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About Me

Yá'át'ééh! I'm a professional anthropologist and lecturer in the San Joaquin Valley of California. I studied anthropology and archaeology at Fort Lewis College in Durango CO, where I participated in many archaeological projects and one major excavation in the American Southwest. In more recent times, I have specialized in the anthropology of religion, past and present studying Christianity and Islam for two years at a multi-denominational seminary, and eventually earning an MA in Anthropology from CSU East Bay in Hayward, CA. I also take a keen interest in the blended field of political ecology- the application of the social sciences to understanding ecological relationships. This has taken root as a firm commitment to Native Rights and activist activities in that arena. In the scholarly arena, I write on the historical relationships between religion and ecology in the US and beyond. I currently teach at Modesto Junior College as an full-time instructor in cultural anthropology, and during field season continue to participate in research, education, and tourism activities in my beloved Patayan. My work is my only real hobby.


I have designed my teaching approach to accommodate the diverse needs of the students, while also achieving the Course Learning Outcomes and Program Learning Objectives created by the department and school. The vast majority of the students in my Cultural Anthropology course have been non-majors, so I place a strong emphasis on those aspects of anthropology that will be useful to them in their intended careers. One of these aspects is the methodology that informs ethnographic research. I assign a term-long project in which the students conduct an ethnographic project of their own, broken into manageable steps such as formulating a research question, research plan, and collecting interview data.

In the classroom, I encourage participation, usually starting the day with a brainstorming session relevant to the day's central topic. For instance, when introducing ethnobotany, we do a domain elicitation exercise together, based on their own knowledge of local plants. My lectures embrace multimedia and connection. While Powerpoint has struck me as too static and summary a medium for normal lecturing, I frequently use short presentations to share visual slides and graphics to help with concepts, such as kinship structures, that are difficult for many to understand verbally. I also use short video clips, usually films that allow indigenous people or professionals in various specializations to speak “directly” to the students about their experiences- whether an interview with Genevieve Bell about business anthropology or an Indian classical musician talking demonstrating techniques on the tabla drums and comparing them to Western percussion. All of my courses have optional participation in a class Facebook page, through which I share helpful resources, announcements of campus events, and links to news items relevant to our topic. I've been having a field day lately, constructing a new course on Magic, Witchcraft and Religion, in which I've been able to experiment with a number of new teaching methods.

My teaching capabilities include…

  • Anthropological methods
  • Field studies
  • Participant learning
  • Social networking
  • Statistics in the social sciences

Courses Taught



My professional research projects have focused on the anthropology and archaeology of the Colorado River region of the American Southwest. I take a keen interest in resource issues and recently contributed a chapter to a guide on the geology and culture of the Southwest for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. I also studied California Indians as a graduate student, and took a strong interest in the social organization of California groups, sitting as they do in between many of the borrowed anthropological term that national governments used to define and control them: band, tribe, or nation? Activism in the area of Indian Law and the situation of modern Indian nations throughout the modern world is an area of great concern to me, and I have been developing my personal anthropology blog as a platform for discussing both anthropological theory and contemporary issues facing the many American nations. I am interested in sharing my insights into the past and present indigenous societies of this country with students, while continuing my own research at the intersections of ethnohistory, culture, and law.

My research interests include…


  • California State University, East Bay

    • 2012 M.A, Anthropology
  • Fort Lewis College

    • 2007 B.A, Anthropology



  • Winner, 2012 Emeritus Anthropology Faculty Student Research Paper Prize for “A Critique of the Evidence for Cannibalism at Chaco Canyon"

    2012 California State University, East Bay



  • English

  • French

  • Greek, Ancient (to 1453)