Indigenous Yoga Team

Jennie Vandermeer

Jennie Vandermeer

Jennie Vandermeer

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Northwest Territories, Canada

Jennie Vandermeer is Sahtúgot'ı̨nę and grew up in Délıne, NWT, Canada. She currently resides in Norman Wells, NWT and works in indigenous health and research. 

A recovering alcoholic and survivor of domestic violence, she credits her recovery to having a strong tie to her Dene culture and people. She believes that although many indigenous  people are challenged by intergenerational trauma and addictions, we are incredibly strong and resilient. 

She volunteers her time by creating and leading wellness and leadership projects that benefit indigenous people. Jennie often does presentations and workshops throughout the NWT on nutrition, exercise, mental health, addictions, intergenerational trauma, domestic violence and most importantly, resiliency.

Jennie teaches online yoga classes and plans to run a mobile yoga studio; bringing indigenous yoga to communities across the NWT.

Carmen Yupe

Jennie Vandermeer

Jennie Vandermeer

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Bozeman, MT

Carmen  small-scale food grower from the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes in Fort Hall, Idaho. She is transitioning into the larger food market and exploring options in food sovereignty to integrate into tribal communities in Montana, Idaho and Arizona.  She’s a current PATHS (Pathways to Agriculture and Native foods, Tribal Health and Sovereignty) participant with Montana State University and sees this program as a catalyst to large scale change. This work, paralleled with a personal healing journey have served as the spark to reignite the dormant dreams that have long been housed in her heart. She is passionate about sharing her spark with all communities she is apart of and to nourish a nation hungry for change and healing. Carmen is also a beginning yogini, TEDx Bozeman 2019 speaker, undercover poet/comedian and is the mother of 3 sons, Steven, Liam and Dominic. She currently resides with her family in Bozeman, Montana.

BJ Swimmer

Jennie Vandermeer

Samantha Harrison

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SLC, UT/ Pine Ridge, SD

Canté was té nape ciyuzapo

Wakán wahté wín, emaciyapi 

I greet you from my heart 

My name is lives holy

I am from the Oglala Lakota people.

I am lucky to be the mother to four beautiful children. Who are my foundation and drive me crazy. 

What brought me to yoga... was a article I skimmed through about how it helps with running.  I also love long distance running. 

Through my exploration of yoga I found that it’s more than just movement.  It helps work through trauma.

That was it for me, I dove in... I had to learn more.  Trauma is a big part of my life.. learning to acknowledge it, rather than hide it and be ashamed of it. That was a big way for me learn to breathe. 

I’m so blessed to be given an opportunity to try and help my Native people- help them navigate, acknowledge their traumas, and use them as a tool. That is my goal.

Wopila 

Thank you 

Samantha Harrison

Samantha Harrison

Samantha Harrison

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Ponca City, OK

Samantha is a member of the Grayhorse District of the Osage Nation and descendent of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma. She has served both of her tribes in a social services capacity for years. It was through this service that she discovered her passion to help others. She most recently was employed at the Ponca Tribe Wellness Center and received her Fitness Trainer and Nutritionist certification from the International Sports Science Association (ISSA). She fell in love with weight lifting but after an injury found it difficult. When researching different ways to rehab her injury, she discovered the healing practice of yoga. She then attended 200 hour Indigenous Vinyasa Yoga Teacher training and is now a RYT-200. She volunteers her time teaching free online yoga classes to her community. She has dreams to continue serving her tribal community by making wellness more available and sustainable for all ages. She resides in Ponca City, Oklahoma and enjoys cooking and spending time with her family. She is the mother of three beautiful children that have been the biggest inspiration in her wellness journey. She hopes by sharing her journey she will inspire and recruit others in her community so they may reach more people.

Johanna Corpeno

Samantha Harrison

Johanna Corpeno

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Mesa, AZ

Throughout young adulthood to present Johanna has believed in the power of nutrition through plant medicines, healthy eating, and movement within the body. This passion has led her on a quest, seeking knowledge that she believes can help create a healing path from past traumas that her and her Indigenous brothers and sisters have endured. Her hope is that these powerful tools can be shared throughout their communities. One of Johanna’s greatest passions is working with people and helping them create a healthy lifestyle that they can thrive with. Johanna will graduate from her program at the Southwest Institute of Healing arts in October 2020 as a Holistic Nutrition Wellness Practitioner, Life Coach, and Fitness Nutrition Educator- (Certified through NASM).

Her approach to yoga is reminding others to stay present, focus on their breath, and to ignite healing that they can share with others. Her hopes are to offer an experience of balance, flow, a spirit of playfulness and a dose of inspiration to help deepen your practice, and to remind people to meet themselves where they are currently at. Johanna believes that yoga is an ancient medicine, she hopes that when you step off your mat you are feeling refreshed, and that she can create a safe space for healing, and much more.

Zara Contin

Samantha Harrison

Johanna Corpeno

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Ontario, Canada 

Aanii !  I'm Zara Contin; an Ojibwa Anishnaabekwe from Henvey Inlet First Nation Ontario, Canada and Certified Yoga teacher. Currently residing in Sudbury Ontario. I am a teacher for the Natural Sciences, mother, and outdoor enthusiast I have a close connection to our Mother Earth and everything she teaches us. During my time at University I suffered anxiety and panic attacks stemming from my childhood abuse and trauma. This is when I learned to incorporate yoga into my daily practice along with meditation.  I travelled to other areas of the country, where I found the joy of incorporating yoga into my every day life, while on my travels learning about my culture and identity as an Anishnaabekwe. 


Deepening my sense of connection to my spirituality and energy I took it upon my self to do a 200 HR training program for Vinyasa Flow. I like to incorporate a holistic approach through the medicine wheel and using therapeutic tools like sharing, active listening and traditional medicines during a class. The sole purpose is to feel that deepening connection not only to ourselves, but with the people around us. I love to explore how we can decolonize, reclaim and honour our own practices while continuing to focus on yoga as the main tool to help heal ourselves and how we can honour ourselves by bringing it back to our communities so that we can all begin to move our bodies and heal from the sickness that surrounds our people.

Preston Sam

Kate Herrera Jenkins

Preston Sam

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Flagstaff, AZ

Preston is a member of the Navajo Nation. As a professional dancer with a career in the entertainment industry, Preston is excited to add Yoga Teacher to his arsenal. Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico Preston made a name for himself in Phoenix and Los Angeles through dance and film. Preston uses what he learned in the dance industry to teach a program, fully founded by him, offering hip hip, jazz, ballet and modern dance classes to kids in remote locations on the Navajo Nation as well as high school students in Winslow and Holbrook, Arizona. The program builds skills such as confidence, self-esteem, respect for authority, teamwork and self-expression in addition to the benefits dance has for the brain and body. In this program, Preston sees the need for emotional release by children and young adults. In these classes, he creates a safe space linking dance with music and ones own story, frustration, emotion or feeling. Preston also knows yoga can offer the same healing. Preston infuses yoga in his program that is currently serving the youth of the Navajo Nation.  Preston is a natural healer and understands the effect yoga has on happiness.  He is honored to be a facilitator through that. Preston loves and is very intrigued by the philosophy yoga has to offer and is very exited to share that with his students. Hózhó Náhásdlíí’ - Walk In Beauty

Dionne Paul

Kate Herrera Jenkins

Preston Sam

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British Columbia, Canada

  

Dionne Paul (Ximiq) *pronoun she/her* is a shíshálh (Sechelt Nation) and nuxalkmc (Bella Coola) artist. She is a member of the Eagle Clan and her ancestral name is Ximiq and translates to the first eyelash of sunlight that comes over the mountain to greet everyone in the morning.  

Mrs. Paul is an artist and has a Master of Applied Arts Degree from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. She currently works full time as Community Health Rep for the Sechelt Nation and part time as Indigenous Faculty Advisor for Capilano University kalax-ay campus. She teaches traditional art classes outside those jobs and works on her hand carved Coast Salish designed red cedar resin tables. In 2020 she competed a scuba diving certification and plans to start the first Shishalh Nation Dive Team to help harvest seafood for her people and host annual ocean clean ups. 

Mrs. Paul have 25+ years’ experience, as a Coast Salish wool and cedar bark weaver. She has extensive experience; harvesting, processing, spinning and dying traditional materials. She has many years developing and disseminating curriculum surround Coast Salish weaving.

Mrs. Paul has learned about plant medicines from my father Thomas Paul since childhood. As a young adult she mentored under female Hereditary Chief Rhonda Schooner Sandoval where she learning how to harvest, prepare and preserve traditional plant medicines and remedies. She has started a medicine company called Domestic Shaman, which offers all natural, handmade, biodynamic cleaning products, teas, jams and salves to my local community.

She is a mother to five children (3 bio and 2 step) and lives and works on the Sunshine Coast in Shishalh Nation territory, 

She  completed the Indigenous Yoga Instructor Training Course in New Orleans with Native Strength Revolution.  She will start her yoga teaching practice online and work towards starting a sweatlodge style hot yoga. 

Kate Herrera Jenkins

Kate Herrera Jenkins

Kate Herrera Jenkins

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Birmingham, AL/ New Orleans, LA

Kate Herrera Jenkins (Shu-wah-mitz) is a member of Cochiti Pueblo.

She is the owner or Kiva Hot Yoga in Birmingham, AL, the owner of Iron Tribe Fitness in New Orleans, LA   and the founder of Native Strength Revolution.

 Kate attended Loyola University in New Orleans and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Music Therapy.  She moved to New York City in 1998.  There, her career with Music Therapy developed a love to serve kids with special needs and also developed a passion for working with the elderly.

She continued to serve the elderly through movement, music and recreation until 2008.  

In 2008, she discovered hot yoga and immediately wanted to share this healing modality with the world.  She attended 9 weeks of yoga teacher training in CA with Bikram Choudhury. She has Also studied Yin Yoga with Bernie Clark and Vinyasa with Ryan Leier. In 2010, she founded Kiva Hot Yoga in Birmingham, AL.  In 2014, she became affiliated with Yoga Alliance as a Registered Yoga School and started to certify yoga teachers,  Also in 2014, she and her husband, Kerry, former NFL player, opened Iron Tribe Fitness, a group fitness gym, in downtown New Orleans.  

Kate was a 3 term ambassador with lululemon athletica and this partnership led her create a powerful vision and goals which would eventually help create NSR.  

In 2014, Native Strength Revolution was born.  Through fundraising, NSR has been able to provide continuing ed opportunities for other Native Yoga teachers and now lead trainings specifically for Indigenous people.  

She loves staying active and learning new ways of moving.  In addition to yoga and weight-lifting, Kate loves long-distance running! She's always up for the challenge of a marathon or half.

She is currently pursuing her Ministry Leadership certificate at Highlands College in Birmingham and sees every moment as an opportunity in ministry.

Hilary Gunby

Elizabeth Sahkahtay Strong

Kate Herrera Jenkins

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Mescalero, NM

Hilary serves the Mescalero Apache Tribe in New Mexico. She has worked as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor at Four Directions Treatment and Recovery Center, practicing play therapy with Native children and providing counseling and classes to adults and families. Currently, she is the Elementary School Counselor at Mescalero Apache Schools and a certified kids’ yoga instructor. As an RYT-200, Hilary brings yoga to the adult community through the Wellness Center and Recovery Center. She also offers yoga to school staff, high school athletic teams and elementary students. Hilary’s greatest hope is to inspire tribal members to become certified yoga instructors through Native Strength Revolution so they can lead their people into health and well-being. In the mean time, she is beyond honored to be trusted in the roles of advocate and ally.

Elizabeth Sahkahtay Strong

Elizabeth Sahkahtay Strong

Elizabeth Sahkahtay Strong

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Red Lake, MN

Elizabeth is a member of the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota. She resides both on the Red Lake Reservation in upper Minnesota and in the metropolis of Minneapolis. She is joined by her four children and significant other. Elizabeth has been a student of yoga for almost a decade and recently completed her 200 hour Indigenous Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training in March 2020. She has a background in social work and community development, working as both a direct care service provider and as an administrator of various educational and cultural programs. One of her passions is language and cultural revitalization as she was one of the founders of the Waasabiik Ojibwemotaadiwin Immersion Preschool Program. Elizabeth aims to incorporate her yoga teachings into her overall wellness interventions at work and continues to incorporate a yogi lifestyle at home with her family.

Danielle Shay Harrison

Elizabeth Sahkahtay Strong

Elizabeth Sahkahtay Strong

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Farmington, NM