Staff & Affiliates

Deana Dartt, PhD (Principal) is Coastal Chumash and Mestiza, descending from the indigenous people of the Californias. Her scholarly and professional work strives to address the incongruities between public understanding, representation and true acknowledgement of Native peoples, their cultures, histories and contemporary lives.

She earned her MA and PhD from the University of Oregon (go Ducks) and has held curatorial positions at the Burke Museum of Natural and Cultural History and the Portland Art Museum as well as teaching appointments at the University of Oregon, University of Washington, and Northwest Indian College. She recently completed a writing fellowship at the School for Advanced Research where she revised her book manuscript for publication titled: Subverting the Master Narrative: Museums, Power and Native Life in California. Deana serves on the boards of the Oregon Museums Association and the Confluence Project.

Exhibits Team

Headshot of Alan

Alan Ransenberg has more than 35 years of experience planning, designing, and implementing exhibits of all types. He is a wonderful listener, and he has honed his considerable skills in “thinking like a visitor.” Alan is intimately familiar with a wide variety of exhibit communication treatments, materials, and production processes. His designs are both ‘real’ and ‘buildable’ from the first concept sketches.


Tima Lotah Link is an Advertising Art Director who specializes in designing for California Native cultural publications, exhibits, public spaces, and magazines. Tima is also a Shmuwich Chumash cultural educator and traditional Chumash textile artist. She lectures and teaches for tribal organizations, educational institutions, non-profits, and governmental agencies.

Tima is a member of the California Indian Basketweavers’ Association and is featured in the book California Indian Baskets: San Diego to Santa Barbara and Beyond to the San Joaquin Valley, Mountains and Deserts (Vol 2). She received the 2012 Best in Show at the Autry American Arts Marketplace for her basketry, the First People’s Fund 2017 Community Spirit Award for her years as a cultural educator, and an Emmy for her work on the KCET series Tending the Wild.

Emily Tarantini (she/her) grew up in Southern California on Fernandeño Tataviam and Chumash traditional territories. She is a graduate of the Museum & Field Studies M.S. program at the University of Colorado, Boulder where she spent most of her time learning about repatriation, collections care informed by Indigenous perspectives, and community driven approaches to exhibit development and curatorial research. Before earning her degree, Emily contributed to repatriation efforts at numerous institutions including the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the United States Department of the Interior, and the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. Emily believes it is an honor to assist Indigenous communities with this important work however she can. More recently, she has also become involved in the process of co-curating exhibits with Indigenous community members at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History. Additionally, Emily is an advocate for the growing field of queer museology and inclusion of her own LGBTQ+ community’s perspectives in museums and archives. She is passionate about making museums more equitable and inclusive, especially in regards to communities who have been and continue to be historically mistreated and misrepresented by these institutions.

Image caption: Emily caring for a Maria Martinez ceramic vessel by conducting object condition reporting.

Decolonization Workshops

Brenna Two Bears, BA, is Navajo, Ho-Chunk, and Standing Rock Lakota from Black River Falls, WI and Flagstaff, AZ. She studied Art History & Visual Culture at Whitman College in Washington state with a focus on Tribal Museums and the Politics of Display. Her work in museums ranges from assisting her tribe with their first ever Ho-Chunk Museum & Cultural Center to most recently, curatorial intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She strives to uplift youth through art education, as well as prioritize Native voices within cultural institutions that house indigenous works. In addition to her work with Live Oak Museum Consulting, she is an educator in Tempe, Arizona.

Meranda Roberts is an enrolled member of the Yerington Paiute Tribe and Chicana. In 2018, she earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside in Native American History. Over the past few years, she has been working as a post-doctoral researcher at the Field Museum of Natural History, where she is developing content for the renovation of the museum’s seventy-year-old Native American exhibition hall. Meranda also recently co-curated the exhibition Apsáalooke Women and Warriors with tribal member and scholar Nina Sanders. Meranda’s passion lies in holding colonial institutions, like museums, accountable for the harmful narratives they have painted about Indigenous people. She is also dedicated to reconnecting Indigenous collection items with their descendants. Through the use of Indigenous methodologies and public history pedagogy, Meranda examines the harm colonialism continues to inflict on Indigenous communities and how public institutions can correct these wrongs.

David G. Lewis is a member of the Grand Ronde tribe, a descendant of the Santiam, Chinook and Takelma peoples of western Oregon. He has a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Oregon and is faculty in the Anthropology and Ethnic Studies departments at OSU. David is a past manager of the culture department at the Grand Ronde Tribe and helped design and open the Chachalu Museum at the reservation. He conducts dozens of presentations each year to numerous groups throughout western Oregon about tribal history and context and has curated numerous exhibits at local museums. He currently lives in Salem, Oregon with his family, and continually researches the colonial histories of the Oregon tribes, writing numerous essays for journals and for his blog The Quartux Journal at

Greg Archuleta is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. He is descended from the Oregon City Tumwater and Clackamas Chinook, Santiam Kalapuya and Shasta. He is a former administrator and policy and planning manager for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Today he works closely with the Tribe’s cultural departments to provide assistance related to the culture and history of the Grand Ronde Tribes of western Oregon. He provides community-based cultural arts classes related to traditional carving, Native art design, and basketry. These “Lifeways” classes have been ongoing for over 12 years. As an artist, he focuses on the Columbia River style art form. Today, Archuleta is the Cultural Policy Analyst for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and works on enhancement, education, and outreach activities related to the Cultural resources of the Tribe.

Heron Brae was born and raised in the southern Willamette Valley of Oregon, to white-identified parents uprooted and searching for belonging. Her experience as a mostly European heritage person also yearning to belong has lead her through a personal process of facing privilege and systems of power, and working to heal the ancestral trauma of leaving homelands, participating in colonization, and assimilation to a culture of white supremacy. 

Her life focuses on connection with an anti-oppression approach—connection to the land and plants, to all people across difference, to ancestral ways of living, and to her own self and body. Listening deeply is a key tool she brings to her work. 

Heron holds a BS in Botany and Ecology from the Evergreen State College. She is a co-owner of the Columbines School of Botanical Studies, based in Chanchiifin (aka Eugene, OR), where she spends much of her time in wild places teaching field programs in botany, ecology, herbalism, ethical wildcrafting, and wild food tending. These topics revolve around the goal of renewing our human connection to the land through direct, reciprocal relationships with wild plants. This necessarily includes building relationships with Indigenous people and supporting Native-led movements for sovereignty and decolonization. She participates in such places as the Run4Salmon with the Winnemem Wintu, and is also part of the Chinuk Wawa language community. 

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Nancy Judd is an internationally recognized artist, environmental advocate and teaching artist. For over 20 years she has been creating art exhibitions made from trash that engage people in conversations about how we live on the earth. Nancy exhibits her work in public airports and museums and one of her pieces, the Obamanos Coat is in the Smithsonian Museum’s permanent collection. In her work as a teaching artist, Nancy provides arts integration to students in classrooms and adults in training settings. Nancy’s work is inspired by the indigenous people around the globe who have cared for the earth for thousands of years. She asserts that by following their lead and working with them, we can collectively mitigate the impacts of climate change. Nancy explores her own privilege, colonized mindset and white/settler fragility and brings her personal experiences to all her trainings.

Rachael Carnes, Executive Assistant to Deana Dartt. For more than two decades, Rachael has sustained innovative programming for inclusion in the arts, education, and community. She founded an independent arts nonprofit organization in 2004, serving as its executive director for 15+ years, while developing innovative programs with school districts, municipalities, and state and federally-supported programs, and fundraising more than 200K, to bring the arts into the lives of children with and without disabilities. Rachael is a freelance journalist. Since the mid-1990’s, she’s written hundreds of engaging in-depth features on the arts, culture and human interest stories. Rachael is also an award-winning playwright, with productions and publications around the world. She’s thrilled to work with Deana, and to support the Live Oak community and mission.

Upper Willamette Stewardship Network

Jessi Pongratz was born and raised in Colorado (Hinono’ei, Tsitsistas, Nuutsiu, and Oceti Sakowin ancestral lands) and currently resides as a white settler in Oregon on occupied Kalapuya territory. Jessi devotes much of her time to compassionately serving various organizations and events in establishing operating values in humility, reciprocity and anti-oppression. She served as the interim executive director of the non-profit organization Aprovecho Sustainability Education Center overseeing the revisioning process and supporting the emerging leadership of women of color to launch a new non-profit organization that prioritizes the needs of local indigenous peoples and care of the land through a decolonization lens. Throughout this transitional phase she also oversaw the day-to-day operations and administrative tasks of the organization. Jessi also brings her commitment to social justice while serving as event coordinators for the annual Kindle Cascadia Ancestral Skills Gathering and the 2019 Northwest Permaculture Convergence. Jessi recently joined the Upper Willamette Stewardship Network Team assisting with administration tasks for the Live Oak year-long Principles of Decolonization Module Series.