About Us

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Zaniyan Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to healing and serving the earth.

The word “Zaniyan” is a Lakota word meaning being a state of health or wholeness. Our mission is learning and teaching from the wisdom of the elders, traditions of native peoples, as well as modern science, in promoting health and healing, supporting natural birth & breastfeeding and in growing food and Medicine.

Our focus is on earth centered experiential learning,  preservation of native and heritage plants and knowledge of plant medicine and healing. Food Sovereignty/Self Reliance and  Earth-Change Preparation

We are creating strategic partnerships and cooperatives of families, tribes and businesses to share resources to achieve our goals.

Learn more about our current partnerships and programs.

Board of Directors                                                                                Staff


Daphne Singingtree  8933460_origis the founder of Eagletree Herbs, is a medicine maker with focus on permaculture and urban homesteading. Her heritage includes Lakota – Standing Rock Tribe,  She is a retired midwife, the author of the Birthsong Midwifery Workbook, The Emergency Guide to Obstetric Complications, and Training Midwives: A Guide for Preceptors. A pioneer in the direct entry midwifery, she was a founder and a board member of the Midwifery Education and Accreditation Council, helped write the Oregon Midwifery law. She has a BA in Organizational Management, and her Master’s is in Education with a concentration in Learning Technology. You can read more about her at daphnesingingtree.com

Vice Chair

clareprofileClare Strawn, PhD puts her PhD in Urban Studies and Master’s in Education to work using collaborative action that empowers communities to learn from their practices. She has decades of community development and activism from early feminism to community control of housing, solidarity with liberation movements, women’s literacy in South Africa, and educational equity regionally and internationally. “I am a bridge builder; creativity and innovation live at the edges, where different worlds meet. Spanning resources, building capacity through partnerships, and healing social divides through connection bridge the road of my diverse life and academic experiences.”



Jerry Russell, PhD is a long-time proponent of community-centered agricultural models and permaculture education. With his wife Janet, he owns and supervises three organic farms in the Eugene area, which are rented to a variety of organic farmers and food businesses. They also homestead at Peacock’s Feast Farm near Alvadore, where they have dairy cows and lots of chickens, and serve as hosts to Wwoofers and other interns. Jerry has also served on the board of Community Supported Shelters.  He completed a PhD from the University of Oregon in cognitive psychology, and an MSEE degree from Stanford University. He was a co-founder, engineer and staff scientist with Electrical Geodesics, www.egi.com. He is currently a blogger, podcaster and webmaster at www.postflaviana.org

Board Member

Linda Black Elk is the Ethnobotanist for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. An instructor at Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, ND where she teaches bio remediation and ethnobotany. She is the leader of the Medic/Healer Council for the Standing Rock NoDAPL protest camps. She  lives on the Standing Rock Reservation with her husband and three children. She a member of the Cawa She received her  M.S., at Montana State University her  B.S., Miami University-Oxford and her A.A., Sitting Bull College. She currently is very active in promoting tribal food sovereignty and health though the uses of native plants.

Director of Health and Wellness

Michael Vasqmichaeluez life is a tribute to experiential learning starting with apprenticing in cooking, training in 3,4,5 Star restaurants and attaining the level of Executive Chef for more than 30 yrs. Diet, herbal knowledge, and internal martial and health training became a way of life that lead to 40 years of studying /daily practice/teaching experience in the Arts of Tai Chi/QiGong/ Yoga. He offers educational presentations, workshops,  online instruction, and instructor training programs to schools, corporate wellness, non-profit organizations,  Native programs, community, senior, and child wellness programs. He is active in the permaculture and Native Food Sovereignty movements. His heritage includes Chumash and Yaqui, as well as Hispanic. He currently teaches Tai Chi/QiGong both online and workshops, is a staff herbalist at Superman Foods, and teaches at Eagletree Herbs.

Director of Education
Me in GamaMichelle Maher, Ph.D
professional focus has been in Social and Cultural Foundations of Education; School Counseling and Diversity. Her heritage includes both Cherokee and Italian, and is active in the Native American Church and other tribal activities. Her Ph.D. is in Sociology of Education. She teaches Multicultural Education & Counseling, and Social Justice Research Methods at Oregon State University, and was an assistant professor at Lewis and Clark College, and a Principal of Northwest Youth Corps’ OutDoor High School, an environmental science oriented magnet school.

We are currently accepting nominations for additional board members and members of our Council of Elders or advisory council. We are seeking board members with non profit experience and an interest in Food Resiliency, Food Sovereignty, Native Medicine and Plants, Health and Education expertise.