2020 Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellows

In 2019, First Nations Development Institute in partnership with the Henry Luce Foundation launched the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship to honor and support a select cohort of fellows as they work to further Indigenous knowledge creation, dissemination and change in Indigenous communities. This fellowship provides Native knowledge holders and knowledge makers the funding and connections necessary to maximize their potential and realize their vision for their communities. It also provides these knowledge holders with the resources to match their existing knowledge, passion and drive to achieve their personal and community goals. This inaugural class of fellows was selected with the guidance of an advisory and selection committee based on the strength of their intent, vision, experience and potential to create, disseminate and perpetuate indigenous knowledge for positive change in their communities.

Meet the 2020 Luce Indigenous Fellows

Clarence Cruz (Khaayay), New Mexico

Clarence Cruz (Khaayay) [Ohkay Owingeh – Tewa], Traditional Potter/Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico will begin to document past and present potters of Tewa and Ohkay Owingeh heritage. He plans to write a book that celebrates Pueblo potters, their families, ancestors and the histories of knowledge and culture that Pueblo potters have invented, perpetuated and passed down for generations. When completed, this will be the first compilation of Pueblo potters written by a Pueblo person. Clarence hopes the book will help people appreciate the contributions of Pueblo potters and serve as source material for writing on Tewa Art and Culture.


What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

“I am humbled by it all, it is truly going to be an amazing journey. It gives me an opportunity to give back to my Pueblo, Ohkay Owingeh of past and present potters, as well as those interested in the art of traditional pottery.”

 

Dorene Day, Minnesota

Dorene Day (Ojibwe Anishinabe, Nett Lake, Minnesota), Activist-Indigenous Birth Revitalization, Oondaadizike Kwe, has worked to reclaim Indigenous Birthing knowledge and is driven by her passion to provide a place for girls, young women, and grandmothers to access Traditional Lifeways and traditional women’s teachings. She hopes to create greater access to traditional knowledge on birthing and female Lifeways for Indigenous women who want and need that information. Her program would be a pilot; she would bring together a group would learn over a year and also produce recordings and other resources.


What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

“It means this work on birthing is important and valuable. That we are recovering our traditions and practices around birth and reproductive right and that this work will go into the future, for our coming generations.”

Rahekawę̀·rih Montgomery Hill, New York

Rahekawę̀·rih Montgomery Hill (Skarù·rę Tuscarora Indian Nation), Speaker, Linguist, and Language Activist, is focused on the creation, dissemination, and perpetuation of the Great Law of Peace within his community. The Great Law of Peace is essentially the constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy, a governance system that existed long before Europeans stepped foot in what is today called North America. Montgomery has not been able to identify any records or mention of a Tuscarora version of the Great Law of Peace and there are no Tuscarora elders alive with this knowledge. Thus, over the next year, he will work to translate the Great Law of Peace into the Tuscarora language. He believes that having their own version will not only lift the minds of the community but demonstrate their commitment to maintaining their language and ultimately their existence as a sovereign people. It would also reaffirm their recognition of the importance of the Haudenosaunee way of life and their belonging to the Confederacy.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

“This award is incredibly meaningful to me because the value of my work and my community is recognized. My community, like many others, is constantly working to normalize cultural and linguistic practices that will strengthen indigenous knowledge and identity. My participation in this cohort will allow me to bring home valuable resources — economic, social, political, spiritual — and allow me to further share the resources and knowledge my community has with others in need.”

Lisa Yellow Luger, North Dakota

Lisa Yellow Luger (Standing Rock Sioux), Tribal Justice Specialist, will undertake research on traditional justice systems. She will assess the potential of a traditional justice program for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, conducting interviews with elders and historians, researching landmark cases, meeting with other Tribal Nations to review traditional court programs, and seeking guidance from Native-based legal organizations, universities and Native American Law programs. In collaboration with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Court officials, she plans to outline and design a quality, culturally-appropriate model of what a traditional justice system could look like for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, rooted in the values, customs, and traditions of the Standing Rock people.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

“I am honored to have been selected as a Luce Fellowship recipient. This opportunity will allow me to contribute in a meaningful and positive way to the future development of my tribe. I will be able to learn what other tribal nations have been successful in implementing, work directly with tribal elders and leaders to create a process that will work specifically for the people of Standing Rock.”

Trisha L. Moquino, New Mexico

Trisha L. Moquino (Cochiti/Kewa/Ohkay Owingeh), Indigenous Educator/Guide and Co-Founder of Keres Learning Center is seeking to further develop and contribute to the Philosophy of Indigenous Education, a program of the Indigenous Montessori Institute (IMI), by researching and writing on Indigenous Early Childhood Development through an anti-bias/anti-racism lens. She will work on curriculum development for future Native language teachers, Montessori as a tool in service to Indigenous Education, and the history of the IMI. She will also begin writing a children’s book so that Indigenous children can see themselves and their experiences reflected in contemporary times.


What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

“I am grateful to have been selected as a Luce Fellow. This fellowship will support my ongoing work in elevating the importance of Indigenous Early Childhood/Education and transforming teacher training to help recreate an education that is centered on Indigenous Languages and Indigenous knowledge systems.”

Corine Pearce, California

Corine Pearce (Redwood Valley Little River Band of Pomo Indians), Basket Weaver, Artist, and Environmental Steward, is one of five remaining basket weavers in her area. Over the next year, she wants to grow the number of traditional basket makers by teaching, revising and expanding her book and creating a video series on instructional basket weaving. She has spent the last three years harvesting and processing a large quantity of natural, native materials to teach larger classes and to mentor new weavers. Her weaving heals the land and the people, connecting future generations to a living cultural identity.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

“Being selected means being given the opportunity to share hard-earned knowledge and mastery of a quickly waning art that is sacred and profoundly impactful to our traditional way of living. It is a validation that dedication to traditional knowledge is valued and worth the sacrifices that it requires to earn these skills. It is wonderful to know that this knowledge is supported by others in a larger community, in ‘Indian country’.”

Hanna Sholl, Alaska

Hanna Sholl (Sun’aq Tribe of Kodiak, Alaska), Contemporary Sugpiaq (Alutiiq) Artist and Culture Bearer, is a multimedia artist and plans to develop 4 separate collections of Alutiiq cultural objects for the purpose of expanding, sharing and celebrating Ancestral Alutiiq knowledge and stories. The first collection will consist of recreations of ancestral Alutiiq objects, made with the intention of illustrating and sharing traditional techniques. The second will highlight how traditional techniques can be used and celebrated today. The third will be a collection of miniatures designed to explain daily life and stories to young people. Lastly, the fourth will be a large-scale mural collection with pieces designed to celebrate Alutiiq history and tradition. The goal of collections is to preserve and share knowledge of Alutiiq history and stories, as well as inspire her people.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

“I am deeply honored to have the opportunities this fellowship will allow. Actively pursuing the preservation of ancestral knowledge, while also being part of the present celebration of Alutiiq society and reawakening of lost culture — this is a privilege and a responsibility I am extremely excited to take on!”

Lloyd Harold Kumulāʻau Sing Jr., Hawai’i

Lloyd Harold Kumulāʻau Sing Jr. (Native Hawaiian),  Traditional Mixed-Media Artist and Cultural Practitioner, will work to create a community of ʻieʻie basketry weavers who will revitalize this practice and teach the greater Hawaiian community. Traditional weavers gather and prepare the ʻieʻie (a native woody climbing vine) rootlets for the purpose of creating sturdy baskets to sort and protect their food and personal valuables, as well as serve as the repository for their bones. For the fellowship, Lloyd will teach a cohort of students how to weave six different traditional helmets (mahiole) worn by the ruling chiefs of old Hawaiʻi using ʻieʻie weaving. He will also mentor and guide students to teach and demonstrate these techniques in public in order to share knowledge with Native Hawaiian and Pacific communities, raising awareness and generating interest in this unique form.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

“Being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow gives me the opportunity to access resources that will further continue my journey to heal and empower my Hawaiian people and their communities. Proliferating cultural arts encourages my people to be their best selves; allowing them to connect to their kūpuna and strengthen their cultural identity: one class, workshop, cohort and community at a time. It is my kuleana to pass on the ancestral knowledge and practice that was given to me to share with others.”

X̱ʼunei Lance Twitchell, Alaska

X̱ʼunei Lance Twitchell (Tlingit, Haida, Yupʼik, Sami), Indigenous Language Teacher, plans to create a Native language revitalization kit to be used by other Indigenous peoples that summarizes how to replicate best practices in their own communities. He will formalize a partnership with all entities producing Tlingit materials, create websites and blogs for the Tlingit language so that curricula can be shared and easily downloaded, and develop his own collecting, organizational and distribution abilities. He will also set up and field test at least three language access centers in Tlingit communities. “Tell me what you want your grandchildren to know and I will teach it to them,” Twitchell told his Tlingit elders.

What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

“This is an incredible honor and opportunity to be selected as a recipient of the Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship Program. I am inspired and humbled and will take this opportunity to try to improve the ways I teach, research, document, and increase access to our Indigenous language. Recognition and acknowledgment from Indigenous organizations is medicine and power and I will do everything I can to help others achieve the success they dream about.”

Peter Williams, Alaska

Peter Williams  (Yup’ik), Artist and Activist, works in the medium of Native marine mammal craftwork. He will continue his work to build a dialogue with allies in the world of environmental science to broaden the market for and to perpetuate traditional arts, such as his handmade “fur paintings.” He will also advocate for the Alaska Native lifestyle by traveling to his birthplace to interview elders on the Yup’ik creation story, marine mammal hunting, and past and present perspectives on 1971’s Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. He hopes to learn how the elders anticipate subsistence will evolve in the future, particularly in light of climate change.


What does being selected as a Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellow mean to you?

“It’s humbling and an honor to be a part of this inaugural Luce Indigenous Knowledge Fellowship cohort. The support from this fellowship means that I can continue my cultural work of keeping the gifts from my ancestors alive for future generations.”


2020 Fellowship Honorable Mentions and Knowledge Fields:

  • Angelo Baca, Navajo (Diné) – Indigenous Media, Anthropology, Sacred Lands Protection
  • Amanda Blackhorse, Diné – Social Advocacy
  • Joanie Buckley, Oneida – Business and Food Systems
  • Charlotte E. Davidson, Diné/Three Affiliated Tribes – Philosophy, Student Affairs, Higher Education
  • Jessi L. Falcon, Ho-Chunk Nation – Language
  • Helen Fillmore, Washoe – Ecological, Geological and Women’s Ways
  • Kiana Laieikawai Frank, Native Hawaiian – Na kilo ao maiki (Indigenous Microbiology)
  • Malynn Foster, Squaxin Island – Skokomish – Master Artist, Food Sovereignty, Environmental Stewardship, Culture Keeper
  • Jefferson Greene, Member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs: Táxshpash, Wasq’ú, Paiute, ku Niimíipuu – Ichishkín Snwit Tananmamí – Language of the Mid-Columbia River Indians
  • Dr. Toni M. House, Oneida – Language Revitalization and Leadership
  • Selina Jesus, Tohono O’odham Nation – Certified O’odham Teacher
  • Kū Kahakalau, Ph.D, Native Hawaiian – Hawaiian Language, Culture, History and Traditions, Indigenous Education and Research
  • C. Malina Kaulukukui, Native Hawaiian – Hula, Ho’oponopono, and Lua
  • Jacob Manatowa-Bailey, Sac and Fox Nation – Indigenous Language Revitalization
  • Traci McClellan-Sorell, Cherokee Nation – Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction Literature for Children and Teens
  • Tachini Pete, Salish/Navajo – Language Transfer Capacity Building, Salish Language Revitalization
  • Heidi Aklaseaq Senungetuk, Nome Eskimo Community – Ethnomusicology
  • Jessie Shepherd, Sisseton-Wahpeton – Ecology and Traditional Plant Usage
  • Wendi Sierra, Oneida – Game Studies
  • Noenoe K. Silva, Kanaka ‘Ōiwi (Native Hawaiian) – Native Hawaiian Intellectual History, Native Hawaiian Political History, ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i (Hawaiian Language)
  • Sam Slater, Navajo – Navajo Moccasin Making and Cultural Arts Pedagogy
  • Endawnis Spears, Diné/Ojibwe/Chickasaw/Choctaw – Equity and Decolonization in Educational Spaces including Museums and Schools
  • Leona Swamp, Akwesasne Mohawk Nation – Grief and Intergenerational Trauma
  • Daniel R. Wildcat, Yuchi Member of Muscogee Nation – Philosophy, Environmental Science and Ethics