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.

Chef Freddie’s Kitchen

Dates: May 23 – June 13 (4 2-hour sessions each Saturday)

Join us for four Saturday mornings, starting May 23, at 9:30 am MDT for a 2-hour dive into culinary fun with the Executive Chef at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC., Chef Freddie Bitsoie (Diné)

Each Saturday, Chef Freddie will teach you an easy-to-make meal that will feed the body and soul. Most recipes call for items you may already have at home! When you register you will receive an ingredients list and recipe (PDF) to help you follow along during your workshop. 

These online workshops will be offered to enrolled students on ZOOM, where you will have the chance to interact with Freddie LIVE!

It gets better! After your class, you will receive a recipe booklet curated by Chef Freddie to keep in your kitchen!

Limited spots are available, so register quickly to reserve your spot.

Tuition: $50 per class or $160 for all four
Enrollment limited to 18 students
Faculty: Freddie Bitsoie

Meet you Faculty:

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. 


Instagram: @fjbits

Facebook: Chef Freddie J. Bitsoie


Class Schedule: 

First Saturday, 5/23/20 Appetizing Fusions! 

Second Saturday, 5/30/20 The Main Course 

Third Saturday, 6/6/20 Desserts – Did Someone Say Chocolate?

Fourth Saturday, 6/13/20 Comfort Foods


What You Will Need:  

  • Good internet connection 
  • Any electronic device that has access to the internet (phone, tablet, computer, iPod, etc.) 
  • Make sure your device is charged before class begins

Navajo Loom Beading

July 13-17, 2020
One-week Workshop

Throughout this course students will complete a beaded cuff from start to finish utilizing a beading loom. Artists will begin by designing their pieces and adapting their designs to a loom/grid format. Once students have a concept of what they will bead and what colors they want to utilize, each student will begin beading by the end of the first day. Each day students will learn of the intricacies of loom beadwork such as tension, threading, bead variations and difficulties as they may occur.

Students will need to devote time working away from lessons in order to complete projects within a 5-day timeframe. Any age is encouraged to sign up for this course, but it is important to note that beadwork requires a patient attitude and meticulous eye with the ability to follow verbal directions to problem solve.

Tuition: $575
Lab Fee: $65
Enrollment limited to 10 students
Faculty: Jennifer Ben

Meet you Faculty:
Jennifer Ben (Diné) is from Shiprock, NM and is a student at both Arizona State University and Mesa Community College studying Music- Cello. Jennifer has worked extensively as an artist in residence and demonstrator at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ, and has participated in the Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market as well as the Heard Museum’s Master Artist Workshop Series. Her work reflects her various passions such as music, food sovereignty, traditional farming methodologies, and Diné philosophy, as well as taking inspiration from master artists around the world. Jennifer has spent many summers of her youth studying music and other diverse artforms at Idyllwild Arts, the community of Idyllwild is very precious and close to her heart and she is enthusiastic to share her artistic expression and creativity.


Class Schedule: 

Monday: Discuss Navajo loom beadwork and the cultural philosophy behind designs and techniques.A variety of basic designs will be offered to use, however, students are encouraged to create their own designs as well that can be adapted to their projects using graph paper. 

Tuesday: To begin the day we will discuss color selections and each student will promptly begin beading. At least 2” of the bracelet will be completed by the end of the day.

Wednesday: Students continue to add inches to their projects on the loom 4” of the bracelet will be completed by the end of the day. 

Thursday: Students finish beading projects and remove beadwork from the loom in preparation to secure their work to a metal cuff and line with buckskin. 

Friday: The final day will be spent finishing projects with edgework and exploring different ways to use the loom to create different bead projects on their looms in the future.


What You Will Need:  (*included in kit)

  • Good internet connection 
  • Any electronic device that has access to the internet (phone, tablet, computer, iPod, etc.) 
  • Make sure your device is charged before class begins
  • Scissors
  • Beading pad (or white pillow case)
  • Work light
  • Design ideas
  • Pencil
  • Size 11 needles*
  • Size O NYMO thread*
  • Beading loom*
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Variety of 12 colors of size 11 Czeck glass beads*
  • Small beading graphing paper*
  • E-6000 (clear) adhesive*
  • Buckskin* 
  • Metal cuff*
  • Optional items:
    • Reading glasses
    • Size 11 Czech glass beads (www.dancing bear indian
    • Size 11 Charlottes Czech glass beads (www.dancing bear indian

Drawstring Bead and Quill Medicine Pouch

July 6 – 10, 2020
One-week Workshop

For thousands of years, indigenous peoples of North America have created special pouches made from natural local fibers to store their most prized possessions. In this online workshop, you will explore and practice using porcupine quills, hand-tanned deerskin, and glass beads to create your own special pouch. 

Not sure where to find porcupine quills? Don’t worry – you will receive all the materials necessary to execute your project.

Instructor Melanie Tallmadge Sainz will introduce you to both traditional and contemporary tools used in quill and bead art. You will learn a variety of quill and bead methods including basic running stitch, banding, and edging. The geometric and organic designs will be applied on to hand-tanned deerskin using glass seed beads. Melanie will teach you how to process and combine natural porcupine quills along with glass beads to create fringes as you complete your own unique, deeply personal drawstring pouch. 

Online guided sessions are scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday and Thursday will be online office hours, providing dedicated time to work directly with Melanie to troubleshoot and share creative ideas.

Tuition: $575
Lab Fee: $45 – Includes beading needles, thread, beeswax, 1 hank of size 11 seed beads in 4 colors, a quarter ounce of porcupine quills, PDFss for instructions on how to execute banding and zigzag method stitches, deer skin hide.

Enrollment limited to 12 students
Faculty: Melanie Tallmadge Sainz

Meet you Faculty:
Melanie Tallmadge Sainz is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin. As a cultural arts educator and artist her life is devoted to building bridges through the arts. Her art career is a blend of creating, exhibiting, and teaching art with her role as founding Director of Little Eagle Arts Foundation. She credits her uncle Chief Michael Winneshiek and mother Bernadine Tallmadge for her passion for porcupine quill art. Traditional and adapted techniques and materials have been discovered, collected, and integrated into her work.


Class Schedule: 

Monday – Introductions to the historical background behind traditional quill work and contemporary beadwork. Topics include: adaptation of glass beads, overview of reputable resources, introduction to Native American Arts and Crafts Act, ethics in art, overview of PDFss to start drawing out designs first. Intro to lazy stitch and banding and use of porcupine quills 10 am – 2 pm (15 minute breaks when needed).

Tuesday – Online Office Hours 11 am to 1 pm – Join Melanie for one on one time to cover and discuss content from Monday’s class, troubleshoot and share creative ideas.

Wednesday – Creation of the pouch, glass bead banding, practice with porcupine work and techniques, watching demos, troubleshooting.

Thursday – Online Office Hours 11 am to 1 pm – Join Melanie for one on one time to cover and discuss content from Monday’s class, troubleshoot and share creative ideas.

Friday – Completing your work, edging, and finishing up. Creating slits for fringe and attaching drawstrings to pouches. Finishing with decorative fringes.


What You Will Need:

  • Good internet connection 
  • Device to access the internet (phone, tablet, computer, iPad, etc.) 
  • Make sure your device is charged before class begins
  • One pair of scissors (suitable for cutting cloth)
  • One small cube (1″ X 1″ X 1″) of styrofoam
  • One pair of scissors
  • Ruler
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Well lit work space
  • Access to a printer to print out class PDFs

Workshop Intro


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

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

Join Here

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?

Join Here

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.