We are Zaniyan

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In Lakota, Zaniyan is:

“being in a state of health or wholeness”

Zaniyan Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to healing and serving the earth. We are creating strategic partnerships and cooperatives of families, tribes, and businesses to share resources to achieve our goals.

 Our mission is teaching and learning from the wisdom of the elders and the traditions of native peoples, as well as modern science, to promote health and healing, to support natural birth and breastfeeding, and to grow food and medicine.

Our focus is earth-centered experiential learning, the preservation of native and heritage plants, and sharing our knowledge of plant medicine and healing.

Learn more about our current partnerships and programs in Food Sovereignty, Self Reliance, and Earth-Change Preparation.

We are currently accepting nominations for additional board members and members of our Council of Elders and Advisory Council. We are seeking board members and others with non profit experience and an interest in food resiliency, food sovereignty, native medicine and plants, and with expertise in health and education.

Board of Directors


Daphne Singingtree  is the founder of Eagletree Herbs. A medicine maker with a focus on permaculture and urban homesteading, her heritage includes Lakota – Standing Rock Tribe.  She is a retired midwife and the author of Birthsong Midwifery Workbook, The Emergency Guide to Obstetric Complications, and Training Midwives: A Guide for Preceptors. Daphne is a pioneer in direct-entry midwifery, a founder and board member of the Midwifery Education and Accreditation Council, and she helped write the Oregon Midwifery law. She holds 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 Doctorate in Urban Studies and Master in Education degrees to work using collaborative action that empowers communities to learn from their practices. “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.” Clare brings to Zaniyan Center her decades of community development and activism work, from early feminism to community control of housing, solidarity with liberation movements, women’s literacy in South Africa, and educational equity regionally and internationally.


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



Advisory Board Member

Linda Black Elk is the  Ethnobotanist for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and 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 resistance camps. She  lives on the Standing Rock Reservation with her husband and three children and actively promotes tribal food sovereignty and health though the use of native plants. Linda is a member of the Cawa. She received her  MS at Montana State University, her BS at Miami University-Oxford, and her AA at Sitting Bull College.






Director of Health and Wellness

michaelMichael Vasquez. Michael is Chumash, Yaqui, and Hispanic. He is active in the permaculture and Native Food Sovereignty movements. Michael offers educational presentations, workshops,  online instruction, and instructor training programs to schools, corporate wellness programs, non-profit organizations,  and Native programs, as well as community, senior, and child wellness programs. Michael’s life is a tribute to experiential learning, beginning with apprenticing in cooking, training in three-, four-, and five-star restaurants, and then achieving and maintaining the level of Executive Chef for more than 30 years. Michael’s diet, herbal knowledge, and his training in martial arts and health became a way of life that led to 40 years of study, daily practice, and teaching in the Arts of Tai Chi, QiGong, and Yoga. He currently teaches Tai Chi and QiGong online and in workshops. Michael teaches at Eagletree Herbs and  is a staff herbalist at Superman Foods.



Director of Education

Me in GamaMichelle Maher, PhD, is Cherokee and Italian, and her doctorate is in Sociology of Education. Her professional focus has been in Social and Cultural Foundations of Education and School Counseling and Diversity. An instructor at Oregon State University, she teaches Multicultural Education and Counseling, and Social Justice Research Methods. Her experience includes Assistant Professor at Lewis and Clark College, and Principal of Northwest Youth Corps’ Outdoor High School, an environmental science-oriented magnet school. She is active in the Native American Church and other tribal activities.