Water is Life Navajo Rug by Gerard Begay


Water River Life Giver rug by Gerard Begay for symposium (2016)

The Fringed Mouth Yei is a deity in the Nightway chant which is a traditional Navajo winter healing ceremony. The Fringed Mouth Yei received its name from the mask which has fringes around the eyes and mouth. It is believed that there are two types of Fringed Mouth Yei, one represents the earth and plant life and the other one represents water. Recently, a representative from the “Water River Life Giver” conference asked me to create a rug for the event. I immediately thought about a story my uncle told me when I was younger. This story has inspired me to create a piece for this conference.

By: Gerard Begay

Gerard Begay is a young male weaver, born to the Big Water clan and originally from Holbook, Arizona.  Although he works full-time for the Maricopa Community College district, he spends much of his free time weaving and has shown his work at the Heard Museum in addition to the Santa Fe Indian Market.

“Sepagehommaûta (Let’s Sail)” by Kimonee Burke

Listen to Kimonee Burke’s “Sepagehommaûta (Let’s Sail).”

Kimonee Burke was one of the Co-Presidents of the Native Americans at Dartmouth Executive Board, 2015-2016. She is a member of the class of 2018 at Dartmouth and is planning on double majoring in Native American Studies and Government.​ She is from Cape Neddick Maine and is Narragansett and Niantic.

The Water Carries Her, She Carries the Water by Elizabeth LaPensée, 2016

The Water Carries Her, She Carries the Water

An Anishinaabe water carrier’s singing fills the water with the vibrations of sounds that bring healing.

16″ x 20″

Digital Media

The Water Carries Her, She Carries the Water by Elizabeth LaPensée, 2016

The Water Carries Her, She Carries the Water by Elizabeth LaPensée, 2016

Elizabeth LaPensée, 2016


Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D. expresses herself through writing, design, and art in games, comics, and animation. She is Anishinaabe, Métis, and Irish, living near the Great Lakes.

Most recently, she designed and programmed Invaders (2015), a remix of the arcade classic Space Invaders inspired by art from Steven Paul Judd. She also designed The Gift of Food (2014), a board game for the Northwest Indian College about Northwest Native traditional foods. She is currently working on Honour Water (2016), an Anishinaabe singing game for healing the water.

Her dissertation in Interactive Arts and Technology from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia shares experiences from the Indigenous social impact game Survivance (2011), which encourages ongoing healing through storytelling and creating art. Continuing this work, she is the Postdoctoral Associate for the University of Minnesota’s Research for Indigenous Community Health Center and a Research Associate in the Initiative for Indigenous Futures.

She also contributes to communities by providing access to the tools and skills to develop games. She created curriculum for the award-winning Skins Workshops developed by Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures. For over ten years, she has offered workshops to partners including the United Indian Students in Higher Education Youth Day in Portland, Oregon; Aboriginal Youth Science Exchange Camp in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario; Urban Native Youth Association in Vancouver, British Columbia; Native Girls Code for Gen7 in Seattle, Washington; and Electa Quinney Institute for American Indian Education in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Learn more about her works at Elizabeth LaPensée’s website.

Horseshoe Bend by Lyonel Tso


©2016 Lyonel Tso

Lyonel Tso is Navajo from Page, Arizona. He is a graduate from Arizona State University-Tempe. He served the Native American student population in various capacities at ASU, including as a student specialist for the American Indian Student Support Services. He is a talented photographer, who captures on camera beautiful landscapes of Diné Bikéyah (Navajo lands). He served in the U.S. Marine Corps, 2005-2010. He currently teaches high school science classes in the Phoenix area, specializing in environmental sciences. Making science relevant to the students’ lives is a key part of his pedagogical approach.  In his classes, Tso guides students to approach science, especially Earth and Space Science, with their own lives and cultures as the basis.

Lyonel Tso

Lyonel Tso

Learn more about his teaching on his personal website Lyonel Tso.

Sókenítch (When it Rains) by Kianna Burke

kiannaKianna Burke is currently the Dartmouth College Native American Program Coordinator. She is a recent graduate of Dartmouth College with a degree in Native American Studies modified with Music. After graduating, Class of 2012, she worked at an alternative high school where she led a Digital Music Class and a Martial Arts Class. Burke is a certified Martial Arts Instructor in Isshin-Ryu and has studied the Japanese art form for over ten years. As a Sensei she encourages confidence and leadership in students by spotlighting their strengths and fostering a collaborative learning environment. Her interest in music performance and composition led her to Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. There, she worked as a guide to the Berkshire music experience and provided backstage security for musicians from across the nation.

Burke is a lifelong learner and has a passion for exploring the world through many diverse activities including:  snowboarding, beading, wild mushroom hunting, teaching, painting, figure skating, hiking, writing, rock climbing, cooking, gardening, dancing, and laughing. As the Native American Program Coordinator, Kianna aims to empower students through collaboration and innovation.

Art Contest

Entering: Everyone is invited to submit artwork; the Water is Life art contest is open to United States residents age 18 and up. For full rules and prizes see the contest rules.

Voting: Come back later to vote for your favorite artwork. Voting closes 11:59PM EDT on April 24, 2016.