Native Cosmos | Heard Museum

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sand painting of sacred Navajo spirit beings lined up holding hands in front of a night sky
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Native Cosmos

Join the museum in collaboration with ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts for an exploration of Native Cosmology. Dr. Henry Fowler (Diné), Wanda Dalla Costa (Cree), and Michael Connolly Miskwish (Kumeyaay), will discuss Native Cosmology and the significance for us today in our relationships with each other, nature, and the built environment. How can lessons from the past provide solutions for the future in how we manage our environments so that we may continue to grow and prosper?


Dr. Henry Fowler is from Tonalea, Arizona. He is a member of the Navajo Tribe. He is the Chair of the Diné Studies department of Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint, New Mexico and an associate professor of Diné Studies and Mathematics. Mr. Fowler is born for Bitter-water and born into Zuni-Edgewater; his maternal grandparents are the Many Goats, and his paternal grandparents are the Red-running-into-the-water.Dr. Fowler is the co-founder of the Navajo Math Circles. The Navajo Math Circles provides teacher workshops for grades K–12 and works with over 40 mathematicians to promote math education for students of the Navajo Nation. His research interests lie in the area of Ethnomathematics. Dr. Fowler’s passion is promoting math literacy and advocating for social justice through mathematics. He strongly supports relevant cultural materials to guide instruction.

Wanda Dalla Costa, AIA, LEED A.P. is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation and has spent nearly 20 years working as an architect with Indigenous communities in North America. Dalla Costa was the first, First Nation women to become an architect in Canada, and was recently invited to the Venice Biennale (2018) to be part of the Unceded team, along with 18 other Indigenous architects from across North America. Dalla Costa holds a joint position at ASU (design + construction). Her interests include co-design methodologies, Indigenous placekeeping and climatic resiliency of vernacular architectures. She holds a Master of Design Research in City Design from SCI-Arc and a Master of Architecture from the University of Calgary. Her company, Redquill Architecture ( is based in Phoenix.

Michael Connolly Miskwish is a citizen of the Campo Kumeyaay Nation. He has authored many paper so on tribal economies, Kumeyaay history and resource management. He has three published books on Kumeyaay history and cosmology. He has curated exhibits on Kumeyaay culture and history for the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Man in San Diego, California. In 2006 he was the recipient of the John Montgomery Education Award by the Congress of History in San Diego and Imperial Countries, and, in 2017 was inducted into the Kumeyaay Kuseyaay Association. He is an adjunct faculty in American Indian Studies at San Diego Sate University. He served 17 years in elected office in the Campo Kumeyaay Nation. He currently consults with tribal Governments and governmental agencies on topics of economics, resource management, taxation and education. He continues to write and lecture on Kumeyaay history and culture.

Pictured: “Night Chant” Joe Ben, Jr. (Navajo). Sand, Malachite, Lapis Lazul, Gold, Ochre. Bequest of Ann B. Ritt, 4690-45, Heard Museum Collection.

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Event Details

Friday, August 23
9:30 am – 11:00 am

Cost: Free

Steele Auditorium

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