Musea is truly proud to be hosting and opening the Spirit Warrior solo exhibit for Native American Artist, Carmen Baraka. Carmen has been a part of the Intentional Creativity community and working alongside Shiloh Sophia, our Curator, for the past 11 years. Carmen has ‘walked on’ into her future as of February 22,2021. In their last visit just a week before Carmen’s transition, Shiloh and Jonathan, Musea’s founders, along with Carmen’s wife, Denise Wreden, her son, Shawn, and her Granddaughter, Kayla, met to design Carmen’s show.

Our Curator, Shiloh Sophia shared this about the experience:

“The day was magical. We went to Carmen’s studio to bring her collection of paintings into the living room to explore as a body of work. There was light in the trees after a rain that was almost unlike anyone had seen there in Arcata, California. Were were mesmerized as we watched the play of light, water, rainbow, as each one of us sat with the work in front of us making a big circle. Carmen spoke about each piece as we listened and made a list and begin planning the show. This felt important to all of us – and for Carmen a sense of accomplishment. Carmen is a circle leader, a healer, teacher, illustrator. musician, and a painter. A multi-faceted woman with so many skills and talents that she shared with us all of her life.”

This isn’t an ordinary show or announcement, rather a chance to get to know Carmen through her own creative works, written words, and the testimony given about her by her family. As you enjoy the Spirit Warrior exhibit – ‘Spirit Warrior’ being Carmen’s spiritual name – you will be given a glimpse into a woman’s relationship with what she called the ‘spirit realm’.

The community misses Carmen tremendously. She has been a regular part of our Intentional Creativity Certification Trainings, as well as being a member of Cosmic Cowgirls. She brought Native Teachings and ceremony forward saying, “My quest is to bring indigenous ceremony and circle to bridge the gap between cultures, remind us that our ancestors all began in circle and I believe finding our way back to that paradigm will be our healing.”

She has travelled with MUSEA two times to the United Nations Commission on the Status of women speaking on behalf of Native American Women and Girls and the ongoing injustices of her people.

“Whether exercising her skills one on one as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for neglected and abused children, providing spiritual inspiration through group invocations or framing objectives for future projects, Carmen brings a much needed empathy, understanding and sense of urgency to the issues she highlights.”

The Women’s United Nations Report Network said this:
“Carmen was part of initiating a project with Shiloh Sophia called The Good Relations Pledge Citizen’s Acknowledgment, which invites US Citizens to make individual reparations to the Native People of the US. Carmen was well aware of the lack of true responsibility by the government.

In Carmen’s own words:

“All of our ancestors were once in circle. Women holding hands in prayer, sharing information in nature on Mother Earth. We are the healers, the ones with empathy and heart. It’s our turn, it is the female paradigm shift that will save us. I believe in women and girls, our strength, our wisdom. We have the key that can save this world for future generations. I would ask that anyone with even a small amount of Native in you, find whatever tribe that is your lineage and see in what way you can help. And for those who are non-Native, I ask that you be informed and act with your heart. I know that many will rise to this occasion, it is time!”

The Good Relations Pledge, as well as the draft of Carmen’s show were completed on the same day that she walked on. Shiloh Sophia, a very close chosen family member of Carmen said that the day that she transitioned she called her, singing a song, that this was her final day and she was glad for it. She felt complete and was peaceful and joyful. Of course she wished for more time with loved ones as well all might. She has told Shiloh many times that there are a certain number of breaths and a certain time to move on, and she was clear in that for herself.

Here is a quote from Carmen in a letter to Shiloh Sophia:

“So this lets me explain what it’s like to be in Circle and Ceremony, which has been handed down since the beginning of time. It’s like breathing into Grace, into the quantum field. To be in a moment of reverence where you are set free to experience the validity of the true nature of spirit, the sublime nature of beingness. To know you are between worlds, the I am that I am. I am most comfortable here in this place of giving and receiving, in this place of quantum identity, where you find out and can feel this realm in a profound way, an actual view that we are all interconnected, an alignment with the stars. When you can actually experience what you feel is your deepest truth, hold it in your hand and have it be tangible, that is the gift that is pure joy, that is the awakening.

When you can hear the stories of the past, the information of the future and the power of the now, understanding that all aspects are in play at all times, this juxtaposition of realities triggers Omni Presence in a way that can be understood. Everything actually isn’t always fleeting, not if you see it as all aspects in play simultaneously. When we can truly understand the depth and breadth, then we can understand that everything that has been and will be, the knowledge of all time, is already within us. We must move through the Corridors – the portals of our timeless mind, body, spirit, the realm of the oneness of creator, of source, the realms of all possibilities.

Native peoples, Indigenous peoples have an understanding of quantum physics and quantum mechanics but just have different language for it. There is no end to the circle, it is actually the everything and the closely concurring nothingness. That place where time and space are moving through you, and you are the observer and the recipient of cosmic favor. Where is the jurisdiction of truth? It’s in the unfolding of the layers of our existence. And how much in this life can you handle, can you allow, can you embrace without fear? Because the opposite of fear is awakening, and so it is!

I used to think it would’ve been nice to meet you earlier in life, but then I realized that this was our agreed upon space-time where we needed to have our circles connect. We called it in, in the way we hoped it would show up when we made that commitment. The agreed frequency is how we find each other. It’s why you are family to me. Because we were once and are now. That is quantum connection. Aho!”

Yes we are quantumly connected, most precious Elder and Leader, Carmen Baraka. Your spirit, and memory and teachers live with us.

Her family said this in her obituary:

“Throughout her life, Carmen wore many hats. She was a spirit woman, a rebel, the life of the party, an introspective soul, a kickass drummer, a unique artist, a loving mother and grandmother, a beloved wife, a wonderful friend, and a one-in-a-billion kind of person whose light touched all that knew her.

She was deeply spiritual, beginning a lifelong journey at age seven through teachings from her Columbian Shaman and Apache Medicine Woman grandmothers, and her beloved father Chief Running Horse. Throughout her life she led many sacred ceremonies through chanting and drumming, to bring understanding, healing, and togetherness between people. She was a rebel and a fighter, always willing to stand up for the betterment of others, especially for the empowerment of women and girls, and for indigenous people’s rights, their land and water, and their cultural dignity. She was fantastically playful, always dancing, or singing, or joking, or laughing, or riding her wooden rocking horse into the sunset. With her dimpled smile and contagious laughter, she was the life of the party, bringing joy with her and creating unforgettable moments wherever she went. She also appreciated solitude. Whether on a trek across New Zealand, watching countless sunrises in the warmth of Hawaii, or going on daily walks in the redwoods, she journeyed for the personal growth it brought her.”

The Spirit Warrior Show is truly a great blessing for all of us to experience. Exploring her imagery, her stories and her spiritual essence and love in each work.

We hope you will join us in celebration of her artwork, life and legacy.

Shiloh Sophia

Additional Resources:

 Hear part of Carmen’s Speech at the UNCSW here: 

Interview with Shiloh Sophia and Carmen here:

Artist I wrote after our UN Trip



You can make a donation here: “San Carlos Apache Tribe Vice Chairman’s Innovative Youth Program” at P.O. Box 0, San Carlos, AZ 85550.