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Mother Earth’s Pandemic Speaker Bios

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Tupac Enrique Acosta

Tupac Enrique Acosta, (Izkaloteka Mexica Azteca), TONATIERRA, One of the original conveners of the gathering of Tlahtokan Aztlan in 1984 in the O’otham Jeved Territories [Arizona] that sent a message to Pope John Paul II calling for the Vatican State to re-examine the fallacious principles of the Papal Bulls of Alexander VI purporting to grant “Domain” over the territories and Nations of Indigenous Peoples. This letter received a response via the Vatican Secretary of State in May 1984 from the office of the Bishop of Phoenix, which was incoherent, illogical, and paternalistic. Subsequent to 1984, TONATIERRA has been consistently advancing the DISMANTLING of the Doctrine of Discovery in a series of coordinated community campaigns led by Indigenous Peoples from the local-regional, continental-global contexts of geo-political reference, operating as Secretariat of the Continental Commission Abya Yala.

Philip P. Arnold

Dr. Philip P. Arnold, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. Associate Professor and Chair of Religion Department at Syracuse University as well as core faculty in Native American and Indigenous Studies.  He is the Founding Director of the Skä•noñh—the Great Law of Peace Center (  His books are Eating Landscape: Aztec and European Occupation of Tlalocan (1999); Sacred Landscapes and Cultural Politics: Planting a Tree (2001); The Gift of Sports: Indigenous Ceremonial Dimensions of the Games We Love (2012) and Urgency of Indigenous Values and the Future of Religion (University of New Mexico Press, forthcoming).  He is a founding member of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON), ( and established the Doctrine of Discovery Study Group ( He is President of the Indigenous Values Initiative (, a non-profit organization to support the educational work of the Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center.

Sandy Bigtree

Sandy Bigtree, (Mohawk Nation), Founding Board Member of the Indigenous Values Initiative. With Philip Arnold, organized the: “Roots of Peacemaking” educational festivals at Onondaga Lake (2006-2007); the “Doctrine of Discovery Conference” in 2014; Co-edited the Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation (NOON) educational booklet. She was an original Planning Committee member of Skä•noñh—the Great Law of Peace Center and currently sits on the Educational Collaborative committee. 1984-85, she was the Administrative Assistant to the American Indian Law Support Center at NARF in Boulder, CO, where she learned the stark difference between Indigenous Nationhood, “Federal Indian Law.” In 1980-82 performed with Native Americans in the Arts theatre troupe (an affiliate of the American Indian Community House) at LaMama, NYC, and toured the NE. From age 1-30, Sandy performed weekly on radio, TV with her sisters, and fronted her own band through the 1970s.

Jake Edwards

Jake Edwards (Onondaga Eel Clan) lives on the Onondaga Nation.  He maintains the continuity of our longhouse oral teachings. He was appointed by the Grand Council of Chiefs (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) to the Haudenosaunee External Relations Committee to respectfully work on political and governmental structures beyond the borders of Haudenosaunee Country.  Jake is a board member of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples and a board member of the Indigenous Values Initiative, he is instrumental in preserving cultures and traditions of indigenous peoples. Jake was one of the primary voices leading the 400th anniversary (1613 – 2013) of the Two Row Wampum Campaign, paddling the waterways from the Onondaga Nation to the United Nations in NYC. He actively reminds people of the significance of our treaties and reflects upon decisions that will protect the people into the seventh generation. Jake explains how wampum laid the foundational principles and structure of the United States Constitution.

Abel Gomez

Abel R. Gómez (he/him/his) descends from Nicaraguan, Salvadorian, and Mexican lineages that migrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, the homeland of the Ohlone peoples. He is a Ph.D. candidate in the Religion Department and earned a Certificate of Advanced Studies from the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at Syracuse University. Abel’s research and teaching focus on sacred sites, ritual, and decolonization in the context of contemporary Indigenous religions. Abel is currently completing his dissertation, an ethnography of sacred sites protection movements among Ohlone peoples of the San Francisco and Monterey regions. Abel is a steering committee member for the Native Traditions in the Americas Unit of the American Academy of Religion and recently served on the committee organizing the annual Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits Powwow in San Francisco. His public scholarship has been published on A Beautiful Resistance, Medium, and the ReligionForBreakfast YouTube Channel.

Joe Heath

Joe Heath has a long background and extensive experience in civil rights litigation as one of the four lawyers representing a class action against New York State for the 1971 Attica prison assault and brutality, resulting in a $12 million settlement in 2000.  In his 45 years of practice, Joe has also worked in criminal defense; constitutional law and protection of free speech and assembly; protection of abused and neglected children; and fighting domestic AND POLICE violence; and he also an active member of Veterans for Peace.

He has served as General Counsel for the Onondaga Nation since 1982, and his work centers on environmental protection, particularly under the Clean Water Act, focusing on Onondaga Lake and Onondaga Creek.

Because the Nation is deeply concerned with climate change, the Nation asked Joe to research the issues of fracking and shared his knowledge of the many different environmental dangers created by fracking with community groups for six (6) years.

His work for the Nation also focuses on archeological site and unmarked burial site protection; NAGPRA repatriation and litigation; hunting and fishing rights; treaty rights; and excise tax issues.  Additionally, the work for the Nation has included assisting in protecting Nation children, and working with the Indian Child Welfare Act.  One such ICWA case went as far as the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

He also took spend two weeks at Standing Rock in the fall of 2016, where he assisted in the legal tent, and later with the joint defense of 100s of criminal cases arising from the over-reaction of law enforcement to peaceful water protectors and in a joint effort to defeat a federal grand jury which was targeting water protectors.

His third law review article is an important work exposing the doctrine and is available at: Albany Government Law Review. Joe is also a decades long member of Veterans for Peace..


Tadodaho Sidney (Sid) Hill

Tadodaho Sidney (Sid) Hill, Onondaga Nation, Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Born to Eel Clanmother Phoebe Hill, Sid was raised in the traditional ways of the longhouse. After graduating Lafayette High School, Sid attended Syracuse University for two years. Sid then pursued a career in construction and was member of the Iron Workers union. Always an advocate for human rights and the environment, as a young man Sid traveled in 1973 with a delegation from the Onondaga Nation in support of the Oglala Lakota people on Pine Ridge in protest of corruption involving then Tribal President Richard Wilson and the failure of the United States Government to fulfill treaties. A lifelong lacrosse player, Sid is one of the founding members of the Iroquois National Team, Sid was chosen as the team captain for the Australia games in 1984. In 1996 Sid was chosen to “warm the seat” of the title of Tadodaho and was condoled in 2002. This title is unique as this lifetime position is the only title chosen by the other 49 chiefs of the Haudenosaunee confederacy. Today Sid focuses his attention on the many issues facing the nation and the environment. Sid is working daily on such issues as, International Indigenous issues, the Doctrine of Discovery, hydro fracking and commerce to name a few, together with all of the daily issues facing the Haudenosaunee. One of his most important responsibilities is ensuring we continue our traditional teachings. Sid takes part in the discussions at United Nations concerning the rights of Indigenous Peoples around the world. He has had the honor of opening the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues for over ten years. He takes this responsibility extremely serious and has a deep understanding of how all decisions and actions impact the Haudenosaunee.

Beverley Jacobs

Beverley Jacobs, CM, LLB, LLM, PhD is a member of the Bear Clan, Mohawk Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. She is Associate Dean (Academic) at the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor and she practices law part-time at her home community of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Beverley has obtained a Bachelor of Law Degree from the University of Windsor in 1994, a Master of Law Degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2000 and a PhD from the University of Calgary in 2018. Beverley is also a consultant/researcher/writer/public speaker. Her work centres around ending gendered colonial violence against Indigenous people and restoring Indigenous laws, beliefs, values, and traditions.

Dana Lloyd

Dana Lloyd is a postdoctoral research associate at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. She holds a PhD in Religion from Syracuse University, and a law degree and an LLM from Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Law. She is currently working on a book manuscript, entitled Arguing for this Land: Rethinking Indigenous Sacred Sites (under contract with University of Kansas Press).

Makayla Loeb

Makayla Loeb received her B.A. in Political Philosophy and History from Hunter College, where she was the President of Phi Sigma Tau and a member of the Dean’s List. She was accepted to the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University on a merit scholarship. She is in her second year of law school where she is pursuing her J.D. and an advanced certificate in environmental law. Her focus is in international environmental law, which brought her to work with the Global Center of Environmental Legal Studies and the International Council of Environmental Law. She is currently a summer research associate for the International Council of Environmental Law, where she is writing a memo in support of a proposed motion to renounce the so-called Doctrine of Discovery. Her memo will be the backdrop for the discussions and negotiations at the 2020 World Conservation Congress, where the motion will be voted on by the members of the International Union on the Conservation of Nature.

Gaeñ hia uh/Betty Lyons

Gaen hia uh (Small Sky), (Colonized Name: Betty Lyons), (Snipe Clan, Onondaga Nation), President & Executive Director of the  American Indian Law Alliance (AILA). She is an Indigenous and environmental activist and citizen of the Onondaga Nation. Growing up Ms. Lyons learned a deep respect for the earth and the responsibility to protect it. Ms. Lyons worked together with the NOON organization (Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation) to educate and teach local communities about the culture of the Onondaga Nation to further a better understanding and to bridge the gap between the communities. Ms. Lyons has participated and organized rallies and demonstrations pushing for a ban on fracking in New York State, until a ban was achieved in December 2014. Betty Lyons has worked for the Onondaga Nation for over nineteen years as a Public Relations Representative, Manager of the Onondaga Nation Arena, and as Executive Assistant to Tadodaho Sidney Hill. She has been an active participant at the annual United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) since the first session in 2001 and has coordinated the opening ceremonies. For over 10 years, Ms. Lyons was the President of Onondaga Minor Athletic Club where she organized and managed over 15 youth sports team programs. Betty Lyons graduated from Cazenovia College ALA (2013), Bryant Stratton College Graduate of Paralegal Program. Betty is sits on the Haudenosaunee External Relations Committee. She is also the hardworking mother of Garrett and Sid Jr.

Oren Lyons

Oren Lyons ’58, H’93 Headlines August Conversations About the Doctrine of Discovery.

Angela Mooney D’Arcy

Angela Mooney D’Arcy, Acjachemen Nation, Juaneno Band of Mission Indians. Angela was born in her ancestral homelands whose traditional territories include the area now known as Orange County and raised in the ancestral homelands of the Osage, Kaw and Wichita Peoples. She has been working with Native Nations, Indigenous Peoples, grassroots and nonprofit organizations, artists, educators and institutions on environmental and cultural justice issues for nearly twenty years. She is the Executive Director and Founder of Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples, an Indigenous-led, grassroots environmental justice organization dedicated to building the capacity of Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples to protect sacred lands, waters, and cultures. She co-founded the United Coalition to Protect Panhe, an alliance of Acjachemen people dedicated to the protection of the sacred site Panhe and served on the Board of the Blas Aguilar Adobe Museum & Acjachemen Cultural Center for nearly a decade. She received her B.A. from Brown University and her J.D. with a concentration in Critical Race Studies and focus on federal Indian law from University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. She currently lives and works in unceded Tongva homelands now known as Los Angeles, California and teaches Indigenous Environmental Law, Indigenous Land Use Planning and Indigenous Environmental Justice courses at Pitzer College.

Tina Nagata

Tina Ngata (Ngāti Porou) is a mother of two from the East Coast of Te Ika a Maui, Aotearoa New Zealand. She is the author of Kia Mau: Resisting Colonial Fictions, which analyses the application of the Doctrine of Discovery by James Cook, and critiques the New Zealand government Cook anniversary celebrations. Her work involves advocacy for environmental, Indigenous and human rights. This includes local, national and international initiatives that highlight the role of settler colonialism in issues such as climate change and waste pollution, and promote Indigenous conservation as best practice for a globally sustainable future.

Sarah Nahar

Sarah Nahar neé Thompson (she/her) is from Elkhart, Indiana (Potowatomi Traditional land) and a first year PhD student in the Religion department at Syracuse University. Her research focus is “How do beliefs about the Earth and the End Times influence toileting practices of religious people?” She is matriculating concurrently at neighboring SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) Department of Environmental Studies. She is also a nonviolent action trainer and interspiritual theologian. Previously, Sarah was a 2019 Rotary Peace Fellow and worked at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a member of the Carnival de Resistance and has been the Executive Director of Christian Peacemaker Teams. She attended Spelman College, majoring in Comparative Women’s Studies and International Studies, minoring in Spanish. She has an MDiv from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in her hometown. Her hobbies include capoeira and home improvement projects.

Steven T. Newcomb

Steven Newcomb (Shawnee/Lenape) co-founded the Indigenous Law Institute in 1992 with Birgil Kill Straight (1940-2019), who was a traditional headman and ceremonial leader of the Oglala Lakota Nation. Newcomb is recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the Doctrine of Discovery as made evident by his law review articles and his book Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery (Fulcrum, 2008). He is the co-producer of the documentary movie The Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code, directed by Sheldon Wolfchild (Dakota), which is based on Pagans in the Promised Land. His website is and he can be contacted at stv4newcomb[at]yahoo[period]com. The documentary can be ordered at

Lisa Poirier

Lisa Poirier is a scholar of Native American religions in particular and religion and colonialism in general. She is originally from Fitchburg, Massachusetts, on Nipmuc and Pennacook traditional lands, but she now teaches at DePaul University and lives in Chicago, on the traditional lands of the Council of the Three Fires– Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi Nations.

In her book, Religion, Gender, and Kinship in Colonial New France (Syracuse University Press, 2016), she investigated the ways in which Native men and women of the Wendat Confederacy and French explorers, missionaries and settlers employed kinship-building strategies as they struggled to create new religious orientations that would enable them to survive the life-and-death challenges of early seventeenth-century New France. Her academic interests do go beyond the colonial period; for instance, in her most recent article published in the journal Religion and Popular Culture, she explored the ways in which the twentieth-century Kaw/Mvskoki jazz saxophonist Jim Pepper was influenced by the sacred music of the Native American Church. Her most current research investigates the religious and economic innovations of Native women in Great Lakes environments in the eighteenth century.

Eve Reyes-Aguirre

Eve Reyes-Aguirre, an Izkaloteka Azteca Indigenous woman, has been a community organizer at Tonatierra, An Embassy for Indigenous Peoples, for more than 22 years. In that time, Eve has been at the forefront in advocating for human rights, women’s rights, Indigenous Peoples rights and environmental rights on the local, national, and international level. Eve has worked tirelessly to bring awareness to the political, social, economic and environmental challenges affecting Indigenous Peoples globally. She also organizes at the grassroots level regionally and locally to strengthen traditional identity, equality and well-being of Indigenous Women, Indigenous Peoples, and the protection of water and the environment.  Eve has represented her community annually at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Eve has also served the Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus as Co-chair and/or Rapporteur since 2009. In April of 2013, Eve was a co-organizer of the 1st International Conference on Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery held in Phoenix Arizona, with over 430 indigenous participants from all over the globe.

Eglute Trinkauskaite

Eglute Trinkauskaite is a full time faculty in Humanistic Studies department at Maryland Institute College of Art.  

She holds her PhD, MPhil, and MA in Religion from Syracuse University and her BA in Religion from Hunter College, City University of New York. Her teaching and research interests focus on indigenous and ethnic traditions, the natural environment, and globalization. Her latest writing explores complex layers of culture and religion in post-Soviet Lithuania. Her current book project, The Swarming Dead, focuses on the continued vitality of indigenous religion and its imprint on modern Lithuania and its diaspora. Eglute has taught at Syracuse University, Hamilton College, and Nazareth College of Rochester, New York. She is an active member of American Academy of Religion and Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies.

Rob Ruehl

coming soon

Tink Tinker

TINK TINKER, a citizen of the Osage Nation (wazhazhe), is the Clifford Baldridge Emeritus Professor of American Indian Cultures and Religious Traditions at Iliff School of Theology. During his 33 years at Iliff, Dr. Tinker brought a distinctly Indian perspective to a predominantly White, euro-christian school and continues to do so in lectures across the continent. As an Indian academic Tinker is committed to a scholarly endeavor that takes seriously both the liberation of Indian peoples from their historic oppression as colonized communities and the liberation of White Americans, the historic colonizers and oppressors of Indian peoples, whose own history has been largely suppressed. For nearly three decades he volunteered both administratively and as a traditional spiritual leader at Four Winds American Indian Council in Denver (an urban Indian organization) and worked closely with the American Indian Movement of Colorado. His publications include: American Indian Liberation: A Theology of Sovereignty (Orbis, 2008); Spirit and Resistance: American Indian Liberation and Political Theology (Fortress, 2004); and Missionary Conquest: The Gospel and Native American Genocide (Fortress Press, 1993). He has published some seven dozen journal articles and chapters for edited volumes.

Caucus Facilitators

Gail Bundy

Gail Bundy, Board Member, Indigenous Values Initiative. My initial involvement with the Doctrine of Discovery was in Colorado working with the Transform Columbus Day Alliance and Red Earth Women’s Alliance to repeal the Columbus Day holiday.  I have worked on the Neighbors of Onondaga Nation Historic Marker Project and participated in the Doctrine of Discovery discussion group. I am currently on the board of the Indigenous Values Initiative and work on DOD issues related to education, environment, and community problem-solving.

Adam DJ Brett

Adam DJ Brett (he/him/his), Ph.D. Candidate, Syracuse University Department of Religion. I am working on a dissertation that examines Protestant Christian fundamentalism’s lasting impact in North America especially in relationship to culture and politics. While US Protestants did not author the Doctrine of Discovery, they are certainly some of the doctrines primary benefactors. Moreover, US Protestants helped to hone and refine the Doctrine of Discovery into the weapon it is today, as witnessed in American Exceptionalism, the virulent return of Christian ethno-nationalism, and the revival of Dominionist Theology. I am also involved in the Alliance of Baptists, a progressive Protestant Christian denomination engaged in social justice work. Living on land stolen from the Onondaga Nation and Haudenosaunee Confederacy and learning from the Indigenous Values Initiative and American Indian Law Alliance, I have learned the importance and urgency of working together to overturn the Doctrine of Discovery. I look forward to learning some of the next steps I can take, and how I can help the various communities I am a part of embrace a deeper sense of justice.

Michael E. Chaness

Dr. Michael E. Chaness – I am currently a visiting assistant professor at SUNY-Oswego where I teach courses in Anthropology and Native American Studies. Previous to that appointment I earned my Ph.D. in the department of religion at Syracuse University under the tutelage of Dr. Philip Arnold. It was while living in Syracuse that I began to collaborate with onkwehonwe peoples. Throughout my graduate studies I worked simultaneously at the Onondaga Nation School and the relationships I cultivated at ONS lead directly to many years of (ongoing) informal fieldwork. My scholarship explores the intersections between Jewish American and Native American identity creation through the prisms of blood and land, philosophy and theology, gender and genocide, religion and ritual. I see this conference as an opportunity to focus attention on the insidiousness of the doctrine of Christian discovery so that we may uproot, expose, and begin to dismantle the legacies of white supremacy that have become entrenched throughout America’s religious, legal, and political institutions. May this process, as our Haudenosaunee friends say, bring our minds together as one.

Hilary-Anne Coppola

Hil is community organizer for the law office of Joe Heath, general counsel to the Onondaga Nation. Through this position, I work on behalf of the interests of the Onondaga and Cayuga Nations. I studied Natural History/Interpretation and Environmental Writing at SUNY-ESF and afterwards was an educator for eight years. For two of these years I worked in Vermont as a NAI-certified interpretive naturalist in a state forest and a science educator at the Fairbanks Natural History Museum. I became extremely intimate with the land and learned about the history and current reality of the Abenaki people. These experiences led me to engage more passionately as an accomplice with Indigenous peoples, whatever land I am living in.

My current primary focuses are protecting Onondaga Lake, Onondaga Creek, and land rightfully under the stewardship of the Onondaga; collaborating on concerns of Onondaga, Cayuga, Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force, and other Haudenosaunee citizens and leaders; supporting and/or contributing to the work of American Indian Law Alliance, Indigenous Values Initiative, ESF Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, Skä•noñh Great Law of Peace Center, Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, Friends of Onondaga Lake Bald Eagles, Nuclear Free World Committee of Syracuse Peace Council, and Peace Newsletter. Other primary goals I am involved in include global indigenous sovereignty, climate justice, oil and plastic abolition, racial justice, stewardship, and TEK education.

Tehosterihens Wes Deer

Hello my name is Tehosterihens Deer and I am a Mohawk from Kahnawake. I am 21 years old , bear clan and currently attending Syracuse University taking Communications and Rhetorical Studies with a plan double minor in Public Communications and Native American Studies. I am very vocal on Indigenous topics and issues. As an Indigenous man, I believe it is essential to give my experience on certain issues, including the doctrine of discovery. I use my public speaking and communications/media skills to educate others in presentations on the history of the Iroquois.  I am very delighted to be apart of this webinar and look forward to discussing these issues further.

Grace Fritzke

Grace Fritzke is a Master’s student in Religion at Syracuse University. Her interests include public memory, especially monuments to colonialism. She is a volunteer docent at Ska-nonh: Great Law of Peace Center where she enjoys giving tours, especially to kids ranging from fourth grade through high school. Before coming to Syracuse, Grace worked as a Research Associate for Tamastslikt Cultural Institute (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation) and Whitman College. She studied the transmission of disease during the mid-1800s, especially measles. The project’s results complicated existing narratives, which blamed a group of Walla Walla and Cayuse people for the largest of the outbreaks. Grace turned this information into an exhibit titled, Caution! Broken Past, continuing an interest in historical centers and the variety of ways information about the past can be shared. She has also worked or volunteered for the Whitman Mission National Historic Site and the Fort Walla Walla Museum. She looks forward to the conversations of this conference!

Blake Garland-Tirado

Blake Garland-Tirado (they/them/theirs) is a Master’s student in Religion at Syracuse University. They’re from the Bronx with a Black and Puerto Rican background. Their research interests include the political implications involving gender and sexual identity in relation to Black religious communities in the U.S. As of recent, Blake has been deeply involved with the Black Lives Matter movement in Syracuse and started the popular petition to have the Columbus Circle Monument in Downtown Syracuse removed.

Abel Gomez


Alexander Gonzalez

Alexander V. Gonzalez, Ph.D., received his doctorate in 2010 from the Syracuse University Department of Religion. His dissertation involved working with Lukumi practitioners and employed a multi-disciplinary approach to examine the role of el Diloggun, or cowry shell reading in Lukumi. a practice popularly and erroneously referred to as Santeria. He has written articles on Lukumi and other Afro-Caribbean religions and continues to work with Lukumi practitioners on matters of social justice. When he is not gardening or planting trees at his South Florida home, he teaches Philosophy and Religion courses at Miami-Dade College in Hialeah.

Mary Keller

Mary L. Keller works at the intersection of feminist theory, postcolonial theory, and Indigenous studies theory in order to study the relationship of religious lives to struggles for meaning and power. She teaches Introduction to World Religions, African Spirits in the New World, African American Religious Culture, and summer fieldwork on Indigenous landscapes In Wyoming. Keller emphasizes the geographical, historical and social context in which religious lives are embedded and then focuses on questions of personhood within religious traditions. Current research emphasizes Indigenous theorizations of matter and spirit as that delivers teachings for right action in the time of climate crisis, and recent developments in theory and method in the study of spirit possession.

Dana Lloyd


Kenneth H. Lokensgard

Dr. Kenneth H. Lokensgard is the Assistant Director for the Center for Native American Research & Collaboration, in the Office of Native American Programs, at Washington State University. Ken’s research has focused upon the sometimes conflicting ontologies and epistemologies of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples. Specifically, he has worked with Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) elders and ceremonialists, in the US and Canada, to highlight the personhood of Blackfoot ceremonial items and the need for their repatriation. He is also interested in traditional protocols of reciprocity practiced by Native Americans and how they inform Indigenous research methodologies. Dr. Lokensgard is committed to promoting the importance of these protocols and methodologies, as means of facilitating collaborative work between Native and Non-Native communities. To this end, he is active in developing Institutional Review Board processes and guidelines that ensure collaboration and recognition of Tribal sovereignty. He is also committed to promoting Native scholarship and scholars within the academy and elsewhere.

Sarah Elizabeth Nahar

Sarah Nahar neé Thompson (she/her) is from Elkhart, Indiana (Potowatomi Traditional land) and a first year PhD student in the Religion department at Syracuse University. Her research focus is “How do beliefs about the Earth and the End Times influence toileting practices of religious people?” She is matriculating concurrently at neighboring SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) Department of Environmental Studies. She is also a nonviolent action trainer and interspiritual theologian. Previously, Sarah was a 2019 Rotary Peace Fellow and worked at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a member of the Carnival de Resistance and has been the Executive Director of Christian Peacemaker Teams. She attended Spelman College, majoring in Comparative Women’s Studies and International Studies, minoring in Spanish. She has an MDiv from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in her hometown. Her hobbies include capoeira and home improvement projects.


Robert Michael Ruehl

Robert Michael Ruehl is a visiting assistant professor of philosophy; he has a PhD from Syracuse University with a research emphasis on philosophy of religion, the Doctrine of Discovery, and ethical social transformation for sustained peace. His courses range from introductions to philosophy and ethics to Indigenous philosophies and business ethics. His work appears in The Concord Saunterer: A Journal of Thoreau Studies, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and Philosophy Now! The aim of his work in the coming years is to develop a philosophy of peace through the lens of conflict transformation, circle processes, Indigenous wisdom, and sustained dialogue to support the ethical cultivation of sustained peace for generations to come.


Terry Reeder

Hello, I am Terry Reeder PhD. I am an anti-racist feminist who has taught Religious Studies and Ethics at multiple colleges including Syracuse University, Nazareth College, St. John Fisher, the College of St. Rose and LeMoyne College. I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at the College of Wooster in Ohio. As a Catholic high school Religion teacher I became increasingly unable to live with the social justice violations that I was complicit with as a Catholic educator. This includes the Doctrine of Discovery. The year that I became a grandmother I began a doctoral program in Religion at Syracuse University. At SU I  studied the ethics of Christianity and ways to deconstruct and dismantle religious colonialism and sexism in order to  build a more just world. For me the most important way to grow in justice  is to learn from Indigenous teachers. I try to balance my scholarship with activism, and to continually decolonize myself, my pedagogy, and my religion.  It is an honor to be at this conference learning from and with these esteemed teachers and other participants.

Dillon Sampson

Dillon Sampson is a Ph.D. Student in Religion at Syracuse University. Dillon completed his M.A. at the University of Colorado with research focused upon the simulation and consumption of indigenous images by settlers in a consumerist market.  His research interests have moved recently, however, becoming historically focused upon Medieval and Early Modern Europe.  In particular, he is interested the articulations of the “other” in Christendom, including the internal other of the “heretic” and the external other of the indigenous subject, both of which were formative and essential to the development of an identity of a Christian self, and as well as being the sites of a material expression of Christian domination and violence. The Doctrine of Discovery is itself an archetypal example by which this process has and continues to unfold.

Eglute Trinkauskaite


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