Decolonizing Our Lives

2019 AIIC Symposium

Pre-SYmposium Events:


6:00 PM MCC Lounge -MCC Literature and Race Series

Deborah Miranda's Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir

Discussion Facilitated by

Mia Lopez and Margaret McMurtrey

Thursday February 28

3:30pm - 5:00pm

Environmental Studies, Manley Memorial Lecture

Marine Science Institute Auditorium 1302

The Tribal Rights of Nature Movement: Protecting Tribal Lands While Strengthening Sovereignty

Dr. Alexis Bunten

Indigeneity Program Co-Director


(For more information click contacts and tips tab.)

Friday March 1

McCune Conference Center- HSSB 6020

8:00 - 9:00 Sign in and Registration (Coffee and breakfast snacks provided)

8:30 - 9:00 Welcome, Housekeeping & "How to approach our communities?"

9:00 - 10:20 Panel #1: Land, Language, Listening and Story

Brandi Bushman "Reading Animacy: Decolonizing Ecological Relation"

Alexander Karvales, “Ecological Stewardship and Listening/Sound Practices….”

Margaret McMurtrey, “Singing Grace, Embodying Land and Language"

Brooke Smiley and Nakia Zavalla "Reclaiming Identity: The Practice of Embodying Land and Culture"

10:20 - 10:30 Break

10:30 - 11:30 Panel #2: Methodology and Indigeneity

Sedonna Goeman-Shulsky, "Anti-colonial methods as an Indigenous Archaeologist"

Rose O’Leary, “Regenerative Future Narratives: Envisioning a Healthy Collective Future”

Rupert Richardson , “Indigenous Research Methodology-Kinship as Methodology”

11:30 - 12:30 Keynote Address:

"Detoxing Masculinities: 21st Century Indigenous Film & Literature"

John Gamber, Ph.D., Associate Professor, English Department, Utah State University

12:30 - 1:15 Announcements & Lunch Break

1:15 - 2:15 Round Table A­ Decolonizing the Language of the Academy

2:15 - 2:25 Break

2:25-3:30 Film: Protect

3:30-4:00 Chumash Welcome - Chumash Family Singers

Welcome from Dr. Charlie Hale, Dean of Social Sciences, College of Letters and Sciences

4:00­ - 5:30 Keynote ­ Address: "Is it Possible to Achieve Indigenous Food Sovereignty?"

Devon Mihesuah, Ph.D., Cora Lee Beers Price Professor

Humanities Program, University of Kansas

5:30 - 7:00 Opening Reception­

7:00­ - 10:00 Film & Documentary Festival

Moderator, Andrew Morrison

7:00 PROTECT Discussion- Dr. Julie Maldonado and Amanda Pantoja

7:15 Introduction by Alexis Bunten California Indian Genocide and Resilience And Fighting Racism in School

8:15 discussion with Alexis Bunten

8:30 PROOF OF PERSON (BIRTH) by Kio Griffith

8:45 discussion with Kio Griffith

9:00 Two Guns By Andrew Morrison

9:25 discussion with Andrew Morrison

Saturday March 2

Student Resources Building (SRB)

Sign in and Registration in American Indian Cultural Resource Center (AICRC) all day

8:00 On­site Registration -Multi-Purpose Room (MPR) and Breakfast Snacks in AICRC

8:45 Welcome to Symposium

Housekeeping and Overview of the Day

9:00 - 10:15 Undergraduate Native-ED (NED) Talks

10:15­ - 10:30 Morning Break in AICRC

10:30­ - 11:45 Panel # 3: ­ Healing Ourselves and Our Communities

May Hey, "A Wellness Framework for Decolonizing Work Done with Historically Traumatized Populations"

Mia Lopez, “Reflections and Thoughts on a Decolonized Life?"

Candy Martinez, “Passing down that ancestral knowledge: Healing pains stemming from migration and structural inequalities within Zapotec communities”

Andrea Medina, “Decolonizing As Healing: Responsibilities and Methodologies”

11:45­ - 12:45 Announcements and Lunch in (AICRC)

1:00-1:50 Keynote Address:

"Language Revitalization and Decolonization: The revival of Indigenous languages and their relationship to decolonization and the empowering of indigenous communities"

Stan Rodriquez, Santa Ysabel Band of the Iipay Nation, Tribal Council Member and Director of Kumeyaay Community College

2:00- 3:15 Panel #4 - Chumash Community Conversations - Nakia Zavalla, Moderator

3:15-3:30 Break

3:30 - 4:45 Roundtable: Decolonizing Methodologies & Decolonizing Our Lives­ : What’s at Stake Moderators: Gary Lytle, Global Studies Department Margaret McMurtrey, Religious Studies

4:45 - ­5:45 Dance Performance and Q & A discussion - Brooke Smiley

5:45-6:00 Break

6:00-6:45 Chumash Welcome Ceremony - Chumash Family Singers

6:45-7:30 Buffet Dinner

Co-Sponsored by Society for Ethnomusicology Southern California and Hawaii Chapter (SEMSCHC)

7:30­ - 8:45 Special Joint Session with SEMSCHC President's Roundtable and American Indian and Indigenous Collective

"Music, Decolonization and Public Space"

Moderator: Alexander Karvelas, Music, UCSB

Representatives of SEMSCHC 2019 Conference : Gerald Clarke, Department of Ethnic Studies, UCR; Liz Przybylski, Department of Music, UCR; Jessica Gutierrez Masini, Department of Music, UCR

Representatives of AIIC: Ines Talamantez, Religious Studies Department, UCSB; Mia Lopez, Cultural Representative for the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation; Nakia Zavalla, Cultural Director, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians; Margaret McMurtrey, Religious Studies Department, UCSB

Sunday March 3

Student Resources Building (SRB)

Sign in and Registration (in AICRC all day)

8:15 Breakfast Snacks ( AICRC )

8:45-9:00 Brief Welcome, Housekeeping and Overview of the Day (MPR)

8:45­ - 9:45 Panel #5 : Decolonization & Environmental Justice

Sylvia Cifuentes, “Understanding Indigenous Knowledge as a means of decolonizing global environmental governance”

Michael Ioannides, “Colonization, Statemaking, and Development: A Political Ecology of the Saru River Project, Hokkaido, Japan”

Pratik Raghu, “Stoning the State: Ungovernable Decolonization Through Exit, Refusal, Reclamation, and Autonomy in North East India’s Pathalgadia Movement”

10:45­ - 12:00 Panel #6 : Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)

Toni Gonzales & Gerardo Aldana, “Indigenous Landscapes of Mulch’en Witz, La Milpa, Belize: Archeology and Traditional Ecological Knowledge”

Amber Nashoba, “Native Reflections on TEK and the Scientific Academy/Community”

Lena Neuner, "Elk Management and Restoration in Karuk Ancestral Territory and its effects on Tribal Sovereignty and Food Security

Sabine Talaugon, “Decolonizing Science As Non-Scientists”

12:00­ - 1:15 Keynote Address: "From Polite Requests to Full-On Battles: Is It Possible to Decolonize Our Public Institutions?"

Alexis Bunten, Ph.D. ,( Unangan/Yup’ik) Indigeneity Program Co-Coordinator,


1:15-2:00 Lunch Break (45 min) (AICRC )

2:00-2:30 Panel #7 ­- Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Learning from our Elders Papers Presented by Pasadena Community College Students

Dr. Silvia Toscano- Moderator

Kathy Bolivar- "What the Past Can Tell You About Future Generations"

Lindsey Huynh- "My Beloved Hoai"

Q&A discussion on TEK and Decolonizing Our Lives

2:30 - ­3:30 Panel #8- "Decolonizing Our Research: Perspectives from UCSB students"

Dr. Helene Gardner and Dr. Julie Maldonado moderators

Diana Garcia

Adory Khandaker

Bridget Moffat

Amanda Pantoja

3:30 - ­4:00 Closing, Conference Wrap­ up and Evaluation

AISA 7th Annual STANDS Conference will be held at UCSB March 8, 9, and 10th

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Devon Mihesuah (Choctaw)­

Mihesuah’s career has been devoted to the empowerment and well-being of indigenous peoples. For the nine years she served as editor of the American Indian Quarterly, Mihesuah attempted to bring indigenous concerns and voices to the forefront of academic writing. Her own research, writing and speaking focuses on decolonization strategies and she one of the handful of indigenous writers who successfully writes nonfiction and fiction. She regularly speaks nationally and internationally about issues pertaining to empowerment of indigenous peoples; her works are cited and reprinted in hundreds of publications and her books and essays are used in classrooms across the world.

Mihesuah is the recipient of grants, fellowships and awards from the Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, Smithsonian Institution, American Council of Learned Societies, Newberry Library, Arizona Humanities Council, American Historical Association, Oklahoma Writers' Federation, American Educational Studies Association, Phi Alpha Theta, Westerners International, Arizona Writers’ Association, Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers, Oklahoma Historical Society, Flagstaff Live!, KU Crystal Eagle American Indian Leadership Award as well as finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award and Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights Book Award. At NAU she received the Native American Students United Award for Outstanding Faculty, President's Award for Outstanding Faculty, and Outstanding Faculty Woman of the Year Award.

Dr. John Gamber

Dr. Gamber is currently an associate professor in the English Department at Utah State University. Previously he was faculty at Columbia University, where he served as Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race. He received his Ph.D. from University of California, Santa Barbara in 2006. Most of Dr. Gamber’s publications focus on post-­1945 Native American, Asian American, and Latino/a literature. His book Positive Pollutions and Cultural Toxins: Waste and Contamination in U.S. Ethnic Literatures, published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2012, was a finalist for the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE)’s award for outstanding work of ecocriticism.

Stan Rodriguez (Kumeyaay)

Rodriguez is a Kumeyaay language instructor. He is the director of Kumeyaay Community College, a school with a special focus on Kumeyaay history and culture, but also provides computer courses. The college is open to Native and non­Native students. He fills several advising and teaching roles in the San Diego and Native Kumeyaay communities. He’s a council member of the Santa Ysabel Band of the Iipay Nation, which aims to improve lives for all Iipay through economic development and cultural preservation. Rodriguez also sits on the board of a group whose vision is to strengthen language and cultural revitalization, known as the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival.

Dr. Alexis Bunten (Unagan/Yup’ik)

Alexis Bunten, co-directs the Bioneers Indigeneity Program. She has served as a manager, consultant and applied researcher for Indigenous, social and environmental programming for over 15 years. After receiving a BA in Art History at Dartmouth College, Alexis returned to Alaska, where she worked at the Sealaska Heritage Institute, and the Alaska Native Heritage Center in cultural programming. Subsequently, Alexis earned a PhD in Cultural Anthropology at UCLA. She has taught at UCLA, and Humboldt State University, completed Postdoctoral fellowships at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz, and served as an invited scholar in residence at University of Victoria Auckland, and the Sorbonne University, Paris. Alexis has received awards from the US National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Bristol Bay Native Corporation, and the Native American Film and Television Awards, among many others. In addition to publishing widely about Indigenous and environmental issues in academic and mainstream media outlets, Alexis’ 2015 book, “So, how long have you been Native?” Life as an Alaska Native Tour Guide” won the Alaska Library Association Award for its originality, and depth. The follow up anthology, “Indigenous Tourism Movements,” was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2018. Alexis lives in Monterey, California with her husband, daughter, 4 dogs and a cat.

Presenter and Panelist Bios

2019 AIIC Symposium Panelists Bios

Kathy Bolivar

My name is Kathy Lizeth Bolivar, I was born in Queens, New York and raised between Miami Florida and San Diego California. I love to have a good relationship with all creatures and plants since they fulfill my spirit with love and nutrition. My ancestors are from Colombia; from the Muisca/Chibcha tribe which is the reason I carry T.E.K. I was born knowing T.E.K since my playgrounds throughout my childhood were the woods, coffee bean plantation, and swamps. I loved playing with the wild animals and making food from all the fruit trees around me. I have been taught T.E.K from my Great-grandmother and grandmother yet Thanks to them, I could pass on what I was taught to people; so they stay healthy via nature not chemical. My goal now is to learn how to help give people tools to help them heal from all the historical/soul wound that they carry that are anchoring them down. I want to be a life counselor for I have a lot to offer.

Keri Bradford

Brandi Bushman

Brandi Bushman holds a B.A. in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara with specializations in Native American Literature, Literature and the Environment, and American Cultures and Global Contexts. She is an enrolled member of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians.

Sylvia Cifuentes

Alesha Claveria

Alesha Claveria is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California-Santa Barbara and a Eugene Cota-Robles fellow. Her research interests include Native North American theater and performance and Indigenous theory. She currently holds an M.S. in Public Relations from Montana State University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing-Fiction. She has presented her work at the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, the American Society for Theater in Higher Education, the American Literary Association, the AAR, and on plenary and concurrent panels at the American Society for Theater Research. She is also a contributor for a forthcoming edited volume on Native American rhetoric to be published 2020 by the University of New Mexico Press.

Ryan DeCarsky

Ryan DeCarsky Is an undergraduate in his last quarter at UCSB. He has a double Major in Sociology and Native American Studies and holds minors in history and religious studies. After graduation he will be working for a year as he prepares to pursue a PhD program in Sociology.

Helene Gardner

Sedonna Goeman-Shulsky

Sedonna Goeman-Shulsky (Tonawanda Band of Seneca) currently works as the Archaeological Collection Manager at the Fowler Museum at UCLA, where she has worked on repatriation, curatorial, archival, and digital projects as a Museum Preparator since 2016. She is also employed at the Autry Museum as an archaeological collections assistant. She is also a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara, where she earned a degree in Anthropology with an emphasis in archaeology. Her involvement in archaeology began when she attended a field school session through the Pimu Catalina Island Archaeology Project in 2011. Goeman-Shulsky is the Project Manager for "Carrying Our Ancestors Home."

Toni Gonzalez:

I am a Mesoamerican archaeologist and PhD student in the Department of Anthropology. My research focuses on the archaeological and ethnohistorical study of subterranean space in the southern Maya Lowlands to explore the relationship between landscapes and social, political and cultural processes. My dissertation work is being conducted at the Classic Period Maya site of La Milpa, Belize, which emphasizes indigenous archaeology and traditional knowledge to learn about the past. I am also a co-researcher for the UCSB Gender Equity Project which addresses questions related to gender equity and harassment within various archaeological job sectors. I am also interested in questions related to ethical issues within the discipline, diversifying the field of Anthropology and collaborating with indigenous communities.

Mae Hey

Virginia Tech:

•Inclusive Virginia Tech Postdoctoral Fellow

•Indigenous Community Liaison

•Faculty Fellow for the Leadership and Social Change Residential College

•Instructor of American Indian Studies

Lindsey Huynh

I am a first generation Asian American from my Vietnamese family. My parents fled from Vietnam on a boat with my grandparents to America to start a new life and escape from Communism. I am the oldest daughter of three girls and also have an older brother. Although I’ve struggled with finding a major that I would like to pursue, I have found a passion in English with the help of my family and peers. Professor Toscano has also helped me find a passion in English while I was enrolled in her class. I am currently attending Pasadena City College, but I plan to transfer to a Cal State or University by next Spring.

Michael J. Ioannides

Michael J. Ioannides is a first-year PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at UCSB. He holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and an MA in Applied Anthropology from Oregon State University. His research interests involve examining the impacts of water and energy infrastructure projects on indigenous communities and the political resistance they can provoke. He is also interested in understanding the ways that infrastructure development projects have accompanied and contributed to colonization, and specifically how these projects presuppose and impose a Western spatial ontology. He plans to conduct long-term ethnographic fieldwork in northern Japan to better understand how indigenous Ainu people resist settler-colonial infrastructure development.

Alexander Karveles

Alexander Karvelas is a graduate student of ethnomusicology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He focuses on the intersections of music, sound, and environment, approaching the study of sound as both shaped by and shaping human relationships with more-than-human forms. His research is guided by his experience in and commitment to sustainable agriculture, permaculture, and ecojustice projects as well as by his musical practices.

Mia Lopez

Mia Lopez, is of Chumash, Ramaytush Ohlone, Bay Miwok, Cochimi and Nahua decent. Mia is the cultural representative and former tribal chair of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation. She is registered with the Native American Heritage Commission as the Most Likely Descendant for her tribe, to protect sacred Chumash sites and villages in the city of Santa Barbara and around the county. Lopez serves on the board of directors for the Chumash Maritime Association and the American Indian Health & Services clinic and is a frequent guest lecturer at UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College. A member of the Syuxtun Plant Mentorship Collective, Lopez is dedicated to keeping the traditional knowledge of plant medicine and food sources alive in her community. As a partner to the Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation's education program, she is a regular lecturer on contemporary and historical Chumash culture. When Lopez is not in the classroom, she is working with her community on revitalizing the šmuwič Chumash language, in which she sings, alongside other members of the Chumash Family Singers group, which includes her three children.

Gary Lytle

Gary Lytle is a Navajo/Diné tribal member. He is currently finishing his Master’s degree in Global Studies after obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Communication both at UCSB. His research and thesis looks at Indigenous governance of natural resources. His interests have focused on sovereignty and social equity. Having graduated culinary arts school, he has a passion surrounding issues of food security. The effects of climate change on indigenous and marginalized peoples, as it relates to food security and food sovereignty is the thread that connects it all. His future plans include continued work with the local native community and continuing his journey in higher education, as well as co-coordinating events like this.

Julie Maldonado

Julie Maldonado is Associate Director for the Livelihoods Knowledge Exchange Network (LiKEN), a link-tank for policy-relevant research toward post-carbon livelihoods and communities. She is co-director of Rising Voices: Climate Resilience through Indigenous and Earth Sciences, works with the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals to support tribes’ climate change adaptation planning, and is a lecturer in University of California-Santa Barbara’s Environmental Studies Program. As a public anthropologist, Julie has consulted for the UN Development Programme and World Bank on resettlement, post-disaster needs assessments, and climate change. She worked for the US Global Change Research Program and is an author on the 3rd and 4th US National Climate Assessments. Her doctorate in anthropology focused on the social and cultural impacts of environmental change and habitual disasters in coastal Louisiana. She was the lead editor for a special issue for the journal Climatic Change entitled, Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples in the United States: Impacts, Experiences and Actions, which was published in 2012. Her book, Seeking Justice in an Energy Sacrifice Zone: Standing on Vanishing Land in Coastal Louisiana, and co-edited volume, Challenging the Prevailing Paradigm of Displacement and Resettlement: Risks, Impoverishment, Legacies, Solutions, were both released in 2018. As part of LiKEN, she organized and is executive producer of the PaperRocket Productions film, Protect: Indigenous Communities at the Frontlines of Fossil Fuel Extraction.

Candy Martinez

Candy Martinez received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish at Amherst College and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Latin America and Latinx Studies at UCSC. As a graduate student, she researches Zapotec and Mixtec epistemologies related to emotional pains, healing, social inequalities and migration. Even though she does not speak Zapoteco, she considers herself to be Zapoteca given that her ancestors are Zapotec peoples from the central valley.

Margaret McMurtrey

Margaret McMurtrey, is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and a Cherokee, Creek, and Kaskaski Illini descendent as well. She is a doctoral student in the Department of Religious Studies-Native American Religious Traditions emphasis at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). Her research focuses on the origin, provenance and embedded Choctaw spiritual beliefs of Choctaw Hymns written pre-removal. McMurtrey is founding co-convener of the American Indian and Indigenous Collective Research Focus group sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center and continues to serve as one of the co-conveners. At UCSB she is advisor for the American Indian Student Association, co-founder of the Native American Author reading group, founder of the Native American and Indigenous Literary Society, and co-founder of the UCSB Native and Indigenous Garden. In the community, she is a founding member of the Elders’ Council of the Central Coast, and Past Board Chair of the American Indian Health and Services, Corporation of Santa Barbara. Margaret has MAs in Organizational Leadership and Policy, in Confluent Education, and in Religious Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara as well as a secondary teaching credential.

Bridget Moffat

Bridget Moffat is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. She is finishing up her degree in Biology with a minor in Spanish and American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is interested in the intersection between conservation, environmental justice, and human health. Currently, she is employed with the UCSB, American Indian and Indigenous Garden Alliance and the American Indian and Indigenous Collective.

Andrea Medina

Andrea Medina Riancho was born and raised in a Maya community in Yucatán, México. The values of dialogue, hard work, justice and courage were woven in her upbringing. Andrea earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with a minor in Anthropology at the University of California in Santa Barbara, her Master’s Degree in Mesoamerican Studies at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) focused on Mayan Agriculture and her Ph.D. in Yucatek Maya Healing Practices and Medicine also at UNAM.

Andrew Morrison

Amber Nashoba

Dr. Amber Nashoba’s work in is fueled by her Choctaw identity, traditional foods and food plants, and the relationships Indigenous people and the environment. Her research has centered on the ecology of and the persistence of natural plant populations and their communities. Her M.S. project on seed size in Manoomin (wild rice, Zizania palustris) was prompted by a Tribal biologist’s questions about the causal source of seed size between those harvested in lakes versus rivers. The work of her doctoral project was carried out with Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea) in a restored prairie on the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. Currently, she is working Nemophila menziesii (baby blue eyes) at four California populations from northern Mendocino county down to Monterey county.

Lena Neuner

Lena Marie Neuner is a Karuk tribal member and UCSB alumnus. Currently, she is working for her tribe as a wildlife technician focusing on the management and restoration of Roosevelt elk in the Karuk Aboriginal Territory. Her passion for the protection of tribal sovereignty drives her engagement in tribal as well as environmental law.

Rose O'Leary

Seanna Rose O’Leary is a Wa-Sha-Zhi (Osage), Quapaw, Tsa-la-gi (Cherokee), Mi’kmaq, Irish woman from Southern Oklahoma. She holds an M.Ed. in Learning Sciences with a focus on Indigenous Education from the University of Washington Seattle. Her forthcoming Master’s thesis for Dartmouth College combines Cultural Studies and Indigenous Studies to directly address how the narratives of popular media impact Indigenous Peoples’ activism. She is a current PhD student in Informatics at the University of California Irvine. Her goals include helping Indigenous communities utilize digital tools for education

Sequoyah Pollard

Pratik Raghu

Born in India and raised in Malaysia, Pratik Raghu is a Global Studies PhD student at UCSB. His dissertation research concerns Indigenous, peasant, Dalit (lower-caste), and Black / Afro-Mexican women's autonomous mobilizations against the neoliberal capitalist states of Jharkhand, India and Oaxaca, Mexico. Pratik's work draws upon Indigenous political philosophy, decoloniality, and anti-authoritarian and abolitionist thought to explore the alternative communities and societies articulated by these marginalized populations, as well as the potential for transformative solidarity between them. Pratik is also an aspiring activist-scholar who is currently involved with a number of local organizing initiatives, including the Bonfire Media Collective and the Santa Barbara Student Activist Network.

Rupert Richardson

Rupert is a registered member of the Guskimukw Nation located on Northern Vancouver Island. He also has a grandmother from the Nuxalk Nation located on the mid coast of British Columbia and on his father’s side his family comes from Leach Lake, Minnesota and St. Croix, Wisconsin which is a part of the Chippewa Nation. He carries traditional names from each of his communities; his Guskimukw name belonged to his great grandfather Tsa’xtsagis, while his Nuxalk name comes from his great, great, great grandfather Sninik Agis and his Chippewa name is the same as the clan his father is from and that is Ma’iingan.

Rupert is a son, brother, uncle, nephew and friend to many. He has worked as a fisherman, forest engineer, bartender, curriculum developer, elementary and college teacher but his favorite and most important job to date is being a dad to a three-year-old named Keestin.

Rupert’s interests are Indigenous health and well-being, practicing the Kwakwala language with Keestin, learning cultural songs and supporting Indigenous ceremonies throughout Turtle Island.

Brooke Smiley

brooke smiley M.A.P., RSME, is an international dance artist and somatic movement educator® currently teaching at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her art engages a deepening awareness of the body, our relationship to one another, and the earth, with an active interdisciplinary, improvisational practice and movement research in educational, choreographic, sculptural, and healing capacities. Her choreography has premiered at Sadlers Wells Lilian Bayliss Theater, REDCAT, and Highways Performance Space, with residencies and solo shows at centre d’ art de passarelle, ritual and research, and sea and space explorations. Brooke holds a M.A.P. in Performance studies with Distinction from TrinityLaban in London, a BFA from CalArts, and a Somatic Movement Educator from body mind centering®. With a strong background in earth architecture and indigenous justice, brooke has held dances at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, and Pine Ridge. Her new sculptural earth work Permission to Heal, made from the mudslides of Montecito in the shape of the Venus of Willendorf was built with her mother in situ on State Street as part of the 2018 State of the Art Gallery Exhibition, Santa Barbara, CA.

Sabine Talaugon

Sabine Talaugon (Chumash) is a PhD student in Native American Studies at UC Davis and a trainee in the Coastal and Marine Science Institute’s Sustainable Oceans program. She works with the Guadalupe Cultural Arts and Education Center on their Chumash Science Through Time project, celebrating Indigenous knowledge as specialized, complex, and necessary for everyone’s survival. Sabine earned a Masters of Public Policy from Mills College in 2013, and worked in the Indian health field for five years, founding a program evaluation and policy analysis firm, Iwex Consulting in 2016. Her current research focuses on the relationships between institutionally legible measures of human and ecological health and the ways that Indigenous people define the wellness of their bodies and land.

Silvia Toscano

Silvia Toscano has taught at Pasadena City College since 2005 (English& Chicana/o Studies) where she centers decolonizing Indigenous pedagogies of transformation and liberation. In 2017, she completed her doctoral degree at UCSB in Chicana & Chicano Studies. Her dissertation, "Learning to Heal, Healing to Learn: Sacred Pedagogies and the Aesthetics of a Teaching-Healing Praxis," allows for timely explorations of culturally relevant pedagogy, especially with regard to cultivating equitable learning opportunities along the Chicana and Chicano educational pipeline.

Ines Talamantez

Nakia Zavalla