Elk Bear (Hehakap Mahto)
(aka Delwin Fiddler)
Delwin Elk Bear Fiddler, is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Sans Arc band, and a world renowned Native American performing Artist. Delwin's accolades include performing for two American President’s and the Royal Family in England. He was also a champion Grass and Hoop dancer on the pow-wow circut. His traditional Grass Dance is displayed in a continual loop at the Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
Delwin’s Lakota name is Hehakapa Mahto (Elk Bear). He is third generation grandson of the Elk Head Red Hair (Hehakapa Pahinsa) who was the historical Keeper of the White Buffalo Calf Pipe.
Delwin is an advocate for all Native people and works with many tribal nations and government entities to solution ways to improve the way of life Native Indian people across Turtle Island.
Aside from performing, Delwin's work involves a commitment to protecting and defending Mother Earth. He spent six months on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota during the protest of the DAPL being forced upon sacred land. During that time, he connected and prayed with people from all over the world.
Delwin created PAZA, Tree of life to fulfill his mother's dream of returning the people to the knowledge and tradtions of their culure. PAZA's goal is to promote cultural awareness with cultural exchange so that all people might learn the medicine ways of his ancestors who have walked the earth for thousands of years.
While it is impossible to change the route of colinization imposed on Native peoples of Turtle Island, Delwin believes that through apology, reconciliation and validation, healing can occur. Like his ancestor, Crazy Horse, he sees the future with all people working together in harmony for the greater good of humankind.
Director of Administration &
Maria Ragonese's early carrer was in Corporate America as an administrative assistant in the Financial District of New York City. After September 11, 2001, where Maria lost family in the attacks on the World Trade Center, she became involved with the grass-roots organizations advocating for the 9-11 Families. This radically reshaped her life. Today, she still works with 9-11 organizations to memoralize the memory of her loved ones and of all those lost on that fateful day.
Maria has been always been lead to the healing arts to promote healing for the body, mind and soul. Throughout the years, she has been certified with organizations such as VNA Hospice, Crisis Text Line, and Stephen Ministries, to help guide people through life's difficult journies.
Maria's deep appreciation and respect for Native American History and Culture began when she was a child. She always felt that someday it would have a significant place in her life. Today, she is an adopted member of the Sans Arc Band of the Lakota Souix. Her native name is Wichapi Waziya Wyan which means North Star Woman.
As Maria is transitioning into the Winter of her Life, she prepares to apprentice under a Blackfoot Elder to become a sacred pipe keeper. Maria is blessed and honored to be asked to carry this medicine, and feels it is the culmination of all the healing work she has done throughout her life.
Co-founding PAZA, Tree of Life, and meeting and working with indigienous relatives across Turtle Island, has been one of the highlights of her life.
Maria resides in Easton, PA with her husband, Mike, her blended family, and her two beautiful dogs.
Director of Humanities & Education
Briana Fenston is a 2018 graduate of East Stroudsburg University, summa cum laude, with a dual BS degree in Early Childhood Education and Special Education. Briana has always had a gift connecting with childern. Through her own struggles as a child with disabilities, she has always been an advocate for those who with special needs and/or who are underprivileged.
Briana is currently a RTII (Response to Intervention & Instruction) Teacher at the Easton Arts Academy in Easton, PA.
Along with her critical role, of coordinating logistics for PAZA's Humanitarian and Emergency relief efforts, especially during the COVID 19 pandemic, she is also a integral part of PAZA's planning committee.
Briana has a deep respect for Native American history and culture. She says, being part of the PAZA Team has been one of the most fulfilling experiences in her life.
Donna Marie Cassieri
Donna Marie Cassieri is an expert Bookkeeper with 19 years of experience working for the East Stroudsburg Area School District in East Stroudsburg, PA. In recent years she worked exclusively with a federally funded program that provided free/reduced lunch for students. Donna also worked additional jobs for accounting firms, assisting with preparing income tax returns during tax season. She also has worked for non-profit organizations such as Pocono Alliance in payroll preparation and data entry.
Donna is very passionate about helping people in need and has served many charitable organizations throughout her life. She has always had a heart and appreciation for Native American culture.
Donna's special gift is her ability to interpret messages from loved ones who have crossed over. Her future aspiration is to study Reiki and learn how to channel her psychic abilities into healing energy bless and serve people everywhere.
Josh Keiper (Wakan Okpe Wicasa, Man Who Carries Medicine) graduated from Massage Therapy School in 2000 and is a Level 2 Reiki Practioner. Josh has over 25 years experience in the food service industry as a chef, bartender, barista and candy cook. Josh is the owner and creator of Naked Toffee, a company that produces hand-crafted, gourmet toffee and peanut brittle of the highest quality.
Josh is caregiver to both his grandparents. He loves to work with senior citizens and he has an in-depth understanding of mental health and wellness and the needs of the elderly.
Josh is a Master Student in the School of life. He possesses a wide varitey of skills and a strong love of using those skills to help others. He is always learning, improving and refining in all that he does. A lifelong Martial Artist, he has studied many styles of Martial Arts including, Shaolin Chang Chuan, Ying Jow Pai and Tai Chi. He is a student of the I Ching and Tao Te Ching, and is receptive to the patterns of the Universe on a larger scale. He has developed systemized instruction for Kick Boxing Fitness classes and Women's Self Defense and Awareness as Rape Prevention. Josh is also versed in basic first aid as well as Hit Medicine and brews his own liniments and medicinal wines. Josh loves to sing and peform and embraces life to the fullest everyday.
Kenny Fenston is a a gifted auto mechanic who graduated Lincolon Technical Institue in Mahwah, NJ, in 2012. After working for companies such as Nissan and Ford, Kenny decided to branch out, away from the automotive field and expand his management skills. He currently is a site-manager for SBM Management where he is quickly moving up the ranks.
Kenny is famous for saying "I'll jump in wherever you need me." As a member of the PAZA staff, this is incredibly valuable as he has many gifts and abilities, one being he is a natural in technology. He has assisted in stage productions, sound management, lighting and on screen graphics for various productions and presentations. He is also a physical powerhouse who we sometimes refer to as "Hulk". Kenny assists in our logistics department, loading and preparing donations for shippment.
On the flip side, Kennys love of animals lead to self study and research in wildlife across the globe, with a particular interest in care of domesticated exoctic animals. He may someday open his own business in sales and consulting of Exotic Pets. His goal is to educate customers on how to care for exotic animals so they can thrive in domesticated settings.
Kenny resides in Easton, PA with his wife, Briana, their pets: Cat, Copper, Tortoises, Roco & Roxy, and Turtle: Tank.
Parker Sterling is a writer, editor, teacher, director, actress, improviser, activist, organizer, environmentalist, and photographer. She is a graduate of the Radio-Television-Film program at University of Maryland, College Park, and a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. She has attended the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the West Chester Poetry Conference, the Summer Literary Seminars in Russia, and the Kenyon Playwrights Conference. Among other publications, her photography and writing has appeared in The Formalist, The Nebraska Review, Atrium, and Anti Poetry.
Some of her formal training includes, permacultural designer, a master gardener, a master naturalist, community tree steward. She has participated in several sustainability and community-building projects including urban tree plantings, pruning, and care, native plantings and invasive removal, beach and park clean-ups, and community garden building and care.
As an activist and organizer, Parker has worked on the issues of human trafficking, access to education and the arts, homelessness, and BIPOC rights and equal access. She is passionate about the earth and indigenious people's rights. She uses many of her skills to advocate for local tribal communities.
Parker relishes time spent in nature, time creating, and time with her pet family. She is grateful for the life adventure that she has been given.