We are a small team of talented, knowledgeable individuals with a wide range of skills and experience. We love what we do and we do it with passion. We look forward to working with our Chumash community and seeing you at our programs and events.
Cultural Director, Credentialed Samala Language Teacher
Nakia is deeply rooted in our culture and traditions. She is a traditional singer and cultural practitioner. She was raised on the Chumash reservation and has a Master’s degree in Cultural Sustainability from Goucher College.
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Culture Department Administrative Assistant
Kelsie provides administrative support to the Culture Department and the Elders’ Council. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Boston University.
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Culture and Language Programs Manager
My name is Emma Lombardi, and I was born and raised in Santa Barbara, where I currently live with my husband and 2 children. I hold a Master of Social Science with a focus on Nonprofit Resource Development from Antioch University. I am excited to work as the Culture and Language Programs Manager for the Culture Department. I am passionate about my nonprofit work and pride myself on helping my community. Growing up disconnect from my Sʰamala Chumash tribal community, I found my passion for learning our culture, language, and traditions, later in life and hope to continue to foster all I learn in future generations.
Kathleen Marshall – Kuši
Credentialed Samala Language Teacher
I am a mother, wife, grandmother and daughter. My parents are Teresa and Miguel Lopez. I grew up on the reservation. I got involved with language and culture when I sat on the Education Committee. We worked hand in hand with Dr. Applegate on creating our dictionary. I then became a language apprentice under Dr. Applegate and have been learning and teaching the language ever since.
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Culture Program Assistant Manager
I have been an educator for the past 23 years and hold a Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education from Brandman University. I have classroom experience with ages 3 to 12, managed and mentored middle school and high school students and last, I have also managed and helped run many different summers camp programs. My father was in the Navy, so I have lived in many different parts of the world and truly understand what it means to be flexible. My mother’s family was born and raised in the Santa Ynez Valley, so I have always considered the valley to be my home base.
Hannah Rae Lent
Programs Coordinator Assistant
Haku, my name is Hannah and I am sʰamala Chumash as well as Mono Lake Paiute and Yokut. I have my Associates Degree in recreation management as well as a Bachelor’s degree in American Indian Studies from Arizona State University. I’m excited to be back home working in my community, a community I have been a part of my whole life. I grew up immersed in all my cultures, traveling playing hand game as well as singing traditionally.
Levi šičwat Zavalla
Community Language Teacher
Haku – My name is Levi Zavalla. I am a Sʰamala Chumash community member and also from the Maidu and Chemehuevi tribes. Culture has been a part of my life from a very young age as a singer and dancer. I am grateful for this job as it allows me to practice our old ways every day. This is why I am proud to work for our culture department.
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Language and Culture Teacher
Ma ktɨ ka Tom Lopez
Alapalaxulapu, AlapTipu Rancheria
My name is Tom Lopez, I’m from Santa Ynez and Tipu Rancheria which is Northern Chumash, San Luis Obispo. I work for the culture, native garden and language department. I’ve worked here since Dr. Lovey started the education department, camps for the youth and field trips to Santa Cruz Island. Later, I started language when Dr. Richard Applegate gave the first classes, then I became part of the language and culture program. I have been involved with the Chumash Maritime, paddling the tomol, repairs and building new tomols. My involvement with the community is to continue sharing this great culture with its history, ceremonies, making regalia and teaching the language.
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Culture and Language Teacher
Haku yila’ maktɨ ka Tani A’lish Zavalla
(Hello all, my name is Tani A’lish Zavalla)
I grew up on the Santa Ynez Chumash reservation with a strong Cultural upbringing. I am a traditional singer and dancer. I come from the Zavalla and the Kahn families. I received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Kinesiology Exercise Science/Health promotion and a Minor in Native American Studies from Humboldt State University. I have worked for the tribe on and off for over 7 years, beginning with teaching traditional handgame to tribal youth, Camp Kalawashaq, and currently for the Culture Department as a Culture/Language Teacher. On my spare time I enjoy making ribbon skirts, family BBQs on the rez, attending powwows/big times, spending time with my two dogs, and traveling. I love working for the Culture Department and serving my Sʰamala Chumash people.
Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org