As an advocate of Indigenous voices & perspectives and a healthier, active, sustainable lifestyle, I have found the following opportunities to practice what I believe in.
SAM at Biosphere 2, volunteer
In May 2021, I spent one week at the Biosphere 2 assisting with the construction of SAM – a Space Analog for the Moon and Mars. Yes, you read that correctly. Who would have ever thought I would be volunteering for a project like this? If anything, I obtained a glimpse of what it would feel like to be encapsulated in a closed environment. Visit the SAM blog to learn more.
Navajo YES, volunteer
When I moved back home briefly in 2015-2016, I searched for any opportunity to volunteer in my hometown of Shonto and heard about all the great work that Navajo YES was doing, so I signed up as support crew for the 2016 Naatsis’aan Ultramarathon. At the time, I was not a runner, in fact, I disliked running, but I was amazed by all the runners and volunteers and their dedication and resilience. Fast forward to 2021, I have signed up and completed my first ever half marathon, which was part of the Shiprock Marathon race series hosted by NavajoYES. I never thought I would enjoy running, but I do, especially on our beautiful homelands. To learn more about my running journey, visit my “Running” blog.
Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival, volunteer
Based in Northern Arizona, the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival (FMFF) began as a volunteer-run effort and has remained one ever since, with any profits from the event being reinvested into future festivals, funding the Emerging Filmmaker Program and donating to local charities. Their mission is to provide a cultural alternative to the mainstream commercial film experience and to celebrate, promote, nurture and teach non-fiction filmmaking.
As a strong advocate in bringing awareness to Indigenous issues and perspectives in various spaces, I made the decision to become involved with the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival to invite and include more Indigenous films, filmmakers, voices, and perspectives. In 2020, I joined the FMFF board as the Indigenous Program Director.
- Director of Indigenous Voices session
- Moderator for A Conversation with Nigel James and Family
- Director of Locals/Indigenous Programs night
- Panelist on Ethical Recreation on Tribal Lands
- Moderator of High Desert Matriarch: A Confluence of Indigenous Women, Art, and Earth
- Panelist on the Public Lands: Coffee Talk
- Guest speaker at the Indigenous Summer Showcase
- Moderator/Director of November Indigenous Showcase
- Art Show: Two of my photographs were displayed at Dark Sky Brewery in downtown Flagstaff, as part of the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival Art Show.
Earthship Academy, Uruguay (2019)
My love for the Earthship concept began in 2013, when I stayed overnight in the Phoenix Earthship, located outside of Taos, New Mexico. I was drawn to the reuse of glass bottles, tires, and cans and the unique design of an Earthship. Fast forward 6 years later, I found an opportunity to travel internationally, to Uruguay for 4-week academy to learn how to build an Earthship. I saved up enough funds and bought a one-way ticket and the rest is history! To read the rest of the story, visit my “Travel” blog.
In July/August 2019, I participated in the 23rd Annual Indigenous Sustainable Communities Design Course, held in Española, New Mexico. The ISCDC course is a holistic indigenous approach based on traditional knowledge and practices ( “putting the words of our elders and ancestors into actions” ) as a tool for improving air quality, water quality, community health, ecosystems understanding and management, traditional farming, traditional diets and nutrition, pattern understanding, Indigenous Women in agriculture, herbal processing, Earth Building, communal and global responsibilities.
The 2019 course was unique in that it focused on Indigenous Women’s roles in sustainable community design and some of these amazing Indigenous women, mothers, farmers, and healers include: Nicole Francis (Indigenous scientist), Lilian Hill (Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture Institute), Roxanne Swentzell (Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute), Beata Tsosie-Peña (Española Healing Oasis), Glenda Abbot (Indigenous Birthkeeper), Miriam Caal (from Belize), and more!
Colorado River Days, volunteer
In 2015, I attended the Colorado River Days events and questioned the lack of Indigenous voices, art, and events. Therefore, I began volunteering in 2016 and since then have advocated and helped organize events that included more Indigenous artists, speakers, perspectives, and voices. The events are listed below:
2020 Colorado River Days
- Through a Mother’s Lens: Multi-generational Advocacy
2019 Colorado River Days
- Indigenous Voices for Grand Canyon’s Next Century
2018 Colorado River Days
- Healing with the River
2017 Colorado River Days
- “The Confluence” film & discussion
2016 Colorado River Days
- Success Stories of Diversity in Outdoor Education on Diné & Hopi Nations
- Native Voices on the Colorado River panel discussion