Natalie Conneely on ​Maria Amanchina

“She represents what's possible...”

MARIA AMANCHIINA, a traditional shaman and healer from the Altai region of the Eurasian Steppes, found herself at odds with the Russian government and in the middle of a climate change debate about the return of the mummified Princes of Ukok. How this indigenous woman, dedicated to protecting her people and their sacred sites, dealt with these powerful global forces is a lesson for us all in learning to work together for shared benefit. NATALIE CONNEELY tells the story of Maria, an unlikely shaman and an unlikely climate justice warrior who works with scientists, the UN, UNESCO and other world heritage groups to preserve and educate about the precious history of her people.

Our storytellers share these astonishing women with us conversationally and unscripted; we fact-check afterwards and note any major discrepancies for accuracy.


Natalie Coneely

Natalie Conneely was born in the lowland jungles of Eastern Bolivia, to an Irish-American father and an Incan-Bolivian mother. Natalie studied Film, Television and Theater & Political Science at the University of Notre Dame where she choreographed and directed main stage productions. She began her career in corporate news production with CNN International in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Upon returning to the US Natalie began producing and acting in short films, online vignettes and feature films. In her free time, Natalie advises nonprofits that are aligned with her values on their development and sustainability. She worked for the Dalai Lama for 7 years to build a global network of mindful and ethical leaders. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Pachamama Sabia, a production organization that leverages the power of stories for social impact and will be releasing her first feature documentary film in 2021.

Featured Woman

Maria Amanchina

Maria Amanchina is a shaman of the Altai people who live in a high mountain range where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together. In her efforts to protect her lands and to have the mummified Princess of Ukok returned to her natural burial site Maria Amanchina has become a connection and healing force between the old ways and the new realities of climate change and governmental oversight.