We are a native-led non-profit
Based in San Francisco, California, Turtle Island,
we work in the Americas and the Pacific,
collaborating with communities, organizations and individuals
of all kinds, native and non-native.
Melissa K. Nelson is a Native ecologist, writer, media-maker and indigenous scholar-activist. She is the president/CEO of The Cultural Conservancy, a Native-led indigenous rights organization she had directed since 1993. She is also associate professor of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University where she teaches courses in Native Science. Her work is dedicated to indigenous rights and revitalization, biocultural heritage protection and environmental justice, intercultural solidarity, and the renewal and celebration of community health and cultural arts. For nearly two decades Melissa has been involved in the Native American food movement in North America and since 2006 in the indigenous food sovereignty movement internationally. Melissa is a Switzer Environmental Fellow and has received awards for documentary films, community engagement, and experiential education. She publishes essays in academic and popular journals and books and documents Native issues through audio and video recordings. Her first edited anthology Original Instructions – Indigenous Teachings For A Sustainable Future (2008), focuses on the persistence of Traditional Ecological Knowledge by contemporary Native communities. Her next edited anthology, Keepers of the Green World: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Sustainability will be out in 2017. She has served on numerous boards of directors, including Earth Island Institute, Bioneers, and the Center for Whole Communities. Melissa is Anishinaabe, Cree, Métis, and Norwegian (a proud member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians).
Nícola Wagenberg is a clinical and cultural psychologist, artist, film producer and educator. Nícola has worked for over 20 years with diverse individuals, communities and organizations on personal and cultural transformation. Since 2005, Nícola has been working with TCC directing media projects, developing and implementing arts and cultural health programs and helping with the operations and development of the organization. She is the co-producer of “Traditional Foodways of Native America,” “The Salt Song Trail Living Documentary,” co-directed TCC’s Friendship House Urban Garden Project and is the director of the Native Youth Guardians of the Waters project. Dr. Wagenberg has a private practice in Berkeley, CA. Her doctoral research focused on transformation of historical and intergenerational trauma. She trains therapists and health workers on the impact and transformation of historical and intergenerational trauma.
Kaylena Bray is the Foodways Program and social media consultant for TCC. Over the last 5 years, she has consulted for Indigenous-led and social entrepreneurship organizations including Ashoka, Conversations with the Earth (CWE), Indigenous Peoples Biocultural Climate Change Assessment, and the California Indian Environmental Alliance. Kaylena has spent her career working to strengthen the role of traditional ecological knowledge on climate change mitigation and agricultural food systems locally in Ecuador, Peru and the Seneca Nation; and internationally with Indigenous leaders and activists at major international events at United Nations fora. Her experience in social media includes marketing and strategy development to bring Ashoka’s Changemakers and CWE increased visibility, audience, and support.
Mateo Hinojosa is a documentary filmmaker and educator. He has put art on screen and on stage in the US, Bolivia, Argentina, Spain and Cameroon. In South America he worked teaching at orphanages and in the mountains, leading theater workshops in prisons, and filming everything from neurosurgeries to street art. He has taught high school literature in California, and cross-cultural documentary skills to U.S. college students in Asia. His films explore issues of individual identity in collective struggle; spirituality and health; public space and art; politics and performance. His forthcoming feature documentary, Spectacular Movements, follows young indigenous and mestizo actors in Bolivia as they struggle to embody their people's collective voice to revive the spirit of the recent revolution on stage and in the street. Mateo is the media director and teacher for TCC’s Native Youth Guardians of the Waters Project.
Julianne (Juli) A. Hazlewood is the Coordinator for TCC’s global, Indigenous-led organizational network called the Te Ha Alliance for Native Knowledge. As a scholar-activist, since 1997, she has been learning from and walking with the Chachi, Awá, and Afro-Ecuadorian communities of Ecuador’s Pacific Northwestern rainforests. Juli has a BA in Community Studies, a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies, another MA in Native American Studies, and a Ph.D. in Geography. Along with various other writing projects, she is Co-editor of a collective volume called Geographies of Hope. “Geographies of hope” are peace-with-justice processes that are rooted in respecting pluricultural, self-determinative territories and life practices, as well as establishing multi-scaled networks that push the boundaries of knowledge and defend the rights of ancestral communities to live in peace and with dignity. Juli is currently an Associate Researcher at La Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Quito, Ecuador and the Co-Instructor and Community Engagement Facilitator with Dr. Stefano Varese’s UC Davis Summer Abroad program in Ecuador.
Board of Directors
Kaimana Barcarse, whose passion is using the wa'a (canoe) as a platform to strengthen Hawaiian language and cultural skills, is the Coordinator of Hawaiian Language and Culture for the ʻĀina (Place) Based Education Department of the Kamehameha Schools. He is a deep-sea voyager and captain, and has instructed at the High School, University, and community levels in the disciplines of Voyaging & Navigation and Ethno-zoology. He is also the Program Director of Alana I Kai Hikina, a Hawaiian Language Radio Show at KWXX-FM, an indigenous focused photographer, and the current co-chair of The Cultural Conservancy's Board of Directors.
Jose Malvido, MA San Francisco State University (Ethnic Studies). Jose formerly served as the Native American Programs Manager for the Seva Foundation and Program Coordinator for the American Indian Child Resource Center. In November 2000, Mr. Malvido began his tenure as the North American coordinator of the Peace and Dignity Journeys, which covers the territories, form Alaska to Panama, an intercontinental spiritual movement that works to unite Indigenous Peoples throughout North, Central, and South America. Jose currently serves as vice-president to the board of the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples. Jose brings extensive experience supporting the work of indigenous peoples internationally from a philanthropic as well as an active member in grassroots organizing.
L. Frank Manriquez is a Native California Indian artist, tribal scholar, cartoonist, language advocate, singer, and self-described “decolonizationist.” L. Frank has exhibited her artwork (paintings, sculpture, weavings, photography, cartoons, regalia) in museums and galleries locally, nationally, and internationally. L. Frank is the co-founder of Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival. She works to revitalize indigenous languages as a language trainer utilizing Total Physical Response (TPR) and motivational and experiential methods. L. Frank is also on the board of directors of Neshkanukat, and for fifteen years served on the board of directors of the California Indian Basketweavers Association. She is a strong advocate and practitioner of sustainable living and builds straw bale and waddle and cob buildings. L. Frank is the author of two books, Acorn Soup, a collection of cartoons, and First Families: A Photographic History of California Indians, both published by Heyday Books. She is a regular contributor to News From Native California. Click for more information.
Kimla McDonald is trained both as a landscape architect (University of California, Berkeley) and as a midwife, and is currently working in the health care field. She has worked as a producer of documentary films with the Earth Island Institute's Sacred Land Film Project. She has decades of experience protecting sacred sites and working with Native nations in the desert Southwest and serves as a special advisor to our indigenous health projects. Kimla is an original founding board member of the Sacred Land Foundation, the parent organization to the Cultural Conservancy. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C.
Priscilla Settee is a member of the Cumberland House Cree First Nations from northern Saskatchewan, Canada, is a Professor of Native Studies at University of Saskatchewan and a leading indigenous rights advocate locally and internationally. Her many roles include: chair of Saskatoon's only Aboriginal high school, member of the Iskwewak group that focuses on disappeared and missing Indigenous women, board member for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (Canada's leading progressive think tank), Faculty Fellow at the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research at the University of Alberta, Research Fellow at the Adivasi Academy in Gujarat, India, former board member for the Indigenous Women’s Network, and leader of a project with Andean and Amazonian students at the University of San Marcos in Peru. A frequent speaker on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, Indigenous Women's Rights and Environmental Rights, Settee’s most recent book is Akemeyimow, Indigenous Women's Stories.
Lois Ellen Frank (Kiowa), chef, photographer, author
Dennis Martinez (O’Odham/Chicano), Indigenous Peoples Restoration Network
Jacquelyn Ross (Pomo/Coast Miwok), traditional food gatherer, writer, artist
Kathy Wallace (Yurok/Karuk/Hupa), Basket weaver, educator, museum specialist
Diana Almendariz (Maidu/Wintun), native plant specialist, basketmaker, "the Tule Lady"
Edward Willie (Pomo/Wailaki), California native historian, ethnobotanist, artist
Wikuki Kingi (Maori/Hawaiian), traditional artist, master carver, cultural symbologist
Tania Wolfgramm (Maori/Tongan), cultural psychologist, evaluation specialist, language educator
Marsha Small (Northern Cheyenne), sacred site protector, buffalo restoration advocate, native educator
Malcolm Margolin, Publisher, Heyday Books/News from Native California
Photo credit on this page: Mateo Hinojosa, Melissa K. Nelson