Culture & Cuisine

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

Seeds of Glass: Native Beadwork as Surface Design

Joe Baker

June 22-24
Three-day session

Learn to execute the two-needle appliqué stitch to create beadwork that can be attached to any garment as surface design. Explore different approaches to using beadwork for self-expression as Joe details his own methods for thinking of beadwork like painting, based in composition and color. Enjoy the meditative, stillness of creating beadwork, inspired by Joe’s Delaware heritage, inspiration and knowledge. Explore historic examples of American Indian beadwork and discuss various techniques as illustrated by such examples.

This intensive three-day workshop requires long periods of concentration and focus. This workshop will focus on using beadwork as surface design, it is not a jewelry workshop. For a sample of Joe’s work and approach, visit

Skill level: All levels

Tuition: $495

Lab Fee: $35, includes brads, thread, wax, canvas, paper for patterns; you may be asked to purchase and bring additional materials.

Materials List: Download here.

Enrollment limited to 10 students

Joe Baker (Delaware Tribe of Indians), is an artist, educator, curator and executive director, Palos Verdes Art Center. He is co-founder/executive director of Lenape Center, ltd, NY, and has served as curator of fine art at the Heard Museum, in addition to various faculty appointments. Joe has received many awards, including the Virginia Piper Charitable Trust Fellows Award, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art’s Contemporary Catalyst Award, Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian Design Award, ASU Presidential Medal, and Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in Painting. He holds a BFA and MFA from the University of Tulsa and completed postgraduate study at Harvard University.

Native American Flute Making

Marvin & Jonette Yazzie, Ernest Siva

June 22–25
Intermediate: 4-day session (Thurs.-Sun.)
June 23–25
Beginners: 3-day session (Fri.-Sun.)

Construct and decorate your own six-hole flute under the guidance of an experienced Navajo flute maker. Learn the history of flutes as well as how to handle and care for your newly created instrument. During the course, ethnomusicologist Ernest Siva will teach the basics of flute playing and you will receive a music booklet.

Beginners: Learn to use Utah blue spruce or western red cedar for the flute body, then carve, shape, oil, tune and decorate your flute. Flutes will be tuned using the Pentatonic scale, and you will choose the key, from F to A.

Intermediate: If you previously have taken class from the Yazzies, you will make a flute from a bison horn. You will make a “grandfather” tuned flute. You should have time to ‘get away’ on campus to be still, listen, become one with nature and work on learning to play your new flute. You will be given the music for “Buffalo Prayer Song” and instruction on how to play it.

$495, Beginner, 3-day session
$595, Intermediate, 4-day session

Lab fee:
$40, Beginner
$60, Intermediate

Includes wood or bison horn, totems, materials and the use of tools and equipment; you may be asked to purchase and bring additional materials.

Materials List: Download here.

Enrollment limited to 10 students

Marvin and Jonette Yazzie are from Lukachukai, a small town on the Navajo reservation in the Four Corners region of Arizona. Jonette assists Marvin in flute-making, an art they learned from their relative Willard Coyote. Their flutes are carried in the Heard Museum shop and others around the country, as well as Asia and Europe. Recording artist Scott August of Cedar Mesa Music used Yazzie flutes on his CDs Sacred Dreams and New Fire. Marvin is listed in Flute Magic and Voices of the Flute. Yazzie flutes are used in the music programs of Tuscon and Klamath-Trinity school districts. Marvin and Jonette played flutes in the play Anasazi at the Ramona Bowl in 2011 and played preshow for the Ramona Pageant.

Ernest Siva, musician and teacher, is the cultural advisor and tribal historian for the Morongo Band of Mission Indians. Ernest taught public school music in Palm Springs and Los Angeles before teaching courses in American Indian music at UCLA for 12 years. He and his wife, June, are Idyllwild Arts alumni and former trustees. In 2004, Ushkana Press published his book, Voices of the Flute. He is president and founder of the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center.

Native American Cuisine: Blending Modern with Traditional

Freddie Bitsoie

June 24-25
Two-day session

Learn about the amazing journey of Native ingredients through time. You will gain new cooking skills as you create modern dishes using traditional ingredients from across the Americas, such as blue corn, cholla buds, salmon, and agave. As you create delectable dishes from these ingredients, you will explore their uses and adaptations through time, from pre-Iberian to colonization, through reservation/government commodities to today’s food sovereignty movement. As you learn new recipes, you will see how you can incorporate ancient techniques and how they are interpreted today. 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!

Skill level: All levels. Experienced cooks will learn new techniques

Tuition: $285

Lab Fee: $75, includes all ingredients, recipe booklet, 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: Download here.

Enrollment limited to 10 students

Freddie Bitsoie (Diné), executive chef, Smithsonian’s 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 Holy Cross, Yale University, and 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. Freddie studied cultural anthropology and art history at ASU before attending culinary school.

Creation of Northwest Coast Hand Drums

Mike Dangeli

June 26-30
One week session

Drums in Sm’algyax language, the language spoken by the Nisga’a, Tsimshian and Gitxsan, are Nooł and mother is Noo, because the first drum a human hears is a mother’s heartbeat. No wonder the drum is an important being in Northwest Coast ceremony, performance and art.

Learn drum construction using elk skin and sinew on a wood drum frame, as well as basic Northern West Coast First Nations design and painting techniques to embellish the drums created. Mike has made several thousand drums in his career, so you will see many techniques demonstrated in the creation of traditional northern hand drums. Returning students may choose to focus on paddlemaking, learning to carve, sand, paint and oil a 3’ to 6’ paddle using yellow cedar.

Skill Level: All levels

Tuition: $735

Lab Fee: $110, includes drum kit with elk skin, sinew, wood drum frame, paints, miscellaneous supplies, and use of tools and equipment in class. $85 if choosing to make a paddle. You may be asked to purchase and bring additional materials.

Materials List: Download here.

Enrollment limited to 10 students

Mike Dangeli (Nisga’a, Tlingit, Tsetsaut, Tsimshian) grew up in his people’s traditional territory in Southeast Alaska and Northern British Columbia. Mike is a renowned artist and carver. His work is collected and exhibited throughout North America and Europe. He is a singer, songwriter, and dancer. Mike and wife Mique’l lead the Git Hayetsk Dancers, an internationally renowned First Nations dance group based in Vancouver. He has carved more than 100 of the masks performed by their group.

California Native Plants: Contemporary & Traditional Medicinal Uses

Barbara Drake, Craig Torres, Daniel McCarthy, Abe Sanchez

July 1-2
Two-day session

Learn to preserve and use native plants from seasoned experts. Stroll through the campus meadow, next to ancient Cahuilla bedrock mortars, and learn about the plants surrounding you in an ethnobotany talk. 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. Learn to use native plants to treat ailments, such as skin conditions, fight colds and flus and utilize teas and drinks for preventive medicine. You will get to make your own elderberry tube to store teas, medicine or offerings, make your own skin salves, herbal tea bags and other items. 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 a parent

Tuition: $285

Lab Fee: $35, includes materials, food, & field trip.

Enrollment limited to 20 students

Craig Torres (Tongva) is a member of the Traditional Council of Pimu and involved with the Ti’at 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, educator and consultant who works with schools, cultural and nature centers, museums, and government agencies. He has helped create cooking demonstrations and classes using native California plants for Preserving Our Heritage and Chia Café.

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.

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. He is currently 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.