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Idyllwild Arts Land Acknowledgement

Idyllwild Arts respectfully acknowledges the Qawishpa Cahuillangnah (also known as Cahuilla Band of Indians) and all nine sovereign Bands of Cahuilla people who have stewarded this land throughout the generations and continue to steward this land for all future generations.

Deep gratitude to our generous sponsors who continue to show their support so that we may continue to bring our renowned Native American Arts programming to you during this difficult time.


Engaging, hands-on learning opportunities are designed for all levels of experience and knowledge. Working closely with master artists and cultural specialists, you will have the rare opportunity to learn traditional and contemporary Native American art forms and gain insight into the rich cultural foundation that inspires and motivates each artist.

Past onsite offerings for Native American Arts have included:

  • Art of Fire: Introduction to Glassblowing
  • The Beaded Cuff
  • Big Stories in Small-Scale & Wearable Art Casting
  • Cahuilla Basketry
  • Cahuilla-Style Pottery
  • California Native Plants: Contemporary & Traditional Medicinal Uses
  • Central California Coast Shell Jewelry & Figurines
  • Finding Form: Encaustic in the Third Dimension
  • Ho-Chunk Porcupine Embroidery
  • Hopi Jewelry: Tufa Casting & Overlay
  • Hopi-Tewa Pottery
  • Kumeyaay Yucca Sandal Weaving
  • Native American Cuisine: Indigenous Culinary Fusions
  • Navajo Inlay Jewelry
  • Navajo Weaving I
  • Navajo Weaving II
  • Tlingit Paddle Making
Native American Arts Festival

Featuring Two Dynamic Components:


In lieu of a 2020 physical gathering of creative minds, we will announce a line up of online programs that will bring together distinguished artists, scholars and cultural specialists that will present performances, demonstrations, films and the Michael Kabotie Lecture Series. The spirit of this annual event is to bring the scientific, intuitive and trickster voices together for a balanced and provocative learning experience. It is designed to enhance and add depth to the workshop experience. Be sure to come back May 15 for a full event listing. Event offerings and schedules are subject to change.

Theme: Art & Ecology: Art & Ecology & Society: Indisputable New REALities
Program: Michael Kabotie Online Lecture Series

Join us every Thursday in July (up to July 23) for a series of online lunchtime lectures led by Native American artists, scholars, leaders and industry experts who will dive into an examination of intersections between Art, Ecology and Society. These lectures are designed to address, inform, and challenge the indisputable new REALities that we now face in a new world.

July 2

California Native Resources: Effects of Climate Change & Place-Based Arts

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California is home to a diverse ecological landscape that has provided Indigenous communities abundantly for millennia. Over the past several hundred years the undeniable realities of climate change have impacted the ways in which Indigenous communities gather place-based arts. In this discussion we will explore the panelist’s personal interactions with the land and access to resources that carry culture in their proper communities. This relationship to land has implications that are political, ethical, cultural and economic. Each speaker will share their own work and highlight community based interventions that work to ensure that arts in Indigenous communities continue to thrive.

Terria Smith (Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla), Editor, News from Native California Magazine


Leah Mata Fragua (Northern Chumash)
Leah Mata Fragua is a practitioner of traditional arts, and her work is primarily utilitarian, however, she also uses her art to spread awareness about the devastating effects of climate change. As a member of a coastal Indigenous community, she has witnessed severe environmental degradation firsthand as it has substantially diminished the resources that her community relies on. She fears that one day many communities may lose access to their natural cultural resources altogether. She explains that, “for many coastal Indigenous communities, the ocean is a way of life, a complex ecosystem, and landscape that extends well beyond the shore, connecting us to communities near and far. The gifts we receive from the ocean are what we use to sustain ourselves as yak tityu tityu ‘The People.’” California Indian arts, and Fragua’s work in particular, are an extension of place. Her work brings attention to the intersection between traditional arts and climate change with the hope of inspiring action.

Stanley Rodriguez (Kumeyaay – Iipay, Santa Ysabel)
Stanley Rodriguez, member of the Kumeyaay Santa Ysabel Band of the Iipay Nation is an educator, language teacher, and tribal singer. He is an advocate for his community’s culture and traditions and serves in a number of advising and teaching roles in the San Diego and Native Kumeyaay communities. He has held the elected position of legislator for the Santa Ysabel Tribe of the Iipay Nation. Stanley is a US Navy veteran, has an MA in Human Behavior, worked as a Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counselor and now teaches full time, having just completed his PhD in Higher Education from UCSD.

Lorene Sisquoc (Cahuilla/Apache)
Lorene Sisquoc is Curator of the Sherman Indian School Museum in Riverside, California. She teaches Native American Traditions at Sherman Indian High School, and is a co-editor of Boarding School Blues: Revisiting American Indian Educational Experiences.

July 9

Water Disparities in Indian Country

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Dr. Otakuye Conroy-Ben (Oglala Lakota)

Program Description:
American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes are diverse sovereign nations whose waters are subject to standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In this talk, we present findings on municipal water and wastewater contaminant monitoring from publicly available environmental databases and in Tribally-approved emerging contaminant projects. Results show that there are evident disparities in Tribal water quality compared to non-Tribal sources with respect to regulated and unregulated drinking water contaminants. Solutions to rectify this situation vary, from improving compliance to remediating legacy pollutants.

Dr. Otakuye Conroy-Ben, Oglala Lakota, is originally from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. She received a BS in Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame and a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Arizona. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University where she researches emerging contaminants, wastewater engineering, and Tribal water quality disparities.

July 16

Digital Confluence – Age of the Online Pow Wow

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Photo Credit: NSRGNTS

Lecturer Description:
In this lecture we will hear from the co-founders of the popular “Social Distancing Pow Wow” on Facebook. With over 192 thousand followers, we will explore how this online forum is bringing together multiple tribal communities and nations across Turtle Island to share, inspire and heal in a time of uneasiness. We will also explore how this platform is helping Native American Artists who are struggling to find places to sell their art.


Whitney Rencountre (Hunkpati Dakota)
Whitney Rencountre II (Hunkpati Dakota) from the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. Whitney has a bachelor’s degree in American Indian Studies from Black Hills State University. Co-Founder of Social Distance Powwow. In 2019 Whitney was an Honoree of Western South Dakota Child Protection Council. Whitney was named one of 605 Magazine’s South Dakota Young Leaders of 2017. Whitney is the Chairman of the South Dakota Humanities Council. For the last 11 years, Whitney has been the Director of the Ateyapi Program, a culturally based mentoring program working with over 1,000 students each year in the Rapid City Area School District

Dan Simonds (Mashantucket Pequot)
Dan Simonds is from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe of Connecticut who now resides in Bozeman, MT with his wife and two children. Dan is a traditional wampum shell carver whose studio and gallery are at the Emerson in Bozeman, MT. His jewelry company Wampum Wear has helped fund his real estate venture Pequot Properties where his mission is to buy back Native Lands one house at a time. In the midst of Covid-19 chaos Dan created a viral Facebook group Social Distance Powwow to help support the Powwow family from Canada to North America celebrating a live movement where Native American Artists, Storytellers and musicians are honored giving a much needed space to tell OURSTORY.

Stephanie Hebert (Mi’kmaq / Muise)
Stephanie Hebertis Mi’k Maq and grew up just north of Boston, MA. She is one of the three Co-Founders of the Social Distance Powwow. She holds a Masters Degree in Wildlife Conservation and Management from New Mexico State University, and held the title of Miss. Native American New Mexico State University from 2016-2017. Stephanie has been dancing at pow wow’s since 2007, and has served as head staff at various pow wow’s across the US. She is also the owner of The Talon Beading Company, and mentors others in beading and quillwork.

July 23

Digital Cultural Divide/What Does Tech Equity Mean on the Rez?

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Lecturer Description:
In this new age of total all online engagement, we will examine the cultural impact of moving, sharing, teaching our communities through online means. How does this new way of exchange and trade affect Tribal Communities, specifically in California where many tribal communities don’t have internet access? What does “Tech Equity” mean on the Rez?


Steven Estrada (Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians), Vice Chairman
Steven is a tribal member from the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians from the Wánche’pákiktem clan. He was raised on the Santa Rosa Indian Reservation, located between Idyllwild and Palm Desert. Growing up on the Reservation during a time without access to communications, Steven understands the challenges and importance of providing tribal members with access to modern technology.
Steven has served on the Santa Rosa Tribal Council since 2007, currently serving as the Vice Chairman. He holds the position of Environmental Manager for the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians. Steven holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside.

These events are free and open to the public.
Donations of any amount are welcome!

Special thanks to the following benefactors, whose generous support made our 2019 Native American Arts Program and Festival possible: Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Cahuilla Band of Indians, Chickasaw Nation, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians, San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, Soboba Foundation/Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations, and an Anonymous Foundation.

Inaugural Indigenous Filmmakers Lounge
at the Sundance Film Festival

We are proud to sponsor the Inaugural Indigenous Filmmakers Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival.

Idyllwild Arts takes pride in hosting the 2019 Southwestern Tribal Climate Change Summit, giving Southwestern Native American Tribes a chance to come together to focus on climate strategies and solutions and to advance Tribal resilience efforts throughout the Southwest and North America. Idyllwild Arts is built on the homeland of the Mountain Cahuilla Indians. Idyllwild is referred to as Taqwish Heki in the Cahuilla language and the area once supported many Cahuilla villages. Today Idyllwild is still frequented by many Cahuilla, for whom it remains a special place to gather foods and medicines. The long-standing commitment by Idyllwild Arts to engage with Native Americans finds partial expression in the Idyllwild Arts Native American Scholarship Program, welcoming Native teenagers to our outstanding residential high school, Idyllwild Arts Academy, and Native adults as well as children to our famous Summer Program for the arts.

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