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November 9, 2023

Welcome Yaya and Emma to our Wild Foods and Medicines Team!

Welcome Yaya and Emma to our Wild Foods and Medicines Team!

Our Wild Foods and Medicines team is expanding as our work continues to grow. Our program coordinator Mariana Harvey is taking on a new role as Tribal Relations Lead and is taking the summer off to be with her new baby boy! We are so honored to hire Yaya Odell, our new program coordinator. Emma Johnson, from the Cowlitz tribe, is joining us through September as an intern. Learn more about them here! 

Kelly Yaya Odell (She/They)

Kelly ‘Yaya’ Odell is an auntie, gardener, beader, and educator. They grew up as a guest on Squaxin Island and Nisqually land here in Olympia, WA. Their grandfather’s family descends from the Mohawk Nation, from a place called Kanatsiohareke (place of the clean pot), and other corn peoples of the South East. They also descend from Irish/Scottish ancestors, and they are currently trying to learn Scottish Gaelic. Their mother’s love of gardening, and their grandmother’s love of corn started their gardening journey, which evolved into a love of learning about Native plants of the PNW. They feel ecstatic to return home to this place where they befriended the cedars, ferns and nettles in their backyard as a kid. They are humbled and ecstatic to join the Wild Food and Medicines team. Yaya loves stories and the many forms in which people share stories as well as cooking and feasting with community and sharing laughter with those around them. GRuB already feels like home. 

Emma Johnson

Emma (she/her) is a Cowlitz tribal member and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in sociocultural anthropology at Portland State University. She was first introduced to GRuB in the spring of 2021 through taking virtual teaching trainings with fellow Cowlitz employees. Emma found so much joy in what she was gaining from the teacher trainings that she pursued and received a Na’ah Illahee food sovereignty grant to support her internships with both GRuB and her Tribe’s garden program this summer. Emma has a background in traditional foods revitalization and plans to utilize what she gains from GRuB to develop food sovereignty materials for Cowlitz. She hopes to support tribal food sovereignty initiatives for Indian Country throughout her personal and professional life.

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