The Ride Home
In 2012, on behalf of The 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, a 1,500 mile journey with horses was created to remember the harrowing exodus of the Northern Cheyenne People, who were held against their will in Fort Reno, Oklahoma in 1878. Lead by Chiefs Little Wolf and Dull Knife, 300 Cheyenne escaped reservation life to return to their homelands in Lame Deer, Montana. A small band of riders came together to honor their journey and the work of the Grandmothers. Kathleen participated in and helped find the funds for this commemorative ride. www.theridehomefilm.com & www.grandmothershorses.com
The Nokota Horse Conservancy
I met Christine McGowan, of the Chester Springs Preserve and her Nokota horses and it forever shifted my understanding of horses. The Nokota are direct descendants of the original herd created by the great Lakota chiefs and tribe that were bred to be with the elders and children, as well as faithful war ponies. Known to sleep in the tipis with the family, these horses were as gentle as they were robust, seeking human companionship with a unique and curious nature. They are unlike any other horses I have experienced and I have created photographs and events to raise funds for their hay in winter and pasture expansion.
www.chesterspringspreserve.org / www.nokotahorse.org
Photos by Kayla Waskiewicz
An art installation in Trafalgar Square created to bring awareness to the Helen Bamber Foundation in London and the journey of a trafficked woman. The Foundation seeks to rehabilitate those who have suffered extreme human rights violations, cruelty,trafficking and torture. Each of the seven shipping containers, was created by a different artist to represent an aspect of a trafficked woman's harrowing journey and experience. World renowned sculptor, Anish Kapoor, created the container known as "Stigma". Curated by Emma Thompson and Sam Roddick, the installation was seen by 15,000 people in London in two weeks; thereafter it traveled to theHague, Vienna, New York and Madrid and eventually, changed the laws on trafficking so that the women were considered victims instead of criminals. Collaborating on this project, opened the awareness of how the horses could help assist the women in healing their deep wounds of abuse and suffering. I left my London life and made the leap to the desert in Arizona for an internship and apprenticeship with Eponaquest to become an Equine Facilitated Instructor and create a program for trafficked women.
Rising American Indian Nations (RAIN) & Ute Tribe
I traveled to the Southern Ute Tribe to collaborate with Ute Elder, Forrest Cuch and his wife, Shauna, in offering programs for tribal members to reignite their relationship to the healing wisdom of horses. The Uinta Springs Ranch is now a center that provides services for youth and families, incorporating programs and services that correspond to the medicine wheel and the ancient concepts and holistic approach to healing ancestral and historical trauma, substance abuse and other problems facing native people.
Working with the sacred nature of horses brings people into connection with their emotional power, familial and tribal values, culture, ceremony, spirituality, and language. The horses help to release anxiety and stress and ease conflict. Individuals will develop responsibility, integrity, leadership skills, and respectful boundaries, while understanding the relationship the tribe had with the horse through songs, stories, dances, and art.