OUR STORY

The IPCI conservation effort exists to sustain the spiritual practices of Indigenous Peoples for generations to come; promoting health, well-being, and native cultural revitalization through sovereignty and sustainability of the Sacred Peyote plant and the lands on which it grows

Birth of a Prayer

 

Eugene Black Bear Jr.

Native American Church of Oklahoma

National Council NAC representative

IPCI BOARD

Mr. Black Bear is a ceremonial leader for his people who has a direct connection to harvesting the Peyote sacrament from the Gardens in Texas as a child and is committed to the religious and land sovereignty required for the health of indigenous communities.

Sandor Iron Rope

NAC of South Dakota, President

National Council NAC representative

IPCI BOARD

Oglala Lakota Oyate from Pine Ridge South Dakota. Mr. Iron Rope received his B.A. in Human Services and American Indian Studies from the Black Hills State University. He serves as President of the NAC of South Dakota and former chair of NAC of North America. He is also the executive director of ‘TTO’, a non-profit committed to peyote conservation and the preservation of Lakota Culture and Health. 

Andrew Tso

NAC of North America

President

National Council NAC representative

Andrew Tso has worked for decades to support the Native American Church legally and spiritually as the way to protect the indigenous way of life. Mr Tso, aside from his service for the NACNA has worked to protect native land and water from oil company activities in the Aneth area.

TT. Cody Swift, M.A.

Riverstyx Foundation

IPCI BOARD

Mr. Swift is a trained clinical psychologist who has collaborated with over 70 projects addressing healthy society through working with stigmatized populations and issues. He is committed to the conservation of sacred and psychedelic medicines used for recovery from trauma and for spiritual connection. He has worked as a researcher, therapist, and philanthropist toward increasing our knowledge, access, and awareness of these precious tools.

Armando Loizaga

Nireika, Mexico, President

IPCI BOARD

Armando lives in Chalmita, Mexico where he and his wife Anya Loizaga conduct multidisciplinary clinical research protocols in Mexico to evaluate therapeutic potential of psychedelic plants used in ritual contexts. He works closely with the indigenous leaders who steward the 8000-year-old traditions surrounding indigenous peyote use in Mexico to conserve and legalize the medicine.

Miriam Volat, M.S.

Riverstyx Foundation

IPCI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Ms. Volat M.S. is a researcher, educator, organizer, facilitator and ecologist with a passion for soils and nutrient cycles. She works Nationally and Internationally to increase health in policy and community design. She has served the Board of Directors since November of 2017 in anyway she can to ensure the conservation of this medicine and precious way of life.

James Botsford

Consulting Attorney on Native American Law

IPCI STAFF

James is a national expert on the Native American Church, Mr. Botsford is one of the primary authors of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act Amendments of 1994, has worked nationally and in Wisconsin on the re-emergence of Indigenous Justice, Child Welfare Laws and as a champion of numerous Indian rights issues since his law career began in 1984. Though retired, Mr. Botsford has committed his expertise to this important endeavor.

Arnold Slowman

Azee’ Bee Nahagha of Dine Nation

IPCI CONSERVATION MANAGER

Mr. Slowman retired from Arizona Public Service after over 30 years as an Environmental Scientist.  Shortly after retirement he was employed by To'likan Chapter House as the Chapter Manager managing different projects for the community.  Mr. Slowman also served as the President of the Sweetwater ABNDN committee, he worked alongside ABNDN members, planning and organizing multiple events and meetings, the committee emphasized on encouraging local youth to develop skills to sustain the preservation of the sacred medicine.

Steve Moore

Native American Rights Fund

IPCI BOARD

Senior attorney at NARF, Mr. Moore has been supporting Native American Church of North America since 1983, providing legal protections for access to their peyote sacrament as well as water rights, sacred land rights, and repatriation of human remains. Mr. Moore’s legal experience and relationship to the NAC is crucial to the peyote conservation efforts.

Steven Benally

Azee’ Bee Nahagha of Dine Nation President

National Council NAC representative

IPCI BOARD

Steven Benally is an enrolled Dine' from Sweetwater, Arizona. As a leader and peyote practitioner, Mr. Benally supports his people in maintaining their community health, way of life and legal access to their peyote spiritual traditions. He helps organize the Annual Spiritual Pilgrimage for his Dine people to the native home of their medicine in the desert. He is a founding member of IPCI.

Arlen Lightfoot

NAC of Oklahoma President

National Council NAC representative

IPCI BOARD

Arlen Lightfoot was born and raised in Oklahoma where he graduated high school and attended college at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, OK with a AS degree. Mr. Lightfoot is a United States Navy Veteran, serving during Vietnam. He has been a lifelong member of the NAC Otoe chapter in Red Rock, OK and also serves as the Vice Commander for the Otoe Veteran's Organization. 

Refina Sander Smith

IPCI Conservation Committee

Refina takes care of the grandmothers return and watches over the land in S. Texas. She has a 30 year career in the US Airforce with active duty overseas. Refina brings organizational and contracting skills to IPCI, supporting developments on the land.

Yunior Vasquez

FORMAL REPRESENTATIVE

Javier Ignacio Martinez Sanchez M.S.

IPCI STAFF

Javier has worked on Wirixuta for over 20 years on conservation of the sacred peyote territory. Javier has worked with communities to support their cultural identity, navigate sustainable tourism and facilitate safe pilgrimage for the Wixaritari (Huichol) indigenous groups. Mr. Sanchez’ research has explored the relationships between various stakeholders of the sacred peyote, including indigenous groups, government and ranchers.

Dr. Martin Terry, PhD

Assoc. Prof. Sul Ross SU 

Cactus Conservation Institute

IPCI BOARD

Dr. Terry is the Nation’s leading cactologist and expert on Lophophora williamsii (Peyote). A founding member of the Institute, Dr. Terry brings expertise on habitat, cultivation and propagation of the Peyote Medicine and has worked as a cactus conservationist since the 1980s. He has a primary focus on protecting habitat for the vulnerable Peyote and star cactus through land preservation.

Board and staff

Programs

Traditional
Knowledge

Spiritual and Ecological Harvest

Seed Return

Pilgrimage

Mexico

Stay connected!