:: NDAKINNA STAFF ::
- James Bruchac – Founder and Program Director of the Ndakinna Education Center
Jim is the son of well-known Abenaki author Joseph Bruchac. A licensed wilderness guide and ropes course instructor, Jim has been teaching tracking and various wilderness skills for the past twenty years. For more information, please visit Jim’s Website at www.jamesbruchac.com
- Joseph Bruchac – Executive Director
Joseph Bruchac lives in the Adirondack mountain foothills town of Greenfield Center, New York, in the same house where his maternal grandparents raised him. Much of his writing draws on that land and his Abenaki ancestry. He holds a B.A. from Cornell University, an M.A. in Literature and Creative Writing from Syracuse and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the Union Institute of Ohio. With his wife, Carol, he is the founder and Co-Director of the Greenfield Review Literary Center from which The Ndakinna Education Center evolved. For more information, please visit Joe’s website, www.josephbruchac.com
- Jesse Bruchac – Youth Camp Assistant Director
Jesse Bowman Bruchac (born 1972) Began worked as a guest performer and instructor at the Ndakinna Education for over twenty years. This year he has joined the Ndakinna staff as a full time instructor. He brings with him many skills that are close to our core mission including Native American storytelling and music. He is an accomplished musician with several albums of Native flute, drum and rattle music. Another new element that Jesse will bring to Ndakinna is is experticce in the Abenaki language. He is a fluent speaker and has been teaching it most of his adult life. Using simple interactive activities and songs, Jesse will introduce participants in camps at Ndakinna to the original Native language of Ndakinna (an Abenaki word meaning “our land.” Jesse is also skilled in outdoor skills, having attended The Tracking Project’s Hawkeye training throughout his youth in New Mexico, is certified in our ropes course and has taught along side his brother, Ndakinna director James Bruchac for decades.Among his notable accomplishments Jesse created and acts as webmaster of WesternAbenaki.com, a free online language learning portal. He has worked as composer for the operetta The Purchase of Manhattan (2015), a translator for the AMC hit show TURN (2014), a short film by Alanis Obomsawin When All the Leaves Are Gone (2010) and as translator, dialect/dialogue coach and composer for the National Geographic movie Saints & Strangers (2015), a film which includes over an hour of translated dialogue in the Western Abenaki language and two months of on set actor training and filming in South Africa with over two dozen actors. He has travelled throughout the United States teaching both the Abenaki language and culture. The Ndakinna Education Center and teaches wilderness survival classes. He also is an active martial artist, an instructor and black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
- Eric Jenks – Wilderness Instructor and Media Archvist
Eric has worked or volunteered at Ndakinna since 1998. He is skilled at animal tracking, wilderness survival, Native American Storytelling and photography. Eric has studied animal tracking and wilderness survivial under James Bruchac, Vince Walsh, Jim Halfpenny, John Stokes and others across the country. He is certified in wilderness first aid, and CPR. Besides working at Ndakinna, Eric has shared his skills at other locations in the area, including Camp Northwoods, at Skidmore College, and the Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops of Schuylerville. He has also worked as an outdoor educator for C5 Los Angeles while based in Hyattville, WY. Eric graduated from Skidmore College in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies concentrated in Biology and Music.
Executive Officers & Board Members
- Joseph Bruchac – Executive Director
Joseph Bruchac lives in the Adirondack mountain foothills town of Greenfield Center, New York, in the same house where his maternal grandparents raised him. Much of his writing draws on that land and his Abenaki ancestry. He holds a B.A. from Cornell University, an M.A. in Literature and Creative Writing from Syracuse and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the Union Institute of Ohio. With his wife, Carol, he is the founder and Co-Director of the Greenfield Review Literary Center from which The Ndakinna Education Center evolved. For more information, please visit Joe’s website.
- Jesse Bruchac – Treasurer
A graduate of Goddard College, Jesse Bruchac has worked extensively over the last 20 years in projects involving the preservation of the Abenaki language, storytelling, music and traditional culture. He is the creator and webmaster of the Abenaki Language site westernabenaki.com as well as the Greenfield Review Literary Center’s site focussing on American Indian writers nativeauthors.com. A traditional storyteller and musician whose specialty is the native flute, he is the founder of the Dawn Land Singers and has performed American Indian music at festivals and in concert throughout the United States, in Canada, and in several European nations. He performed at Woodstock 2 and as the opening act for The Grateful Dead at Highgate, Vermont. Most recently, he has been a featured performer at such festivals as the Champlain Valley Festival in Vermont, the Dance Flurry in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and the Old Songs Festival in Altamont, N.Y. He also performs frequently as a visiting artist in schools.
- Michael Lambert – Board Chair
Michael is originally from New York City and attended Queens College of The City University of New York where he received both his undergraduate (English and Communications) and graduate (Education) degrees. He retired from the Gloversville Enlarged School District in 2016 after 32 years of teaching Special Education and English. Michael’s lifelong interest in mythology led him, in 2002, to an association with the Joseph Campbell Foundation’s where he currently handles Rights and Permissions. Michael lives in a log cabin in the forest of Greenfield, NY.
- Dr. Nicola Marie Allain Board Secretary
- Mark Bolles – Board Member
Mark Bolles grew up in New Jersey near the Appalachian Trail where he developed a love of wildlife and outdoor activities including hiking and nature photography. This appreciation of the great outdoors prompted him to explore American landscapes and culture from coast to coast with particular interest in the eastern seaboard and Appalachian regions-often with camera in hand. Professionally, Mark worked first as a chef then began a photography career in 2000. While the culinary arts remain an interest, photography is now the full time endeavor with his business Creative Photo and Graphic LLC. Mark moved to the Saratoga region with his wife Suellen in 1997. Currently they live in Ballston Spa with their two children and a dog.
- Kendall Jeter Board Member
- Dr. Himanee Gupta-Carlson Board Member
Himanee Gupta-Carlson is a writer and associate professor at SUNY Empire State College. She grew up in Indiana as the eldest daughter of immigrants from India, and inherited from her large extended family in India passions for natural healing methods, growing healthy foods, and simple flavorful cooking. She serves on the planning committee for the Greenfield Farmers’ Market and as an active volunteer with the Saratoga Farmers’ Market and the Franklin Community Center, where she coordinates a community garden for food pantry clients, a gathering and distribution program of produce from local farmers to the food pantry, and weekly newspaper and newsletter articles on food and farming projects in the greater Saratoga area. Her book Muncie, India(na): Middletown and Asian America is anticipated to be released by the University of Illinois Press in spring 2018, and she currently is working on a second book exploring community connections between Hip Hop philosophies, local food movements and small scale farming. She also raises goats, chickens, ducks, and a wide array of produce with her husband on their farm, Squashville Farm, in Greenfield Center.
- Dr. Menoukha Case Board Member
Menoukha Case lives in the the lush mountainous area between the mid-Hudson and northern-Housatonic Rivers. She studies, teaches, makes art alone and with others, and gardens. She has an MA in Women’s Studies, an MA in creative writing, and a PhD in English, from the University at Albany. She works as an Associate Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies at SUNY Empire State College.
- Joseph A.E. Joubert
Joseph A.E. Joubert, known as Elie, is retired from 20 years active U.S. Naval service, with the rank of Command Chief Petty Officer. He received the Navy Achievement Medal awarded by the Secretary of the Navy. Elie served in a variety of Naval ships and stations throughout his career. After retiring, he established an additional career as NYS Division for Youth counselor at Tryon, N.Y., and was also house manager for ARC’s in Amsterdam and Saratoga Springs, NY. He takes exceptional pride in being an Abenaki Indian, born at Odanak Indian Reservation, P.Q., Canada. He also teaches the Abenaki language and culture in New York and New England. He is a very well respected Elder of his tribe and others of the W8banaki Confederation of Tribes.. He is trilingual, speaking French, English and the Abenaki languages.
- Simon Ouderkirk
Simon is a product of the New York State public education system, holding multiple degrees from the Binghamton campus. Since graduating he has worked across industries, becoming an award winning journalist, a father, and an IBM recognized analytics innovator. Simon currently works as a data scientist with Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com.
- Carol Bruchac (1942-2011)
Without Carol, we would not have Ndakinna (or for that matter, its Director, James). She was a constant source of guidance, organizational support, and wisdom. Along with her husband, Joe, she was the founder and Co-Director of the Greenfield Review Literary Center from which The Ndakinna Education Center evolved. Her vibrance, caring nature, and dedication to Ndakinna and her family will never be forgotten.