About Us

Founders Marjorie Ann Dancing Wind Heacock (left) and Terrie Robbins (right)

Chairwoman, Founder

Marjorie Ann Dancing Wind Heacock  A retired New York State science and math award winning educator.  Dance graduated from SUNY Albany, MS in Science Education (Geology, Atmospheric Science, Biology, Environmental Science, Physics, and Anthropology). A master leather worker, she specializes in traditional clothing: Native and Non Native. She brings a vast knowledge of arts, craftsmanship in most traditional Native American Arts including: bow and arrow making, basketry, jewelry, mandalas, parfletches, and drums.

Dance the catalyst for THHC, is of Native American heritage. She spent forty years on the Powwow Circuit from Maine to Minnesota; New York to Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Dance grew up in Colorado- Wyoming and traveled extensively in the Native American circles from Montana to New Mexico and Arizona.  Once married, lived on the west coast from Washington to Southern California, and several parts of New York State. She traveled extensively with her husband every place they lived and connected with local Native peoples in each place. She is an avid gardener and environmental plants and animals studies. She has a great deal of business experience: Secretarial, full charge bookkeeping in manufacturing, Payroll, Purchaser for a chain of Liquor Stores, Import/Export Manager, etc.  She is a leatherworker and patternmaker, beadworker, and traditional Native American Life Skills specialist. She learned saddle making as a teenager.


Terrie Robbins is a former resident of Amsterdam, and now resides in Florida with her husband, Alan. Mrs. Robbins is the former Executive Director for the Montgomery County Red Cross and is a past recipient of the “Woman of the Year”-Amsterdam Award. She is a retired NYS educator who holds degrees from SUNY Cobleskill, College of St. Rose and Long Island University. Mrs. Robbins is currently a genealogist and author, with two published books, “Bushtail is Our Cousin”, (2002) and “Nathanial Cole: 1747-1832, His Life, Legacy and Descendants”, (2014). 


Karen Heitzman-Boehlke of Native American, Jewish, German, Irish, Welch, Dutch, Canadian French, African American and possibly other descent.  She graduated College of St. Rose with a Business Degree. Karen has credit services and experience in special order accounts and accounts receivable. She has grown children and resides with her husband in Charleston, NY. She has lived in Panama, Montana and Missouri; is an avid backpacker, canoer, bicyclist and camper. She is an avid environmental gardener and environmentalist. She home-schooled her children making NYSED lesson plans, assessments and curriculum.

Vice Chair

Nicholas Heacock  graduated from Troy High School and resides in Tribes Hill with his wife and son. Nicholas is a transportation purveyor and procurement specialist possessing, organizational, negotiation and communication skills. An avid outdoorsman, he has over thirty years’ experience on the Native American Pow Wow circuits. He is a charter member and of Native American & English/Scottish ancestry. His wife is Irish.

Education Director 

Lorraine Steffens is an Educator with Environmental Education, Science, Engineering, and Astronomy.  She has a lifetime experience with the Girl Scouts and MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Florida.  She works with students with cognitive and physical challenges.  She was Program Director at Suncoast Girl Scout Council and event trainer for volunteers.  She ran outdoor classes, field explorations and classes of all kinds working K- Adult with natural interpretations of the environment around.  Lorraine is a renouned artist in soft sculpture and a feather-smith having married to the last feathersmith of the Cherokee Nation, Zack Brownbear.  She is of Micmac Native American Descent and French and German, growing up among the Amish people and in a catholic school setting.  She is well versed in the home arts of quilt-making, beading, food preservation, patterns and design, and leatherwork.

Board Members

Austin Page is lifelong resident of Amsterdam, graduate of Amsterdam High and resides in Cranes Hollow with his wife. He comes to us, no stranger to hard work, having a variety of jobs during his teenage years. His background in landscaping, trucking, and building maintenance. He has electrical experience and is a manager of a group of dedicated workmen. Austin loves taking a barren piece of land and creating a beautifully contoured area flourishing with trees and flowers. An avid outdoorsman, Austin enjoys hiking, hunting, trapping and other traditional skills. He is of Native American ancestry and other mixed ancestry.

Thomasina Winslow was born in Albany and is a self-employed artist. Winslow is a top level award winning Blues Artist from New York who has been traveling extensively in the US and abroad. Her international performances have brought her around the globe to such places as Denmark, England, Germany, and Australia. She has performed at the award winning Caffe Lena in her home state of New York and countless number of concert halls, studios, cafes, festivals, and schools where she combines her experience as an educator with the cultural ambassadorship that she brings to young people.  Of African-American descent.

Irene Peters is Iroquois Native American.  She is well versed in Native American crafts including skinning, tanning, beadwork, wampum making and wampum work.  She is an accomplished beader, bag maker, and friends with most of the powwow circuit of the Northeast and East Coast.  She lived in Colorado and New York.  Her daughter is an accomplished wood burner and goard engraver.  Both make rattles.  Irene also makes wonderful velour blankets- all sizes.  Both women make jewelry.  She runs her own business online and at powwows and art shows.

Valorie Beekman has accounting experience, participating in the boards in Amsterdam, NY.  She was an alderwoman for the City. resides with her husband in Amsterdam.  She participates in charitable programs feeding the hungry, sings at weddings and funerals, and is a well-known personality in Amsterdam, Johnstown and Gloversville. She coached girls cheerleading at Amsterdam High School.  Valorie has three accomplished sons and an autistic daughter that she fights for the rights of and is involved with all the grandchildren.  Valorie is of African American descent and raised by a Seminole woman.

Ernesto Morales was born in Cuenca, Ecuador, of Mayan descent. He studied for the priesthood in Ecuador before moving to New York, where he became involved with numerous service groups in the Bronx and Manhattan. He studied business administration at Queens Community College and learned jewelry making/repair from his parents. While living in NYC, he worked for Legacy Jewelers in Harlem where he did contract work for Tiffany’s. Later, he moved upstate to Amsterdam, and worked for Frank Adams and Northeastern Fine Jewelers, before opening his Amsterdam store.  Ernesto is a former board member of Fulmont Community Action, a volunteer at Hospice (Healing Touch) and a 17 year soccer coach for Amsterdam Youth Soccer. A single dad of five, he resides in Amsterdam and is eager to see the Tribes Hill Heritage Center up and running.

David Cornelius is a resident of Rotterdam, is married to an accomplished basketmaker of traditional settler styles.  He studies geniology and has a business doing so.  David makes presentations with the heritage centers and school groups in the region and in the Adirondack Park. He is of Native American descent and mixed white. He is well versed in traditional Native American crafts and settler style skills as well. He is a historian and makes historical presentations. His Education is from SUNY Albany and his degrees are in Anthropology and Archaeology.

Jason Betz has a major in Bachelor of Fine Arts and Associates in Humanities fromn SUNY Albany; worked wqith the YMCA scheduloing and Sales of Products; SUNY Anime Club, curator, coordinating artists, sales and packaging  art works, creating the gallery web site, designing promotional postcards, t-shirts and posters; SUNY Albany Center (a non-profit promoting Hudson and Mohawk Regions)sales and packaging art works at events, updating gallery websites, designing promotional postcards; Sage College of Albany, curator at Little Gallery, hanging exhibits, security, customer service, relations to attend, working with the MAC Lab and advanced computer experience, technical computer help to professors and students.

Jon Kreiger has exceptional skills in bone and wood carvings and sculptures, is good with computers, working on a documentary on abused and missing Native American women, knows traditional tanning skills, well educated in the history of Native Amewricans locally in the Adirondacks and across the country.  He has skills and knowledge in Native American lifeways, is a video artist, currently working on Native American Metal Artist with one album complete and working on another.  Excellent with photography!


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