The 4 Directions Projections

Mar 1, 2021

Across Turtle Island, and the globe, the richly diverse tapestry of First Peoples and First Nations continues to survive and thrive from the passing on of ancestral knowledge and continuity. The continuance of place-based purpose and traditions, passed from one generation onto the next is a legacy that allows us to exist, adapt, and recreate the promises and dreams that our cultural knowledge inspires. This legacy will outlive each of us yet. Its perpetual ability to weave our diverse cultural and individual heritage threads into a mosaic tapestry of reverence and gratitude unites us.

The IAIA Land-Grant Program has been recently redesigned to further promote and support the mosaic of Traditional Knowledge (TK) systems (ecological and technical) as it nurtures IAIA’s mission, “To empower creativity and leadership in Native arts and cultures through higher education, lifelong learning, and outreach.” We invite those interested in hearing, seeing, and learning more from our relatives in each of the directions to join us for our Spring Webinar Series, “The 4 Directions Projections: Sharing traditional and contemporary Indigenous knowledge to nurture people, revere places, and promote purpose.”


Sessions take place Wednesday evenings from 7:30–8:30 pm on ZOOM. Each episode will feature a guest presenter sharing their TK perspective and projects. For more information or questions, please contact Land-Grant Extension Educator Melanie Kirby (Tortugas) at (505) 428-5950 or by email at [email protected].

Feb. 17, 2021Seed Preservation and Protection
Feb. 24, 2021Harnessing and Understanding Reciprocal Purposes of Native Plants
Mar. 3, 2021The Importance of Learning How to Cook
Mar. 10, 2021Finding Balance in Our Resilience
Mar. 17, 2021Restoration of Acoma Pueblo Food Systems
Mar. 24, 2021Pueblo Diet Experience
Mar. 31, 2021Health Sovereignty Addressing Food, Herbalism, Counsel
Apr. 7, 2021Columbia Plateau Traditional Foods
Apr. 14, 2021 4 Bridges Permaculture
Apr. 21, 2021Cedar as an Art Form
Apr. 28, 2021Modern connections of Indigenous Women Farming

Seed Preservation and Protection

Beata Tsosie-Peña (Santa Clara Pueblo)
February 17, 2021

Seeds have a historic and profound significance to cultures around the world. The process of growing, saving, and storing seeds varies by community and by those called and compelled to serve as seed custodians. Yet, in current times, seeds are sanctioned, modified, commodified, and lost as industry practices have sought to alter, patent, and control them. The genetic histories of seeds, their diverse abilities, and their “right” to exist are hindered. This presentation will discuss the importance of sacred seeds and the issues of preserving them as they are impacted by corporate control, modification, and dissemination.

Beata Tsosie-Peña is from Santa Clara Pueblo and El Rito, NM. She is a mother, poet, seed keeper, and is certified in Infant Massage, as a Developmental Specialist, an Educator, a Full-Spectrum Doula, and in Indigenous Sustainable Design (permaculture). She is a Green for All Fellow and has served on several local community boards over the years. She is currently on the steering committee for the Traditional Native American Farmers Association and Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute’s Board of Directors. Tsosie-Peña is also serving on the NM Governor’s Task Force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women as a Pueblo representative. The realities of living next to a nuclear weapons complex has called her into environmental health and justice work with the non-profit organization Tewa Women United (TWU) for over a decade. As part of her work with TWU, she is currently managing the creation of the Española Healing Foods Oasis demonstration garden project and Española Healing Foods Seed Library.

Harnessing and Understanding Reciprocal Purposes of Native Plants

Kyle Kootswatewa (Hopi)
February 24, 2021

This discussion will focus on various uses of Native plants in and around the Four Corners area, along with their beneficial effects. Kyle will showcase how plants may be used in cooking and crafting.

Kyle Kootswatewa is an enduring practitioner of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and a rising traditional weaver of natural fibers. He is of Hopi descent, coming from the Kachina clan in Mungapi, Arizona. While Kootswatewa emerged as a traditional artist, he has also merged his knowledge into higher academics. Earning a BA at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), Kootswatewa studied within the Indigenous Liberal Arts Department and its strong interdisciplinary curriculum. He utilized his academic training and traditional ecological knowledge towards fortifying earth stewardship, while increasing awareness and involvement in combating climate change. Kootswatewa’s knowledge of working with the earth is attributed to Kootswatewa’s maternal clan grandparents, mothers, and uncle. The processes of foraging, creating, cooking, and building has allowed Kootswatewa to become well versed in the traditional sciences of agriculture, botany, nutrition, permaculture, geology, and the chemistry that brings all these natural sources into action within his community.

While at IAIA, Kootswatewa committed to gathering research with the Land-Grant Department and Hopi Cultural Preservation Office. He has studied and recorded data in various continuing projects including, but not limited to, ecological surveying and assessments, permaculture design, and cultural/language preservation.

The Importance of Learning How to Cook

Andi Murphy (Diné)
March 3, 2021

Andi Murphy (Diné) is the creator, host, and producer of the Toasted Sister Podcast, a show about Indigenous food. She’s a producer with the Native America Calling radio program, a one-hour national radio show about Indigenous issues and topics. Murphy grew up on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico. She has a journalism degree from New Mexico State University and has been working as a journalist since 2011. She’s also a freelance food writer, speaker, photographer, a home cook, and an amateur artist who creates all the art for her podcast, the Toasted Sister Podcast. She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her cats, Carrot and Lucifur.

The Toasted Sister Podcast is an award-winning show that documents the Native American Food Movement. Host, Andi Murphy (Diné) started the show in 2017 and has since talked with dozens of Native chefs, farmers, and individuals in the food industry who are working towards Indigenous food sovereignty. Conversations on the podcast include topics of sovereignty, racism, sexism, politics, and health, and a lot of personal stories about connecting with food, flavor, and culture. Toasted Sister Podcast took first place for General Excellence in Radio/Podcast at the Native American Journalists Association 2019 National Native Media Awards. In September 2020, it was named a “Saveur 100” by Saveur magazine. The podcast plays regularly on the Rising Indigenous Voices Radio, RIVR, KCZY at the Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint, New Mexico, KGLP in Gallup, New Mexico, and KSKQ in Ashland, Oregon. Available wherever you listen to podcasts. You can access the podcast at

Finding Balance in Our Resilience

Roxanne DeLille (Anishinaabe)
March 10, 2021

Roxanne DeLille is a mother, grandmother, auntie, and active community member. Oldest of 10 children, DeLille is very much a contemporary Anishinaabe woman whose life has been divided between reservation and urban areas. Much the same, her education has been divided between the traditional teachings of her people and mainstream education. DeLille has had the honor of sitting at the feet of many great teachers and has sat in numerous classrooms, always intrigued by the ways in which we come to understand each other. Following the spirits guidance, education was a natural profession for DeLille. She is currently the Dean of Indigenous and Academic Affairs at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, Minnesota, where she was previously a faculty member and taught Communication Studies (Interpersonal/Intercultural Communication) and American Indian Studies for over 20 years. As Dean, DeLille oversees the Anishinaabe Gikindaasowinan (the peoples way of knowing) programs. She is also an independent consultant, professionally specializing in leadership and relationship dynamics; as a spiritual consultant, she provides numerous ceremonies for the community. Miiew minik gaagigidooyan, miigwetch bizindaawii’ig (Thank you, I have nothing more to say).

Restoration of Acoma Pueblo Food Systems

Aaron Lowden (Acoma Pueblo)
March 17, 2021

Ancestral Lands Program Coordinator Aaron Lowden is from the Pueblo of Acoma. He is a traditional farmer, land-based skills instructor, and seed caretaker, and has been leading efforts in Acoma Pueblo to restore the traditional food systems of the community. Lowden has dedicated his life to revitalizing these ways. Aaron Lowden and the Ancestral Lands’ agricultural initiatives are achieved through an experiential and holistic program called the Acoma Farm Corps, in which local youth learn field preparation and design; dryland, irrigated, and drip irrigation techniques; seed selection, saving, and banking; and traditional food preparation. Every component of the program is contextualized through the traditional haak’umeh world view to pass on the place-based knowledge of Acoma. Lowden has also established a community seed bank that currently holds 57 Indigenous varieties of corn, squash, beans, tobacco, gourds, melons, and chile. All of these are available free of charge to community members and other local Indigenous individuals.

Pueblo Diet Experience

Roxanne Swentzell (Santa Clara Pueblo)
March 24, 2021

Roxanne Swentzell was born in 1962, in Toas, New Mexico. She is a member of Santa Clara Pueblo, where she lives today in the adobe solar house she built herself at the age of 22. Swentzell is a well known artist and started her own gallery in 2005 called The Tower Gallery, located in Pojoaque, NM. In 1987, Swentzell co-founded a non-profit called, Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute. Working with permaculture practices in the high desert, she narrowed in on sustainable life ways of her Pueblo ancestors. While saving seeds of traditional crops for over 35 years, Roxanne became interested in the health issues associated with colonial trauma eating disorders. She started researching ancestral diets through her project, “The Pueblo Food Experience.” This led to publishing a cookbook and working to build food systems within the tribe to help get these traditional foods back into the community.

Health Sovereignty Addressing Food, Herbalism, Counsel

Tokunboh Obasi (Taino Tribe of the White Lands)
March 31, 2021

The future of our sustainability as Indigenous peoples lies in empowering ourselves to look beyond large corporations and companies to make healthy decisions for ourselves. It is time for us to bring our own Indigenous practices in healthy nourishment, herbal medicine, and spiritual counsel to the forefront as prominent parts of health delivery in our communities.

This presentation will discuss how the fundamentals of our healthy mind, body, spirit lies in relying more on food, plant medicine, and spiritual counsel. These are parts of our wellbeing that guarantee healthier generations. As a clinical herbalist, Olatokunboh Obasi works with free clinics on the island of Puerto Rico and will be sharing strategies and outcomes.

As owner of Omaroti, Olatokunboh Obasi has been working in the wellness field for over 15 years. She is a yoga and dance instructor, clinical herbalist, nutritionist, and birth doula. Committed to community holistic health, social justice, and education, she works heavily in community service and African Traditional Medicine. Presently, she coordinates Herbalists Without Borders International on the island, providing devotional service to people in need. Originally from Africa, Obasi serves as a guest presenter and teacher of many conferences, traveling extensively around the world and integrating traditional knowledge of herbs with her western education. She received her Master of Science from Maryland University of Integrative Health. Obasi is multilingual and loves cooking, gardening, and creating art. She is a mother of three young adults, and she continues to learn from her children through challenge and tribulation as she shares her journey of life with them and the human family.

Columbia Plateau Traditional Foods

Leanne Campbell (Coeur d’Alene/Colville/Nez Perce)
April 7, 2021

Leanne Campbell is an enrolled member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe or Schitsu’umsh–meaning “Those who were found here” or “The Discovered People”. Her lineage also includes the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation located in central Washington and the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho.

She is a culture bearer who is knowledgeable about her tribal history, culture, language, and traditions. She is a speaker of both the Coeur d’Alene language (Salish) and Nez Perce language (Sahaptin), two of the languages of the Columbia Plateau. She is a skilled specialist most renowned for her unique skills in traditional arts. She produces beadwork that is a mix of pictorial, geometric designs, and old-style floral designs of the northwest Columbia Plateau. Campbell produces basketry and is considered a master weaver. The old-style arts she produces are widely sought after in Indian Country. Her work is collected by and featured in museums. Revitalization and continuation of traditional arts is important to Campbell. She teaches traditional arts workshops in her community and in the communities of neighboring tribes.

Campbell earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Museum Studies with a minor in Studio Arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She was selected to participate as a featured Artist in Residence at IAIA for her work with fiber arts. Campbell is a recipient of the Idaho State Historical Society Esto Perpetua Award. This award takes its name from the state’s motto, “let it be perpetual” and is one of the highest awards given in the State of Idaho for those who work to safeguard Idaho’s history and cultural heritage. Campbell is a member of the Board of Directors for the Museum of North Idaho and an IAIA Alumni Council representative.

Campbell works for the Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort/Hotel in Cultural Tourism. The Coeur d’Alene Casino aims to educate and share the culture of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. Campbell assists in providing tours and workshops that provide an insightful, hands-on experience into the Coeur d’Alene Tribe as a people.

4 Bridges Permaculture

Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray (Mohawk, Kahnawake)
April 14, 2021

Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray has a diverse background, beginning with a Masters in Project Management. She has been working to protect traditional seeds and foods for the last 20 years. She has been a delegate of Terra Madre 2006, 2010, 2016, and 2018 in Torino, Italy, Indigenous Terra Madre 2015 in Shillong, India, and the International Congress in Chengdu, China in September 2017.

She co-founded Kanenhi:io Ionkwaienthonhakie (We Are Planting Good Seeds) in the Mohawk Community of Akwesasne in New York, which built a substantial community greenhouse, established a community farmers’ market on the reservation, and supports the Akwesasne Freedom School, community gardens, and individual family farms. Gray is now living in New Mexico and is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Four Bridges Traveling Permaculture Institute, working with youth and elders to protect and revive traditions in agriculture and sustainable living in South America and throughout Turtle Island. She has worked with well-known activists such as Vandana Shiva, Percy Schmeiser, Oscar Olivera, Jeffrey Smith, Winona LaDuke, Paul Stamets, and Andrew Kimbrell to educate and motivate people into action in protecting our Mother Earth against environmental contamination.

Cedar as an Art Form

Toni Jo Gobin (Salish)
April 21, 2021

Toni Jo Gobin—born in 1985—was raised on the Tulalip Reservation in the heart the Salish Sea. She is first and foremost a cedar bark weaver, and is also a mixed media artist, working in acrylic, pen and ink, cedar papermaking, watercolor, screen print, printmaking, fashion design, and paper cutting. Her works are innovative, fresh, and contemporary, while incorporating traditional materials, techniques, and motifs. Gobin is a well-known baby board maker, and she finds great joy in seeing her art used to love and protect the next generation. She is also sought out for her Coast Salish tattoo designs. Her latest works have been papercut motifs inspired by the abundance and beauty of the Salish Sea.

Gobin started weaving with her mother and sister back in 1996, when the Tulalip Tribes Cultural Resources Department offered the first cedar bark weaving class, made possible by a Cultural Rediscovery Grant. They were blessed to be taught by Anna Jefferson of the Lummi Nation, who was a student of the great Coast Salish Master Weaver Fran James, also of the Lummi Nation. Around the same time, Gobin began participating in Tribal Journeys, which was where she gained much of her inspiration for Coast Salish Design. Jerry “Dxwsqius” Jones (Master Canoe Carver & Coast Salish Artist) taught her the basics of Coast Salish Design. She learned to sew from her mom, Judy Gobin. By age 15, Gobin was making her own dance regalia, from start to finish. Gobin attended the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM and graduated with an Associates of Fine Arts in Studio Arts in 2006. She is currently completing her BA from the University of Hawaii in Hilo.

Modern Connections of Indigenous Women Farming

Towana Yepa (Jemez Pueblo/Annishinabe)
April 28, 2021

Learn about cultural connections of Indigenous farming and how they can be integrated into modern contexts to help address socio-economic disparities that exist within Indigenous communities.

Towana Yepa (Jemez Pueblo/Annishinabe) comes from generations of Indigenous farmers. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Education from the University of New Mexico. She is a business woman who owns and operates her own farm, called Corn Pollen Trail Farms, in Ponderosa, New Mexico. She currently works as a Creative Team Member with the Pueblo of Jemez Department of Education, filming, editing, and collaborating on community messaging and language revitalization materials for language immersion learning. She hopes to mesh the many challenges of being an Indigenous woman farmer and fill a need for fresher options in Native communities to reduce health disparities and create more equitable access to healthy foods.