Bernice Allen-Chee is from the Dine( Navajo) Nation and a Master Rug Weaver. Her first clan is the Mexican Clan and her second clan is the Coyote Pass clan. Her maternal grandfather's clan is the Red Running into water and her paternal grandfather's clan is the Near Water clan. She raised two girls and three boys. She has eight grandchildren, five girls, and three boys. She works with Dine Challenge as a Bookstore Assistant in Tsaile for 13 years. In her spare time, she weaves and creates beautiful, intricate designed rugs as a hobby and therapeutic project. Her specialty involves the colorful, finely woven eye dazzlers and the Yei Bi Chei's.
Annie Chasing Hawk - Dreamstarter & Artist
As a Lakota, I was taught as a child the scared values of the medicine wheel: Respect, Courage, Wisdom, and Generosity. I grew up on the Cheyenne River reservation in South Dakota hunting, fishing, playing basketball, softball and doing all things outside and in the country. I have four God-children that I am incredibly proud of and strive to help them understand our culture and values. I strive to embrace the energy from my culture and my background and use it in everything I do. As an artist, I work to reflect these values with each piece I create as it is a reflection of myself. The idea of the project is to promote a positive self-image of our people, our lands, and our lives. Through the stories, the art, and teaching I believe we can make a difference.
Stephan Cheney - Dreamstarter & Artist
Stephan Cheney, Lakota of the Kul Wicasa Oyate, is the passionate and proud owner of High Rez Wood Company, A Native empowered enterprise in right relation with mother earth. High Rez Wood Company specializes in creating high quality hand crafted items and tables that covey the complexities of Indigenous life through Indigenous eyes.
Stephan, a 3rd Year Education Running Strong for American Indian Youth Dreamstarter, developed his love for trees during his years as a wildland firefighter. Even as he cut down burnt trees, he knew they still had life and so many stories to tell. “If you scratch beneath the surface, you can see that the beauty is still there. The wood is not only salvageable but also full of spirit” Stephan wants to connect people back to that spirit, and to one another. For this emerging entrepreneur, woodworking has become another method of putting good things out into the world. It was as a Dreamstarter that Stephan developed the self confidence to think creatively and work actively, bringing good thoughts, and good actions to fruition.
"Within many of the systems in mainstream America, the messages conveyed toward Indigenous Peoples' sovereignty and self determination tell us we are incapable and unworthy. In all actuality, we are incredibly innovative and brilliant, proficient in self actualization with unwavering integrity. Our communities, rich in cultural capital are suffering because we lack the financial capital that would afford us the opportunity to support much needed infrastructure, economic development, and overall basic human needs."
Stephan currently operates and resides in traditional Wiyot Territory, also known as Humboldt County where he happily creates in his little shop surrounded by Ancient Redwoods, Madrones, and Oaks. He is inspired by the Peoples’ who call the costal lands of Northern California home. Within his body of work you will find complex geometry paying homage to the intricate basket weavers of the region featuring vibrant blues that resemble water and turquoise. He also incorporates many natural elements such as Cedar, Tobacco, Dentalium, and Abalone. On every completed piece of work you will find a small 2x2 inch Tipi surrounded by a horse hoof representing the Lakota and Horse Nations.
To date Stephan has worked with many Tree species, including Birch, Madrone, Redwood (from his own back yard), Pacific Maple, Western and Eastern Red Cedar, Douglas Fir, Blue Pine, Tan Oak, Eucalyptus, and California Walnut. Knowing where the wood comes from is a priority, as it establishes a connection and relationship to it. If he doesn’t know the origin of the wood, he won’t use it. Stephan wants to increase the vitality of the forest through his work, not disrupt it. For this reason he is a huge proponent of using salvaged or reclaimed woods, woods impacted by bug kill, invasive species, wood from landfills and wood impacted by wild fire. As High Rez Wood Company continues to grow, Stephan plans to expand and provide meaningful employment as well as supporting community lead efforts.
To view more of Stephan’s work Visit High Rez Wood Company on Instagram and Facebook.