MORNING KEYNOTE SPEAKERS
Lois Ellen Frank, PhD
Lois Ellen Frank, PhD is a Santa Fe, New Mexico based Chef, a Native foods historian, culinary anthropologist, educator, James Beard Award winning cookbook author, photographer and organic gardener. She is the chef/owner of Red Mesa Cuisine, LLC, a catering company specializing in the revitalization of ancestral Native American cuisine with a modern twist where she cooks with Native American chef Walter Whitewater. Their mission is to feed the body and nurture the soul. Dr. Frank has spent many years documenting and working with foods of Native American communities in the Southwest culminating in her James Beard Award winning cookbook, Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations.
Together as part of the U.S. State Department and Consulate General’s Culinary Diplomacy Program Chefs Frank and Whitewater traveled to Ukraine (2013), the United Kingdom (2105) and Russia (2016) to teach about the history of Native American foodways, work with food as a form of diplomacy to create dialogue and educate people on the Native American food contribution shared with the world and how these native foods have influenced many of the foods, we now eat every day. The two chefs traveled to Guam to work with the Humanities Guåhan in 2011 on the revitalization of traditional foods and foodways in Guam.
Dr. Frank works with the Physician’s Committee (PCRM) on a program entitled The Power to Heal Diabetes: Food for Life in Indian Country HYPERLINK "http://www.nativepowerplate.org" www.nativepowerplate.org that uses the Ancestral Native American diet for health and wellness in Native Communities.
She is a cooking instructor at the Santa Fe School of Cooking and an adjunct professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA).
In 2020, she was the recipient of the Local Hero Olla Award, which recognizes an exceptional individual for the work they do to create healthy, innovative, vibrant, and resilient local sustainable food systems in New Mexico.
For convenience, the American Indian Institute at the University of Oklahoma is providing a link to the speaker’s website, provision of the link does not constitute an endorsement of any company, services, or products.
To learn more about Red Mesa Cuisine, visit www.redmesacuisine.com
Walter Whitewater grew up in Pinon, Arizona on the Navajo Nation. He began cooking professionally in 1992 in Santa Fe, New Mexico and worked in many restaurants preparing different cuisines. He is presently a chef at Red Mesa Cuisine, LLC a Native American Catering company in Santa Fe, specializing in using ancestral Native American ingredients with a modern twist where he cooks with chef Lois Ellen Frank, Ph.D. Chef Whitewater worked on the James Beard Award winning cookbook, Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations.
Chef Whitewater has appeared on numerous foods TV Network cooking shows featuring foods of the Southwest and a video (November 2018) on Native American Cuisine from a series entitled “In Real Life” by AJ+ https://redmesacuisine.com/videos-1
Together as part of the U.S. State Department and Consulate General’s Culinary Diplomacy Program Chefs Frank and Whitewater traveled to Ukraine (2013), the United Kingdom (2105) and Russia (2016) to teach about the history of Native American foodways, work with food as a form of diplomacy to create dialogue, and educate people on the Native American food contribution shared with the world and how these native foods have influenced many of the foods we now eat every day. The two chefs traveled to Guam to work with the Humanities Guåhan in 2011 on the revitalization of traditional foods with the Chamorros.
Chef Whitewater was the first Native American chef to cook at the James Beard House in New York City. He won the James Lewis Award in 2008 from BCA Global for his work as a Native chef revitalizing Indigenous Cuisine.
Chef Whitewater works with the Physician’s Committee (PCRM) on a program entitled The Power to Heal Diabetes: Food For Life in Indian Country www.nativepowerplate.org that uses the Ancestral Native American diet for health and wellness in Native Communities.
He is very active on using Ancestral and contemporary Native American foods for health and wellness in Native American communities.
EVENING KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Dr. Cornel Pewewardy (Comanche-Kiowa)
Comanche Nation Vice Chairman
Co-Producer/Scholar and Indigenous Consultant
Dr. Cornel Pewewardy (Comanche-Kiowa) is Professor Emeritus, Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University. Dr. Pewewardy’s research explores the theoretical and philosophical foundations of postcolonial Indigenous research paradigms that focused on historical and political insight into the lingering impact of colonization, considering the issues faced by Indigenous peoples today and identities to survive in the twenty-first century.
Across his work, Professor Pewewardy seeks to advance policy and practice that address persistent racial and socioeconomic inequities within Indigenous education and reflect the voices and expertise of historically underserved families and communities. From his early work as an educational administrator to more recent work on creating Indigenous charter schools, he focuses on strategies to enhance higher education institution’s connectivity and partnerships with Indigenous nations to advance the education of Indigenous students and explore university-tribal engagement. In addition, he and colleagues have been working closely with teachers and school leaders to construct a progressive model specific to the continuum of consciousness educators experience as they develop their understanding and employment of decolonizing theories and pedagogies.
Growing up in southwest Oklahoma surrounded by traditional music of the Comanche and Kiowa, the smell of burning wood and cedar inside a peyote tipi, and the aroma of kiln firings of a sweat lodge, it cemented an early foundation of Indigenous music especially singing round dance and gourd dance songs and playing the Native flute, that would be invaluable later in life when Dr. Cornel Pewewardy decided that traditional music would be a part of his pedagogical classroom teaching.
As a dedicated singer of 40 years on the Southern Plains powwow drum, composer of traditional Comanche warrior songs and flute player, Dr. Pewewardy’s career is shaped by learning from Elder tribal singers. Inspired by American Indian Movement leaders like Clyde Warrior, John Trudell and Floyd Westerman, Cornel focuses his singing on traditional warrior songs.
Cornel’s current artist portfolio goes deeper into traditional Indigenous music, entertainment, performing arts, speaking voice over work, commercial work, film, and publishing.
Emma Allen is a doctoral candidate in the Adult and Higher Education program at the University of Oklahoma. She is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and is also of Kiowa and Caddo descent. Emma’s research focuses on Native American doctoral students’ experiences with microaggressions and how these microaggressions relate to settler colonialism. In her free time, Emma enjoys hanging out with her dog, Sunshine.
Belinda P. Biscoe, Ph.D. serves as the Senior Associate Vice President for Outreach/College of Continuing Education at the University of Oklahoma (OU) with sixteen departments and over 650 professionals under her umbrella. Additionally, she bears responsibility for the Southwest Center for Human Relations Studies at the University of Oklahoma, which annually plans and administers the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE). In 2016, as a member of the University of Oklahoma Diversity Council at the time, Dr. Biscoe led a two-year campus-wide Theory of Change Strategic Planning Process resulting in four robust, transformational diversity and inclusion plans representing 1) undergraduate students, 2) graduate students, 3) faculty, and 4) staff and administrators. All plans were data driven and included short-term, intermediate, and long-term outcomes. Plans also included actions aimed at addressing systemic issues focused on changes in policies and practices.
In 2017, she served on a panel at the United Nations during the week of the Commission on the Status of Women. Also in 2017, she served as the keynote speaker for the Martin Luther King (MLK) holiday for Oklahoma City and in 2016; she served as the keynote speaker for the MLK holiday for Temple B’nai Israel in Oklahoma City. In August 2019, Dr. Biscoe hosted a conference at the United Nations in New York City focused on the dire issues facing the Lake Chad Basin Region in Africa. This conference is being aired around the world through 2022 on the U.N.’s website. Her areas of expertise include research and evaluation, organizational development, systems change, diversity in the workplace and school setting, school improvement and reform, early literacy, community and youth development, mental health, and substance abuse prevention and treatment.
Prior to her time at OU, Dr. Biscoe worked for over eight years in the Oklahoma City Public School District (OKCPS) as a senior research associate and Director for Federal and State Programs. As the largest, district in Oklahoma, OKCPS served over 40,000 students during her tenure. As a researcher, practitioner, and competitive grant writer, Dr. Biscoe has been able to blend scientific rigor successfully to technical assistance work resulting in numerous awards. Her grant writing skills have resulted in over $200,000,000 in funding to the State of Oklahoma.
Dr. Biscoe is co-founder of Eagle Ridge Institute, a non-profit, community-based drug and alcohol and treatment prevention agency and founder (1989) of Positive Tomorrows, an elementary school for homeless children and their families. Her publications are as diverse as her experiences and in 2021, Routledge is publishing her work (model) on High-Impact Technical Assistance and capacity building.
In 2015, for her significant contributions in education and the community, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame for Higher Education. A few comments shared about Dr. Biscoe’s nomination and induction included the following:
“Her strengths in working with large systems through partnerships and helping them to reform and build capacity are demonstrated in her work in education and the community and have been the hallmark of her career.”
“One of her key strengths is her ability to take in voluminous amounts of information and synthesize and develop new approaches and models; in this she brings applied academic knowledge and research to bear on problems and concerns of the real world.”
In 2018, Dr. Biscoe was inducted into the International Hall of Fame for Adult and Continuing Higher Education in New Orleans, Louisiana. In April of 2019, the Women and Genders Study Department at OU awarded her with the Jill Irvine Leadership Award for Social Justice.
Stephanie Cross is a member of the Comanche Nation. She graduated from Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, Texas in 2010 where she received BAs in both Psychology and Art. She received an MA in Native American Studies and an MS from the University of Oklahoma (OU), Norman, Oklahoma. She is currently a PhD candidate in Psychology at OU. Her research interests include stereotypes and prejudice, attitudes towards Native Americans, and the objectification of Native American women.
Virginia Hedrick is the Executive Director for the Consortium for Urban Indian Health. She is enrolled member of the Yurok Tribe of California and is also of Karuk descent. Her prior work includes chronic disease prevention, implementation and policy impacts of the Affordable Care Act for California tribes, as well health research. In addition she serves on the Board of Directors for The California Wellness Foundation as well as the California Pan Ethnic Health Network. Virginia holds bachelor of arts degrees in Sociology and American Indian Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, a Graduate Certificate in Maternal Child Health Epidemiology from the University of Arizona and a Master of Public Health Degree from Drexel University.
Darryl Tonemah (Kiowa/Comanche/Tuscarora) has a Ph.D., in Counseling Psychology and Cultural Studies, a Masters Degree in Community Counseling and three Bachelors of Science Degrees. He has sat on numerous state and national boards addressing disparities in education and health care among the Native community including: The Oklahoma Cancer Network, The Cherokee Cancer Coalition, Establishing the Oklahoma Intertribal Diabetes Coalition, Establishing the Oklahoma Intertribal Cancer Coalition, The United National Intertribal Youth Diabetes Initiative, he has served on the ADA Board of Directors, as well as Research Policy Committee, and the Native American Initiatives Committee. He has done extensive work training hospitals, clinics, Universities, corporations and schools in the U.S. and Canada on Trauma and its relationship to behavior and health. He is the owner of the Tonemah Consulting Group, an organization dedicated to increasing wellness in Native communities. He also owns First Nations Telehealth Solutions, a company dedicated to increasing access to psychological and psychiatric care to Native communities via telemedicine, and is the Owner of Full Circle EAP, a business dedicated providing care to educators and providers in Native Communities. He has also recorded 10 award winning cds, published researched, published a book entitled “Spray Your Swamp Cooler”, he has appeared in numerous films and stage productions. He lives in western New York with his wife and three children.