Roxanne grew up sculpting, making pottery, building with adobe, and gardening. Born in 1962 in Taos NM, into a family of Santa Clara Pueblo Artists (Naranjos), Roxanne grew up with her two sisters in a creative environment. As a young child, she wasn’t able to communicate due to a speech impediment, but her mother handed her some clay and Roxanne found a new language. She sculpted human figurines depicting something going on in her life that she wanted others to know. Meantime her parents were studying solar energy and as a family built themselves a solar adobe house in Santa Fe, NM. They had a small garden plot and fruit tree along with turkeys and chickens. Roxanne took it upon herself at an early age to be the caretaker of the gardens and animals. She also took over (from her mother) making the dishes for the household. Roxanne was able to attend the Institute of American Indian Arts while finishing her high school credits.
She then went on to study at the Portland Museum Art School in Oregon but after a year she returned home to be closer to her Native Culture and raise her two children. She built a solar adobe house by hand for her and her children at Santa Clara Pueblo. During this time, Roxanne was introduced to Permaculture and with the help of her husband (at that time) Joel Glanzberg, and a like-minded friend (Brett Bakker), they started the non-profit, Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute in 1989. Roxanne’s home site was the place they would experiment with the practices of permaculture and teach. Soon it became obvious that Roxanne’s ties to the Pueblo culture steered the Institute into cultural preservation and ways to become more self-sufficient. She has written and had published, “Our Home” an experimental place in sustainable life-ways, “Droppings” an occasional newsletter for the community, “Extra-ordinary People”, (NM Magazine Artist Series), a number of “how-to” booklets, and her latest on the diet of her people, “The Pueblo Food Experience” Museum of NM Press. Roxanne also created The Tower Gallery in Pojoaque, NM where she shows and sells her artwork. These days, Roxanne homeschools her three oldest grandchildren, tends gardens and animals, makes sculptures, teaches building and gardening skills, and gives talks all around the country on her art, work in the tribe, and permaculture. You can visit her website at: www.roxanneswentzell.net
Brett Bakker doesn’t remember when he was born because he was just a little baby but by the time he was nineteen, he found himself living in a remote log cabin in New Mexico wondering how to grow food with no water. In 1980 he hooked up with the Seed Saver’s Exchange and began pestering every elder he met for traditional corn, beans, squash, melons, and chiles to plant.
In 1985 he had the good fortune to work (mostly for free) at Ohkay Owingeh with the San Juan Pueblo Seed Project. Soon after Roxanne Swentzell and Joel Glanzberg somehow talked him into signing on the dotted line of the board of Flowering Tree. Bakker also pestered Native Seeds/SEARCH of Tucson until they gave him a job in New Mexico collecting and growing seeds, mostly just to shut him up.
He also found time to work with Talavaya Seeds in Espanola, High Desert Research Farm at Ghost Ranch, Plants of The Southwest Nursery, and sneak as many native seeds as possible onto the University of New Mexico campus as a member of the landscape Flower Crew. Concurrently, he worked for twenty-six years as a tool of the government with the Organic Commodity Commission / New Mexico Department of Agriculture certifying organic farms, livestock, and food processors until retiring in early 2017. The food was much better when he was doing the seed stuff with Pueblo and Nuevo Mexicano farmers, especially the bone stew, chicos, and prune pie. Happily, he has returned to growing traditional and native seed crops with Cuatro Puertas / Arid Crop Seed Cache. In direct contradiction with all of the above, Bakker enjoys loud obnoxious rock and roll in Albuquerque with people half his age.
Porter Swentzell is from Santa Clara Pueblo, where he grew up participating in traditional life in his community and developed an interest in language and cultural preservation. He is an Associate Professor of Indigenous Liberal Studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts, a Regent for Northern New Mexico College, and serves on several non-profit boards. Porter received his Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University and is currently pursuing an MBA from Western New Mexico University. He enjoys weaving traditional Pueblo sash belts and learning about history in his free time. Porter lives at Santa Clara Pueblo along with his wife and three children.
Nicole Swentzell is from Santo Domingo Pueblo, New Mexico. She seeks out opportunities that allow her to participate in decolonizing processes, promote Indigenous knowledge and values through sustainability and culturally relevant philosophies. Her willingness to serve others through this type of work stems from the values of community, family, love, support, and cultural pride she learned while growing up at Santo Domingo. She also enjoys being an Instructor for RESOLVE; a self-defense and violence prevention organization located in Santa Fe. Nicole received her bachelor’s degree in Native American and Indigenous Studies from Fort Lewis and a master’s degree in Native American Studies from the University of New Mexico. She is currently teaching in the Indigenous Liberal Studies Program at the Institute of American Indian Arts and living at Santa Clara Pueblo with her husband and their family.
Rose B. Simpson
Rose B. Simpson is a mixed-media artist from Santa Clara Pueblo, NM. Her work engages ceramic sculpture, metals, fashion, performance, music, installation, writing, and custom cars. She received an MFA in Ceramics from Rhode Island School of Design in 2011, an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2018, is collected in museums across the continent and has exhibited internationally. She lives and works from her home at Santa Clara Pueblo, and hopes to teach her young daughter how to creatively engage the world.
Beata Tsosie-Peña, B.A., A.A., is from Santa Clara Pueblo and El Rito, NM. She is a mother, poet, advocate, seed keeper, and is certified in Infant Massage, as a Developmental Specialist, an Educator, A Lactation Counselor, and full-spectrum Birthworker, and in Indigenous Sustainable Design (permaculture). She is currently on the steering committee for the Traditional Native American Farmers Association and is a new board member for Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute. She is a Pueblo representative for the New Mexico Governor's task force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives serving a second term. She is also an active affiliate of Breath of My Heart Birthplace. The realities of living next to a nuclear weapons complex have called her into environmental health and justice work with the local non-profit organization, Tewa Women United for over a decade. As part of her work with TWU, she is currently managing the creation of the Española Healing Foods Oasis demonstration garden project and Española Healing Foods Seed Library.