Symposium Speakers

Symposium Speakers Bios

Brandon Barnett (Muscogee Creek)
Graphic Designer, Muscogee Creek Nation, Mvskoke Language Program

Linda Bear (Seminole)
Language Practitioner, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma Language Program

Kyle Bell (Thlopthlocco Tribal Town)
Kyle Bell (Thlopthlocco) is an independent filmmaker based out of Tulsa,OK. He won Best Documentary and Best of Class in the 2015 and 2016 Santa Fe Indian Market SWAIA Class X for his short documentaries “Native Evolution” & "Dig It If You Can. Kyle also films for the television documentary program “Osiyo: Voices of the Cherokee People”

Bobbie Chew Bigby (Cherokee)
Bobbie Chew Bigby is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation from Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. Bobbie's professional and academic work has long been guided by her attempts to understand and reconcile her diverse Native, Asian and Caucasian heritages. Additionally, her work is driven by the belief that traditional arts, culture and education are essential for community resilience among Indigenous, refugee and post-conflict populations. Bobbie holds BA degrees in Chinese Language and Literature, as well as Anthropology. In 2015, Bobbie completed a MA degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution under the support of a Rotary Peace Fellowship, focusing specifically on peacebuilding within Indigenous communities in comparative contexts.

Shawnee Brittan
Shawnee Brittan came to OMA in the fall of 1950 and graduated from high school in 1953. Brittan has received international acclaim in a career that has spanned many years in film and video production. He worked in Hollywood throughout the 1960s, where he was vice president of Celebrity News Service. In 1967, he co-founded Media Research Associates.

He served as Filmmaker-in-Residence and Visiting Professor at the University of Oklahoma from 2001 to 2011. At OU he created the Independent Film Project, an independent motion picture production program. He currently serves as vice president of Hollymount Pictures, and is a consultant to the History Media Foundation. Brittan served as the producer and director for Oklahoma Military Academy: West Point of the Southwest.

Roy Boney, Jr. (Cherokee)
Roy Boney, Jr. (Cherokee Nation) is an award winning artist, writer, and digital media specialist. His work has been exhibited across the country and featured in numerous publications. His art is informed by Cherokee history, culture, and language and how it still lives in the 21st century. He is a painter, draughtsman, and digital media artist. He currently works in language revitalization efforts for the Cherokee Nation, serves as Vice President of the Southeastern Indian Arts Association, and is an Advisory Board Member at the American Indian Policy Institute. He is a contributing artist and writer to the "Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers" graphic novel.

Jeremy Charles (Cherokee)
Co-founder of independent production company. Producer, Director and Cinematographer of Emmy Award winning TV show, “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People, commercials and short documentaries.

Nicholas Tecumseh Charleston (Chata)
Chata Language Teacher

Ezekiel Choffel

Ezekiel Choffel is a second year Ph.D. student at Syracuse University, studying geography, cultural rhetorics, decolonial, and Indigenous theory. His dissertation project is focused on articulating the land as a rhetorical agent which acts upon (rather than is just acted upon) every day life by building connections between Indigenous/Decolonial theories and Network theory.

Joe Coon
Maskoke language instructor

Dr. Jeff Corntassel
Jeff Corntassel is Tsalagi (Cherokee Nation) and received his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in 1998 in Political Science. He is currently an Associate Professor and Graduate Advisor in the School of Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria, which is located on Lekwungen and Wsanec homelands. Jeff was the first to represent the Cherokee Nation as a delegate to the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Peoples and strives to honor his family and nation as a teacher and scholar. As Tsalagis we are urged to "Live in a longer 'now' - learn your history and culture and understand it is what you are now". Indigenous peoples who are engaging in a decolonization process have begun to live in a longer 'now' by remembering and renewing relationships with their sacred homelands. He has published several books, including Forced Federalism and Conquest by Law, and travels the country giving presentations on revitalization of Indigenous communities as well as cultural sustainability.

David Crawler
David Crawler is a master speaker of the Cherokee language and serves as a Translator in the Office of Translation at Cherokee Nation. David is a musician and an artist in addition to being a Cherokee speaker from a small, traditional community.

Dr. Jenny Davis
Jenny L. Davis is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she is the director of the Native American and Indigenous Languages (NAIL) Lab and an affiliate faculty of American Indian Studies and Gender & Women’s Studies. She earned her PhD in Linguistics at University of Colorado, Boulder in 2013. Jenny was the 2010-2011 Henry Roe Cloud Fellow in American Indian Studies at Yale University, and a 2013-2014 Lyman T. Johnson Postdoctoral Fellow in Linguistics at the University of Kentucky. In her work, Jenny analyzes the intersections of indigenous community, identity, and language. She is particularly interested in language revitalization and documentation in indigenous communities and how processes of globalization affect these movements of linguistic reclamation. Within the arena of language reclamation. Her current research project is a multisite ethnographic investigation of the ways that--in the modern, urban American Indian diaspora--indigenous language(s) are used and revitalized in locations other than Native American reservations and trust lands. In addition publications from her research on Chickasaw language revitalization (Language and Communication, 2016 and The Changing World Religion Map, 2015), she has published in a number of topics and fields, including gendered representations in Breton language revitalization media (Gender & Language 2012); the intersections of language, race, and indigeneity (Parsing the Body, accepted); and the discourses about language endangerment in media (Language Documentation & Description 2017); and language, indigeneity, and gender/sexuality in Two Spirit identity. Her 2014 co-edited volume from Oxford University Press, Queer Excursions, was awarded the Ruth Benedict Book Prize from the American Anthropological Association.

Andrew Dayton
Andrew Dayton is a cognitive scientist and child psychologist that studies the micro-behaviors between collaborative members of groups. He currently studies the development of VR technologies in promoting better collaboration.

Dr. Angela Dayton

Dr. Dayton studies indigenous learning practices in the United States, Mexico and Guatemala. Currently, she is using Virtual Reality (VR) technology to promote indigenous science learning.

Johnnie Diacon
(Muscogee Creek)
Johnnie Diacon is an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma (Mvskoke), Thlopthlocco Tribal Town (Raprakko Etvlwa), and he is Deer Clan (Ecovlke). He is a graduate of Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A noted artist for nearly three decades, this is his first foray into the world of comic book art. Johnnie is the father of five (four girls and one boy) and has two grandchildren. He currently lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with his wife Nikki and their son Emerson.

Melanie Frye
Language Education Specialist, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma Language Program

Dr. Diane Hammons
Dr. Diane Hammons is an Assistant Professor at Northeastern State University in the department of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies, & Homeland Security. She previously served as Attorney General of the Cherokee Nation, and was an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma for a number of years. She was also the recipient of the Cherokee Patriot Award. A Mensan, Dr. Hammons is 1/4 Cherokee, the mother of three, and grandmother of three adorable grandchildren. An OU grad, she passed the bar in 1984.

Dr. Tiffanie Hardbarger (Cherokee)
Tiffanie Hardbarger (Ord) is an Instructor in the Cherokee & Indigenous Studies department. She is from the Stilwell/Tahlequah, OK area and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

Her interest in sustainable tourism and international/community development led to a Bachelor's degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management (Northeastern State University, 2002), a Master's in International Relations (University of Oklahoma, 2009) and a PhD in Community Resources & Development (Arizona State University, expected 2016). Her professional work experience includes the meetings and travel industry, economic development and marketing.

Tiffanie's teaching and research interests are related to self-determination movements and sustainability in community development and tourism with a specific focus on Indigenous, nomadic and tribal communities. Her current research includes the use of arts and culture as a tool for community development, nation building and non-violent activism (Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, a nation-in-exile in SW Algeria), and an Indigenous participatory action research project to explore Cherokee concepts of community, leadership, and justice as the lenses used to explore Cherokee youth’s conceptions of identity, sustainable self-determination and resurgence (Tahlequah, OK).

Lokosh Joshua Hinson (Chickasaw)
Lokosh (Joshua Hinson) is a PhD candidate at the University of Oklahoma and the director of the Chickasaw Language Revitalization Program.

Dr. Farina King
Farina King is “Bilagáanaa” (Euro-American), born for “Kinyaa’áanii” (the Towering House Clan) of the Diné (Navajo). She was born and lived on the Navajo reservation as a small child, until her family moved to Maryland. Dr. King received her Ph.D. in U.S. History from Arizona State University. Her main area of research is colonial and post-colonial Indigenous Studies, primarily Native American experiences of colonial and distant education. She is currently preparing a book manuscript based on her doctoral study, “The Earth Memory Compass: DineĢ Educational Experiences in the Twentieth Century.” She joins the History Department at Northeastern State University in August 2016. She is also The David J. Weber Fellow for the Study of Southwestern America (2016-2017) at the Southern Methodist University Clements Center. She received her M.A. in African History from the University of Wisconsin and a B.A. in History from Brigham Young University. Learn more about Dr. King at

Dr. Benjamin Kracht

Dr. Kracht has taught at NSU for over 23 years. He teaches anthropology classes and American Indian Studies classes.

His interests in American Indian cultures led to a B.A. in anthropology/history (Indiana University, 1979), followed by an M.A. in anthropology (University of Nebraska, 1982), and a Ph.D. in anthropology (Southern Methodist University, 1989). AT SMU he studied medical anthropology and began researching urban Indian health. By the end of his first year of doctoral work, he began researching Kiowa culture, religion, and history.

Most of his publications pertain to Kiowa religion, including coverage of the Ghost Dance, dancing and shamanic societies, and indigenized Christianity. Kracht's book, Kiowa Belief and Ritual (2017, Univeresity of Nebraska Press), delineates aboriginal Kiowa religious beliefs, and a forthcoming book pertains to religious revitalization among the Kiowas, including the Ghost Dance, Peyote, and indigenous Christianity. Dr. Kracht has also traveled to Central America with Dr. Erik Terdal to study Maya belief systems and the use of rainforest plant medicines. Each spring he teaches Field Methods in Ethnology and takes students to New Mexico during spring break to visit Acoma, Zuni, and Santo Domingo Pueblos.

Dr. Kracht has published over 40 articles and book reviews, including entries in American Indian Religious Traditions, American Indian Spirituality, Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, and Encyclopedia of North American Indians. His 2012 article in the Chronicles of Oklahoma, "'It Would Break Our Hearts Not to Have Our Kiowas': War Dancing, Tourism, and the Rise of Powwows in the Early Twentieth Century," won the Muriel Wright award for best article.

Dr. Kimberli Lee
Dr. Kimberli Lee is an Associate Professor of English in the Languages and Literatures Department at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. She's published two books: "I Do Not Apologize for the Length of this Letter": The Mari Sandoz Letters on Native American Rights and Indigenous Pop: Native American Music from Jazz to Hip Hop. She teaches Native American Literatures and Rhetorics, Native Film and Media, and various other writing courses for NSU.

Jennifer Loren
Jennifer Loren has been in the television business for 15 years. After spending 13 years as a news anchor and investigative reporter, Jennifer was hired by the Cherokee Nation to create, produce and host its program, “Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People.” Now in its third season, "OsiyoTV" has a documentary and magazine-style format and won an Emmy for best cultural documentary in 2016.

Jennifer is a Cherokee Nation citizen and member of the Native American Journalists Association and the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Ryan Mackey
Ryan Mackey, also called Wah-de Ga-li-s-ge-wi, is a Cultural Specialist at Cherokee Nation and has previously served as a teacher at Tsalagi Jundeloquasdi Cherokee Immersion Charter School but now serves in Culture and Community Outreach as an educator for culture and language. Ryan also spends significant time with the Cherokee Language Master Apprentice Program which is an intensive Cherokee language learning experience.

America Meredith
America Meredith is a visual artist but also the founder and editor of First American Art Magazine. America has dedicated her life to the arts and to educating others about indigenous art and culture.

Dr. Devon Mihesuah
Devon Mihesuah is the Cora Lee Beers Price Teaching Professor in International Cultural Understanding at the University of Kansas. She holds a Ph.D. in American History from Texas Christian University. Her career has been devoted to the empowerment and well-being of indigenous peoples. She served as Editor of the American Indian Quarterly for nine years. Her research, writing and speaking focuses on decolonization strategies and is one of the few indigenous writers who successfully writes non-fiction 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.

Dr. Brad Montgomery-Anderson
Dr. Brad Montgomery-Anderson is an associate professor in the Cherokee and Indigenous Studies Department. He specializes in Cherokee language, Mayan languages, and language revitalization. Dr. Montgomery-Anderson is currently preparing for publication a Cherokee reference grammar as well as a dictionary of the Chontal Mayan language of Mexico. He has published papers in Southwest Journal of Linguistics, International Journal of Applied Linguistics, and Journal of Language Contact. He grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and obtained both a Master’s in Indigenous Studies and a PhD in linguistics from the University of Kansas.

Juliet Morgan
Juliet Morgan is a PhD candidate at the University of Oklahoma. finishing her dissertation on Chickasaw language change, acquisition and revitalization in May 2017.

Malea Powell
(Eastern Miami)
Malea Powell is Professor and Chair of the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures at Michigan State University as well as a faculty member in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. She is lead researcher for the Digital Publishing Lab at MSU, director of the Cultural Rhetorics Consortium, founder & editor-in-chief of Constellations: a cultural rhetorics publishing space, past chair of the CCCC, and editor emerita of SAIL: Studies in American Indian Literatures. A widely published scholar and poet, her current book project, This Is A Story, examines the continuum of indigenous rhetorical production in North America, from beadwork to alphabetic writing. Powell is a mixed-blood of Indiana Miami, Eastern Shawnee, and Euroamerican ancestry. In her spare time, she hangs out with crazy Native women artists & poets, and does beadwork.

Lester Revis
(Muscogee Creek)
Manager, Euchee Language Department of Creek Nation

Jacklyn Roessel (Navajo)
Jaclyn Roessel was born and raised on the Navajo Nation, between the communities of Kayenta, Round Rock and Lukachukai, Arizona. She holds a B.A. in Art History and a Master in Public Administration from Arizona State University. She was the inaugural recipient of the Arizona Humanities Rising Star Award in 2013, which is given to young professionals whose work elevates the importance of humanities in the community. She's been named one of Phoenix 100 Creatives You Should Know. She is the owner of the greeting card company Naaltsoos Project and co-founder of the blog, Presence 4.0. These projects focus on the power of identity and as well as share the visual resistance of Native style and language. She co-founded the project Schmooze: Lady Connected a platform dedicated to sharing women’s stories in the southwest through multi-media streams. Over the past decade as a museum professional at the Heard Museum, Roessel confirmed her belief in the power of utilizing cultural learning as a tool to engage and build stronger Native communities. She recently shifted her focus to pursuing her entrepreneurial role as the founder of the blog and online community, Grownup Navajo. From her new home base in New Mexico, she aims to expand her work to further inspire Native people to use their traditional knowledge as a catalyst to create change in our communities today.

Jacquetta Shade
Jaquetta Shade, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is a Ph.D. candidate in Rhetoric and Writing in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University. Her research interests include cultural rhetorics, decolonial theory, American Indian rhetorics, historiography, and land-based methodologies. Her dissertation research focuses on Cherokee foodways as rhetorical, land-based strategies of survivance.

Southeastern Indian Artists Association
The Southeastern Indian Artists Association (SEIAA), is a group of artists and art supporters whose mission is to promote and educate the general public about the arts and artists of tribal peoples. The SEIAA (formerly Cherokee Artists Association), while a network of primarily Southeastern tribal artists, is supportive of all Federally Recognized Native artists. SEIAA is dedicated to education and the sharing of knowledge through meetings, networking, exhibition opportunities, public workshops and presentations.

Arigon Starr
Arigon Starr is an enrolled member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma. She is the creator of Native American superhero “Super Indian,” which began as a radio theater project commissioned by the Native Radio Theater Project and Native Voices at the Autry in 2007. Arigon honed her art skills and transformed her “Super Indian” radio plays into comic art that debuted as a webcomic in 2011. The work has been compiled into two graphic novels, and Starr is working on Volume Three. She’s also the editor and a contributing writer/artist to Native Realities Press’ all-indigenous comic anthology, “Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers,” released in 2016. Additionally, Arigon is an award-winning singer, songwriter, musician, actor, and playwright. Wacky Productions Unlimited has released all four of her award-winning music CDs, plus the graphic novels. A recipient of a 2017 Tulsa Artist Fellowship, Arigon is now based in Tulsa, OK.

Russ Tallchief (Osage)
Russ Tall Chief (Osage) is the Director of Student Engagement, Inclusion, and Multicultural Programs at Oklahoma City University. As a writer and educator, Tall Chief served as the Art Galleries Editor for Native Peoples Magazine from 2000 – 2015 and taught various writing courses at Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma State University, Rose State College, and Oklahoma City Community College. He earned his Master's Degree in English from Bemidji State University in Minnesota and a Bachelor's Degree in Communication from the University of Central Oklahoma. His graduate work also includes specialized studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the University of Toronto’s Centre for the Study of Drama. Tall Chief is a Taildancer and former Drumkeeper for the Greyhorse District of the In’lonshka Osage ceremonial dances. He served as the Head Man Dancer for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York City and went on to work in both the Education and Public Affairs departments of the museum. Tall Chief is in his third draft of a book about his great-aunts, the renowned Osage ballerinas Maria and Marjorie Tall Chief.

Dr. Candessa Tehee (Cherokee)
Candessa Tehee is a full blood Cherokee who grew up in a close knit, traditional Cherokee community where Cherokee language and culture was a mainstay. This background is one that she continues to draw on to guide her life.

Candessa serves as Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies at Northeastern State University. At the University of Oklahoma, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Native American Studies and Communications in 2000, a Masters of Education in 2003, and a Ph.D. in linguistic anthropology in 2014.

Candessa’s dissertation focuses on the experiences of second language users in endangered language communities. Other areas of focus in her studies are the link between language and culture, the social power of language, and the politics of indigeneity. In addition to her academic and career pursuits, Candessa also continues to carry on Cherokee artistic traditions and has been finger weaving since 2000. In 2011, she received instruction from Cherokee National Treasure Dorothy Dreadfulwater Ice in table top loom weaving which allows her to carry on the legacy of her paternal grandfather, Rogers McLemore, Cherokee National Treasure for loom weaving. Candessa continues producing work which carries on the tribal and family tradition of weaving.

She makes her home with her three children in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Tim Tingle (Choctaw)
Tim Tingle is an Oklahoma Choctaw and an award-winning author and storyteller. His great-great grandfather, John Carnes, survived the Trail of Tears as a ten year-old, and his grandmother attended rigorous Indian boarding schools in the early 1900’s. In 1992, Tingle retraced the Trail of Tears to Mississippi and began recording stories of tribal elders.

His first children’s book, Crossing Bok Chitto, was an Editor’s Choice in the New York Times Book Review. Tingle was a featured author and speaker at the 2014 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C., based on the critical acclaim for How I Became a Ghost, which won the 2014 American Indian Library Association Youth Literature Award.

Tingle received his Masters Degree in English Literature at the University of Oklahoma in 2003, with a focus on American Indian studies. While teaching freshmen writing courses, he wrote his first book, Walking the Choctaw Road. It was selected by both Oklahoma and Alaska as Book of the Year on the “One Book, One State” program. As a visiting author, Tingle reaches audiences numbering over 200,000 annually, sharing historical and traditional Choctaw lore. His recent novel, House of Purple Cedar, won the 2016 American Indian Library Association Young Adult Book Award.

Elizabeth Toombs (Cherokee)
Elizabeth Toombs serves as the Cultural Arts Manager for Cherokee Nation Businesses and is well versed in Cherokee and southeastern art forms and semiotics.

Dr. Virginia Whitekiller
Dr. Virginia Drywater-Whitekiller (Cherokee), Ed.D., M.S.W., is a professor of social work at Northeastern State University (NSU) in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. She received her Bachelor of Social Work at NSU, her Master of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, and her doctorate in Higher Education Administration at OSU. Her academic administrative experience includes having chaired Northeastern State University’s social work and criminal justice departments, coordinating the Title IV-E program, directing the social work practicum program, and writing the self-study for the Council on Social Work Education re-affirmation. Along with extensive work in direct and macro social work practice with Native populations in health care, education, juvenile offenders, and child welfare, she has 20 years’ experience in teaching undergraduate and graduate level social work courses. She has served as an external program evaluator for various tribal social service projects and currently is the principal investigator for a university partnership with the National Child Welfare Workforce Initiative, one of twelve in the nation. The NSU program is designed to promote workforce diversity through the recruitment, entry and retention of Native Americans in child welfare and child welfare specialization curriculum development. She has published on topics pertaining to Native American cultural diversity, social work, and higher education retention. Her current research interests include furthering the development of cultural resilience theory regarding Native populations, tribal child welfare and gerontological workforce development, and Native Americans coping with microaggressions.

Sky Wildcat
Sky Wildcat is an undergraduate senior at NSU double majoring in psychology and geography. She is a member of the Native American Student Association, American Indian
Science and Engineering Society, Alpha Pi Omega, and a Riverhawks Initiating Service and Engagement Scholar. After graduation, she plans to attain a master’s degree in school counseling to serve schools with a high Native American population.

Mark D. Williams
Mark Williams is an award winning writer and director and founder of Native Boy Production and Digital Feather Media. Mark began his storytelling journey in 2006 with a short film using friends and family. That short film was titled The Dare and premiered at the Red Fork Film Festival in Tulsa. Since then he has been pursuing his dream making each project bigger and taking on new challenges. He has won numerous awards for his children’s comedy series The Adventures of Josie the Frybread Kid and a thriller he wrote and directed, Violet. Mark has also began documentary filmmaking with his two shorts, Beans and Shiloh which has won best documentary at several film festivals across the country. Mr. Williams is currently in pre-production on his feature film, Broken.

Dr. Dan Wimberly
Dan B. Wimberly holds a doctorate in history from Texas Tech University. He is semi-retired, having taught history for twenty years at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. One of his teaching interests was Native American history. A previous work, Frontier Religion: Elder Daniel Parker His Religious and Political Life, focused on frontier Baptist history. Before coming to Oklahoma Wesleyan, he taught social studies in Texas public schools.

Celia Xavier
Celia Xavier is the CEO and Head of Original Programming at Tribal TV, a lifestyle and entertainment online channel for young, indigenous, Strivers. Tribal TV is a dedicated channel on Nativeflix website, Amazon Prime and two new platforms announcing soon. She is also the owner of IndieIN films and Founder and Executive Director of Tribal Film Festival in Tahlequah, OK. Our mission is to raise the perception the world has of Indigenous people. Filmmakers are creative artists, but we're also activists, getting behind projects that are meaningful. Documentarians are the last, true, journalists in the world - shining a light on stories that need be told. We love making movies that evoke a response from the audience, causing a shift in perception from the viewer. Our audience begs to ask “Why didn't I know that? Why isn’t this in our history books?".

Celia comes from the Big Island of Hawaii and resides in Los Angeles & Tulsa. She is represented by Ross Stephens Artists and Entertainment.