About the Indigeneity Conversations team

About the Team

Indigeneity Conversations is hosted by Bioneers Indigeneity Program Directors Cara Romero (Chemehuevi) and Alexis Bunten (Unangan/Yup’ik), professionally recorded via Stepbridge Studios and home studio set-ups, and produced by Bioneers’ award-winning media team.

Hosts

Cara Romero (Chemehuevi), Co-Director of the Bioneers Indigenous Knowledge Program, possesses a background rich in Indigenous cultural studies, fine art and documentary photography and videography, traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) workshops, protection of indigenous intellectual property, conservation of indigenous cultural resources, fundraising, grantwriting, marketing, and the formalization of the Bioneers Indigeneity Program. Cara’s earned degrees in Cultural Anthropology (University of Houston), Fine Art Photography (Institute of American Indian Arts) and Photography Technology (Oklahoma State University). Prior to coming on board with Bioneers, Cara served as the first Executive Director of the Chemehuevi Cultural Center. She was an elected member of the Chemehuevi Tribal Council from 2007-2010, and became the Chairman of the Chemehuevi Education Board and Chairman of the Chemehuevi Early Education Policy Council.

Cara is a highly accomplished photographer/artist. View her work at cararomerophotography.com.

Alexis Bunten, Ph.D., (Unangan/Yup’ik), Co-Director for Bioneers’ Indigeneity Program, has served as a manager, consultant and applied researcher for Indigenous, social and environmental programming for over 15 years. After receiving a BA in Art History at Dartmouth College, Alexis returned to Alaska, where she worked at the Sealaska Heritage Institute, and the Alaska Native Heritage Center in programming. Subsequently, Alexis earned a PhD in Cultural Anthropology at UCLA, and has served as the Project Ethnographer for the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) project, and as a Senior Researcher at the FrameWorks Institute.

Alexis is an accomplished researcher, writer, media-maker, and curriculum developer. She has published widely about Indigenous and environmental issues, with articles in American Indian Quarterly, the Journal of Museum Education and American Ethnologist. Her 2015 book, So, how long have you been Native? Life as an Alaska Native Tour Guide” won the Alaska Library Association Award for its originality, and depth. In addition to writing, Alexis has contributed to several Indigenous-themed productions, including co-producing and writing the script for a documentary nominated for the Native American Film Awards. Alexis has developed educational material for both formal and informal learning environments including university level-courses as well as lifelong learner curriculum.

Artwork

Mer Young creates the artwork for Indigeneity Conversations.

Tongva (Long Beach), Descendant of Chichimeca & Mescalero-Chiricahua Apache Tribe Mer Young is an Indigenous published artist who has created a body of artwork manifested in collages, drawings, paintings, and founder of Mausi Murals public artworks. Young’s artworks aim to inspire, celebrate and elevate repressed indigenous, first nations and native cultures and women of color.  Her works also focus on matters of immigration and the uprising to justice, equality and complete freedom of Black Lives.

Young’s works have been included in numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally. Her public art works can be found in the East Village Arts District of Long Beach, CA, in The Sixth and Ninth District of Long Beach, CA, in The City of Glendale, CA, The City of South Pasadena, The City of San Pedro, The City of Paramount, The City of Anaheim and in the Art District of Los Angeles.

She is a current member of The National Foundation of Independent Artists (NFIA), she holds Associate Degrees in Fine Arts and Liberal Arts from Long Beach City College and received her Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree from The University of Southern California.

Behind the Scenes

  • Executive Producer: Kenny Ausubel
  • Producers: Cara Romero and Alexis Bunten
  • Senior Producer: Stephanie Welch
  • Associate Producer and Program Engineer: Emily Harris
  • Consulting Producer: Teo Grossman
  • Assistant Editors: Brandon Pinard and Abe Costanza
  • Studio Engineers: Brandon Pinard and Theo Badashi
  • Tech Support: Tyson Russell
  • Web Design: Megan Howe

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