The Founder Partners

The two Founder Partners of the 1EARTH INSTITUTE™, Mona Polacca and Eva Willmann de Donlea, are representative of an Indigenous-Western partnership. They bring to the table their combined academic, professional, experiential, and ceremonial training. 

1EARTH INSTITUTE™ Foundation Ceremony

On 4th May 2015, the Founder Partners came together for the Foundation Ceremony for 1EARTH INSTITUTE™ at a sacred location. 

It took place at the outlet of Montezuma’s Well near Sedona, AZ, at the time of the May full moon. To many Indigenous peoples of the area, the water of Montezuma Well is very sacred.

The location was chosen by Mona, who is from the Hopi Tobacco Clan. The Hopi, Antelope and Snake Clan get water from the Well in late summer for their rain ceremonies. Members of other tribes come there often. The Hopi come to pray, leave prayer feathers, sprinkle sacred cornmeal and take water back to the reservation for ceremonies. 

The Well is sacred to them:“The Hopi have personal knowledge of the Well, …they claim the ruins there as the home of their ancestors. It would not be strange, therefore, if this marvellous crater was regarded by them as a house of Paluluken, their mythic Great Plumed Serpent.”

Archaeological evidence suggests that human have lived at or around Montezumas Well  for at least 10,000 years. The ruins of several prehistoric dwellings are scattered in and around the rim of the Well.

welldwelling 2


Their inhabitants were the Sinaguans (sin – without, aqua – water) between 700 and 1425 CE. The buildings were most likely used for purposes other than living space, including food storage and religious ceremonies. The Well’s source of water are warm springs at the bottom of the ‘pozo’,  which maintain a constant temperature of 76 degrees F.

The ceremony

Mona preparing

The picture on the left shows Mona here preparing for our Foundation Ceremony. 

There are of course no photos of the ceremony itself. One can feel the sanctity of the place Mona chose, and the whispers of the Ancestors.

After the Founder Partners asked for their partnership to be blessed, they each announced their intentions for 1EARTH INSTITUTE to Spirit, Nature and all Ancestors present.

the well
The sacred outlet from the Well