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 21-23

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 beads, thread, wax, canvas, paper for patterns; you may be asked to purchase and bring additional materials.
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 and Jonette Yazzie, Ernest Siva
June 21-24, Intermediate, Thurs-Sun
June 22-24, Beginners, 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 drone flute using Western Red Cedar or Utah Spruce. 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. Flutes will be tuned in keys F to A using the Pentatonic scale.

Tuition: $495, Beginner, 3-day session
$595, Intermediate, 4-day session
Lab fee: $40, Beginner
$60, Intermediate
Includes wood, totems, materials and the use of tools and equipment; you may be
asked to purchase and bring additional materials.
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 Tucson 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, and is president and co-founder of the Dorothy Ramon Learning Center. 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.

Native American Cuisine: Cooking with Indigenous Techniques

Freddie Bitsoie
June 23–24

Learn about the amazing journey of Native ingredients and cooking methods through time. You will gain new skills as you create modern dishes using pre-Iberian and contemporary techniques with such well-known foods as tamales, pupusas, posole and more. As you learn new recipes, you will see how you can incorporate ancient techniques in food preparation, and you will also explore the uses and adaptations of ingredients from across the Americas through time. 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.
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 Arizona State University before attending culinary school.

Creation of Northwest Coast Hand Drums

Mike Dangeli
June 25-29

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.
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 Utilitarian Uses

Craig Torres, Barbara Drake, Daniel McCarthy, Abe Sanchez
June 30-July 1

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 reciprocity between humans and plants and how plants and items made from them sustained indigenous people for thousands of generations. Learn how to “Refocus Your Cultural Lens” and learn the “gifts” some of these plants offer such as yucca, tule/juncus, soaproot and several cordage plants, like dogbane, milkweed, stinging nettle and seagrass. Learn to use native plants to make cordage samples, brushes, open twined basketry and more. 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; you may be asked to purchase and bring additional materials.
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 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 organization 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.

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, 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.