Crossroad University is dedicated to providing high quality content and information to our students. To that end, we have enlisted the help of ethical and experienced practitioners to help deliver course content. In addition, our consulting board was created to help us be accountable to our mission. With our interest in preserving the cultural heritage of the South and reclaiming the narrative by those to whom the cultural traditions belong, we rely on the objective input by our Consulting Board to maintain high standards and authentic content in our curriculum.
Denise Alvarado, Founder
The founder of Crossroads University, Denise Alvarado is a native Creole raised in the rich culture of New Orleans, Louisiana. She has studied indigenous healing traditions from a personal, professional and academic perspective for over four decades. Her activities include cultural and spiritual consulting, assessment, & training for individuals and organizations. She is regularly consulted by film makers and production companies about New Orleans Voodoo, Hoodoo and Louisiana folk magic traditions. She has consulted with Scotland Yard on the issue of African Ju Ju and human trafficking, the History Channel on New Orleans Voodoo and with the production company for the Sci-Fi channel Raw TV on paranormal phenomenon. Most recently she has consulted with Discovery Channel's Monsters and Mysteries on the subject of Hoodoo in Louisiana. Her artwork has appeared on a number of television shows, including National Geographic's Taboo, Blue Bloods, Supernatural and the Vampire Diaries.
Denise has a Bachelor of Science extended degree in cultural anthropology from Northern Arizona University and a Masters of Science in general psychology from Walden University. As a PhD candidate in Psychology Research and Evaluation, she was the recipient of Walden University's Fellowship in Research and Applications for Social Change, 2008-2009 with her research The Native American Wellness Scale (NAWS): The Development of an Intertribal Quality of Life Measure for Native American and Indigenous Populations - the first culturally appropriate quality-of-life instrument for use among Native American populations. She is also the creator and Editor in Chief of the first journal devoted to the preservation of Southern folk magic traditions and New Orleans Voodoo and Hoodoo called Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly.An independent researcher, Denise is a member of the American Anthropological Association, the Association of Indigenous Anthropologists, and several special interest groups including Anthropology of Childhood and Children Interest Group (ACCIG), Digital Anthropologies Interest Group (DAIG), and Interest Group on NGOs and Nonprofits (IGNN).
Denise has been teaching and offering workshops for individuals and organizations on cultural competency and special populations since 1994. Appointed by the Iowa Program Directors Association, she is 1 of only 20 individuals chosen to be a Trainer of Trainers, teaching others how to navigate cultural issues in institutional settings such as treatment centers, hospitals and correctional institutions. She was trained by the late Dr. Terra Thomas, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Human Resources Development Institute, Inc. and received extensive training and certification by the federally funded Project for Addictions Counselor Training (PACT) in the state of Iowa. She has carried on Dr. Thomas' legacy and vision for a culturally inclusive and fluent society ever since.
Denise lives the life she writes about and researches, giving her a unique participant observation perspective to her work. She is a medicine woman and rootworker in the Southern Rootwork tradition. Denise's indigenous ancestry includes Cherokee of the Bird Clan on her mother's side and Aztec on her father's side.
Baba Omigbemi Olumaki, Consulting Board Member
Baba Omigbemi Olumaki is a Babalorisha of the Orisa Yemaya Ogunte and is Padre Nganga Nkisi of Nkyyo Malango Cortalima Cordosa Mayombe. He is also Chief Priest of Nso Kikulu, a name meaning "those who know growing up". Baba has been involved in the traditions of his mother's African homeland since birth and initiated more than half his life.
Carolina Dean, Adjunct Instructor, Consulting Board Member
Born and raised in South Carolina, Rev. Carolina Dean is a modern Two-Headed Doctor in the Southern Folk Magic Tradition. As a teenager, he was drawn to the tarot and taught himself to read the cards after his favorite Aunt purchased him his first deck. It was through the tarot that he discovered Wicca and began his spiritual journey of self-empowerment and self-discovery.
After many years studying and living as a practicing Wiccan, his attention and interest circled back round to the folk-magic practices, known as Hoodoo, prevalent in the South. In 2003, he undertook a year-long study on the theory and practice of Hoodoo in order to expand and refine his knowledge of rootwork and conjure and has become a respected member of the spiritual community.
He is the Pastor of the Our Lady of Conjure Spiritual Temple, an online church dedicated to elevating the awareness of Tituba, Black Witch of Salem, as an enduring spirit of conjure. Its aim is to improve the condition of all seekers, to educate and empower followers, to celebrate our mutual faith and spread the hope and attainment of a better life through the power of cunning and conjure.
Though he considers himself a proud son of the Palmetto State, Carolina Dean currently resides on a small island in the Pacific Northwest where he continues his rootwork practice as well as writes a popular blog in which he shares his adventures and experiences as a modern Two-Headed Doctor.
Papa Joe Fisher (Gede Nibo Bey "La Kwa") Consulting Board Member
An elder of the Gullah Geechee nation in South Carolina, Papa Joe Fisher's knowledge of traditional African culture and cosmology as it has been preserved in South Carolina is an invaluable resource to Crossroads University. The Gullah/Geechee are the descendents of enslaved Africans from various ethnic groups of west and central Africa who were brought to the New World and forced to work on the plantations of coastal South Carolina, Georgia, North Carolina and Florida. The Gullah/Geechee people have retained many aspects of their African heritage due to the geographic barriers of the coastal landscape and the strong sense of place and family of Gullah/Geechee community members.
In his own words: "I am Pastor Joe Fisher, I was inducted into the "World Christian Martial Arts Hall Of Fame " Aug. 7, 1999. I received the "Silver Life Achievement Award." I was ordained by "OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU" in Calabar Nigeria 1972 . Also known as Gede Nibo Bey “La Kwa “, I was born in a town called "WOLFTON". A town of teachers. I descended through a line of “SPIRITUALISTS". I am a Gullah - Mandingo, My mother is Gullah and my father is Mandingo. My grandfather built the Masonic lodge and was the grand master. Granddad’s root work included a cure for toothache. Grand Ma OLGA was a root woman, some of her sisters passed for white. This made her a very volatile person. Her son, PaPa Gede's father, was named "TUDE" Because he kept an attitude.
I am H0ungan Huntor (spirit of the drum). I was born (drum keeper). I met my friend, godfather, idol, many years ago - Max Beauvoir the keeper of the Le Peristyle, Mariani. He recognized the work I was destined to do. He made possible all the rites rituals it would take to give me my ( license ) so to speak. He brought forth all the society of "Le Peristyle", including the master drummer and the master drum-maker to take me through my paces. We clicked so well that we made a "Rada" and "Petro". I have one of the few drum "Batteries" made ritualistically.
As a Gullah/Geechee with my heritage at the crossroad, I sense the crucial consciousness of CHOOSING to "Preserve" my Heritage or "Observe" it. With great respect for the esoteric use of "ENGLISH" (to put a spin on) I'd prefer "OBSERVATION." When we observe a holiday, example; " Valentine's day". You make sure you have "RED" hearts, chocolates, cupids, flowers, ribbons - bows etc . and you say I'm observing Valentine's day, not Preserving (pickle - freeze etc.).
I suggest "OBSERVING" Gullah/Geechee heritage in subtle ways, because it is still a sensitive crucial ting of pride/prejudice. A Gullah/Geechee can put horse shoe, broom, bible, etc. by de door. Put a little piece of blue masking tape on the portals if you can't paint them. Put 1 bottle in a tree. Put glass water under bed, respect crossroads - cemeteries etc. Add a Yena to "Hab A Nice Day". Enjoy watermelon, chicken, rice, pudding pot, hopping john, plant Morning Glory's ( little John ). Cherish Family, children, Elders, Ancestors etc. Ebry lee likle bit heps. Observe your Heritage, not only Black history Month (shortest month 29 days) Gullah Festival, Kwanzaa, but ebry da Gawd bring fo we chillen .
en de name ob de " KONKER ", PAPA"