Explore a range of experiences in the indigenous arts, from food and plant preparation and use to beadwork, drummaking, flutemaking and more.

= Native American Arts

Central California Coast Shell Jewelry & Figurines

Leah Mata Fragua
June 22 – 26
Five-day session

Learn the art of creating true Californian jewelry and mixed media sculptural figurines from Northern Chumash artist Leah Mata Fragua. You will learn techniques around shell lapidary work, stone beads, and tule cordage assembly, and will learn the use of other natural materials used by indigenous people along the coast of California to create your choice of beautiful earrings, necklaces, bracelets or other small works of art. You will also learn safety factors that go into the creation of shell jewelry and about the current state of affairs regarding access to these sacred materials.  

This truly unique class offers an insight into the creative genius of central Californian coastal tribal communities who celebrate their unique style of art today. All too often California Indians are depicted as a single homogenized group if not vestiges of some unfortunate distant past. This workshop of jewelry and mixed media sculptural figurines aims to raise awareness of California Indians and pay tribute to matriarchs within these communities.

Skill Level: All levels, must be comfortable using power tools with guided instruction.
Tuition: $755
Lab Fee: $65 – This workshop’s $65 lab fee includes shell, cordage materials, stones, and tools and shared materials; you will be asked to bring additional materials.

Materials List: Coming Soon
Enrollment limited to 10 students

Leah Mata Fragua (yak tittʸu tittʸu Northern Chumash), artist and Adjunct Professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts, works to give greater voice and visibility to her tribal community by reclaiming its homelands and language. Leah’s education, which includes a BA in Anthropology and an MA in Cultural Sustainability, has afforded her access to various collections and archives, furthering understanding of the technical and material expertise of yak tityu tityu (The People) and resisting the hindered access for community members whose relatives’ works are held in academic collections. Leah has received numerous awards including Best of Show at the Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market and at the Autry Museum’s annual American Indian Art Marketplace. 

Website: www.leahmata.com/

Instagram: @leahmatafragua

Facebook: Saqwamu by Leah Mata

Native American Cuisine: Indigenous Culinary Fusions

Freddie Bitsoie
June 27 – 28
Two-day session

Join Chef Freddie Bitsoie, executive chef of the Mitsitam Cafe at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, to learn to prepare dishes using ingredients indigenous to the Americas, such as Navajo corn, acorn mill, cactus, seaweed and more. Fusing his classical culinary training with knowledge of Native American foods and ingredients, you will learn new recipes and see how you can incorporate ancient techniques in food preparation in your very own kitchen. You will also explore the uses and adaptations of ingredients from across the Americas throughout time. 

You will gain new skills as you create modern dishes using pre-Iberian and contemporary techniques, and will learn about the cultural and historical context of the ingredients and foods you prepare. Come eager and hungry for two days filled with hands-on cooking lessons and food tastings. This class is designed for all those who love great food with context!

Skill level: All levels. Experienced cooks will learn new techniques.
Tuition: $325
Lab fee: $75 – This workshop’s $75 lab fee includes all ingredients, recipe booklet of in class recipes, and use of cooking tools and equipment. Native American producers and cooperatives will supply many of the ingredients; you may be asked to purchase and bring additional materials.
Materials List: Coming Soon
Enrollment limited to 10 students

Freddie J. Bitsoie (Diné), is executive chef, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Mitsitam Café in Washington, DC. He also owns FJBits Concepts, which specializes in Native American foodways. He travels widely, presenting for organizations including Kraft Foods, College of the Holy Cross, Yale University, and the Heard Museum. Freddie hosts the public TV show Rezervations Not Required, and has appeared in and contributes to many publications. He won the Native Chef Competition at the NMAI in 2013. Freddie studied cultural anthropology and art history at Arizona State University before attending culinary school. 

Website: www.freddiebitsoie.com 

Instagram: @fjbits

Facebook: Chef Freddie J. Bitsoie

Tlingit Paddle Making

James Johnson
June 29 – July 3
Five-day session

Canoe aýáa “paddles” play a central role in many maritime Northwest Coast traditions. In Tlingit society, they articulate travel both physical and metaphorical – they are used for the practical purpose of rowing but also in ceremonial dance and symbolic acts and events such as entering another people’s territory. 

In this workshop, you will learn to carve, sand, paint and oil a paddle using yellow cedar. All paddles will be fully functional and will range from 3-6 feet in length depending on personal preference. Instructor James Johnson will include a session on the traditional use of tools in addition to carving instruction. Students will learn about both traditional and contemporary pigments used to adorn the paddles, employing Northwest Coast line drawing and painting techniques. 

Special culminating event! (July 4, 8 am – 12 pm, Lake Hemet, CA) You are invited to sign up for a special culminating event on Saturday, July 4, at Lake Hemet, where we will take paddles out for their first row with artist James Johnson. 

Idyllwild Arts will reserve canoes for students that select to participate, but participants are responsible for their own transportation and for the cost of canoe rental. Participants assume personal liability if attending.

Skill Level: All levels welcome, but ability to safely use a knife for carving is required.
Tuition: $755
Lab Fee: $85 – This workshop’s $85 lab fee includes wood, paints, brushes, shared drawing supplies and tools.

Materials List: Coming Soon
Enrollment limited to 10 students

James Johnson (Tlingit Ch’áak’ Dakl’aweidi Clan [Eagle Killerwhale]) was born and raised in Juneau, AK. He has won prestigious awards throughout the Pacific Northwest and most recently won both 1st and 2nd place in the Wood Sculpture Division at the 2019 SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market. Johnson also demonstrates and shares carving and Northwest Coast culture at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ where he resides with his family. James has now dedicated his life to perpetuating the Tlingit art form, honoring his ancestors through his work. 

Website: https://www.jamesjohnsonnativeart.com/

Instagram: @jamesjohnsonnativeart 

Facebook: James Johnson Native Art

California Native Plants: Contemporary & Traditional Medicinal Uses

Craig Torres, Daniel McCarthy, and Abe Sanchez; Guests Barbara Drake and Lorene Sisquoc
July 4 – 5
Two-day session

Discover the secret lives of plants and seeds you usually look right past, including  prickly pear cactus, white sage, elderberry, stinging nettle, pine sap and rose hips. Stroll through the campus meadow, next to ancient Cahuilla bedrock mortars, and learn about the plants surrounding you in an ethnobotany talk. 

In this workshop, you will learn to preserve and use native plants to treat ailments such as skin conditions, fight colds and flus, and utilize teas and drinks for preventive medicine. You will discover ways to save and utilize these plants, from helping the environment to cultural medicine, and learn both traditional and modern sustainable gathering practices, as well as how to prepare and cook these culturally valuable plants.  You will learn how to make an elderberry storage tube that can be used to store teas, medicine or offerings. On an evening field trip, you will visit Cahuilla rock art sites in Idyllwild to learn their meaning and the importance of their preservation. 

This workshop is dedicated to the instructors’ teacher, Katherine Siva Saubel, with deep gratitude.

Skill Level: All levels, teens may attend with an enrolled parent.
Tuition: $325
Lab fee: $40 – This workshop’s $40 lab fee includes materials, food, field trip; you may be asked to purchase and bring additional materials.
Materials List: Coming Soon
Enrollment limited to 20 students

Craig Torres (Tongva) is a member of the Traditional Council of Pimuu and involved with the Ti’aat Society, an organization focused on the revival of the traditional maritime culture of the Southern California coastal region and Southern Channel Islands. He is an artist, as well as a cultural educator, presenter and consultant to schools, culture and nature centers, museums, and city, state and government agencies acting as a consultant on the Tongva. He has also been involved with the organizations Preserving Our Heritage and Chia Café, which provide cooking demos and classes with California native plants. These activities also provide education on the importance of preserving native plants, habitats and landscapes for future generations.

Daniel McCarthy earned his BS and MS in anthropology from UC Riverside. For the past 40 years, he has worked at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Joshua Tree National Park and throughout Southern California compiling photographic inventories of rock art sites. He has worked with elders and traditional practitioners for more than 35 years and served as the Tribal Relations Program manager for the San Bernardino National Forest for 17 years, and most recently served as director, CRM Department, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

Abe Sanchez is active in the revival and preservation of indigenous arts and foods, with specialties in Southern California Native American basketry and California and Southwest native foods. He has worked with traditional Native American gatherers to learn methods and practices. Abe believes that by teaching people about ancient natural foods and preparations, he can help them make a difference in their health and the environment.

Guest Presenters

Barbara Drake (Tongva) is a tribal elder and culture keeper. Her program, Preserving Our Heritage, is a bank of native foods collected, preserved and processed for tribal elders. She is a member of the Mother Earth Clan, a group of Southern California Native American women educators who have taught extensively in museums, schools and tribal institutions. She is also a founding member of the Chia Café Collective.

Lorene Sisquoc (Mountain Cahuilla/Apache) was born in Riverside and serves as curator/culture traditions leader at Sherman Indian High School Museum, in Riverside, CA. She is an expert basket weaver and has extensive knowledge of native plants and their uses.  

Facebook: Lorene Sisquoc

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