

Ramon Parish
Front Range, CO, USA

Sobey Wing
Unceded ancestral Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver, BC, CA)

Brendan Clarke
Ojai, CA, USA

Becky Chief Eagle, Guardian
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD

Jett Cazeaux
All the places

Luis Rodriguez, Guardian
Los Angeles, CA, USA