The Traditional Authorities

Healing Bridges works with the Traditional Authorities, the curacas, and their followers, grandmothers, and other allies of the original A’i reserves of the Colombian Amazon: Santa Rosa del Guamuéz, Afilador, Yarinal, and Santa Rosa de Sucumbíos; and Chandea Na’en of Ecuador. We periodically connect with the Siona Traditional Authorities with whom we all have long-standing ties.

The A’i curacas and their traditional medicine are the center of A’i culture. Only the curacas can lead the A’i renewal through their mastery of their traditional medicine, which can also renew the industrial world. No one knows the jungle and its animals, plants, and spirits like the curacas. Indeed, they are the key to a healthy relationship between people and planet.

The Staff

Carlos Salinas, Executive Director and Founder.

Carlos is a former Washington director of Amnesty International USA, where he served in various capacities including being their principal advocate for Latin America and the Caribbean for ten years. He has also worked at the Amazon Conservation Team. He serves on the Board of the Pax Christi International Fund for Peace and has been a board member of the Guatemala Human Rights Commission, the Corporación Visión Renacer, and the Fund for Constitutional Government. LinkedIn.

The Board

Manuel Terranova, Board Chair. Member since 2013.

Manuel is CEO, President, and Founder of Peaxy, an industrial data analytics company. Prior to founding Peaxy in 2021, Manuel worked at GE Oil & Gas including SVP of Regional Operations and GM of Subsea Production Systems and Commercial Operations at GE Drilling & Production Systems, CEO of GE’s PII, a pipeline robotics inspection company. Since 2013, Manuel has been on committees of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Transportation Safety Board. LinkedIn.

F. Michael Willis, Board Treasurer. Member since 2022.

Michael is a Partner at Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker, a national law firm representing tribal interests. Michael has worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Bolivia, and as Chief of Party for USAID’s MSD-executed “Access to Justice” program in Colombia. Prior to this, Michael was the Executive Director for the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala and the Washington Director for the Center for Human Rights Legal Action. LinkedIn.

Jennifer Fischer, Board Secretary. Member since 2024.

Jennifer is a Chaplain Resident at Saint Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C. Also a lawyer, she adjudicates citizen complaints at the DC Office of Police Complaints. Previously Jennifer worked at Arent Fox LLP, representing the government of Timor-Leste in litigation and also conducted internal investigations of corporations in areas such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Anti-Kickback Act, and export sanctions. Before her legal career, Jennifer led Habitat for Humanity in Ethiopia. Linkedin.

The Organization

Healing Bridges is a 501(c)3 organization and is funded by individual donors and foundations. These have included the Edna Wardlaw Charitable Trust, the Dennis A. O’Toole Family Foundation, the Wallace Global Fund, Honor the Earth, and Amazon Watch.

From 2006 until 2012, Healing Bridges carried out much of its work in Colombia through the Corporación Visión Renacer, a non-profit that Carlos Salinas founded for this specific purpose with Colombian attorney Juan Pablo Barrios. The Corporación was able to receive funding for the Open Society Foundations and from USAID through its implementing partner MSD.

Healing Bridges grew out of the Shamans’ Videohistory Project, an initiative to videotape the oral history of the elder Traditional Authorities of the Colombian Amazon that Salinas launched in December 2003.