Program Date: March 8, 2024
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The roundtable, Indigenous Women in Architecture, aims to increase awareness of the contributions and creative works of Indigenous women in architecture. It is pioneered as the first collaboration of two SAH affiliate groups - SAH Indigenous Architecture affiliate group and SAH Women in Architecture affiliate group, in honor of the International Women’s Day, March 8, 2024, and as part of the program: Celebrating Women’s History Month. In the past, histories of architecture ignored women’s agency and the presence of female leaders, but more recently women’s work and its impact is more broadly recognized and studied across the discipline and culture. Indigenous architects of both genders have received even less attention with the exception of a few Indigenous male architects such as Douglas Cardinal, Johnpaul Jones, Louis Weller, David Sloan, Daniel Glenn, and Patrick Reid Stewart, although there are quite a few more. Only rarely are architects or architectural historians able to name an Indigenous woman architect. One exception is the American Institute of Architects’ recognition of a female Indigenous architect with the Whitney Young Award in 2018. Although most architecture schools’ required curricula include a survey of architectural history, until recently, most of these survey courses focused on the Western canon and male architects. But now, architectural educators are re-educating themselves in search of a broader, more complete and accurate, diverse, equitable, and inclusive history to present to their classes.

Perhaps one of the first Indigenous women in North America to be trained in architecture was Rina Swentzell. She has written and spoken about deciding that it was clear to her that going into a standard architectural professional practice was not her path. Therefore, she earned an advanced degree in American Studies–no programs or degrees in American Indian or Native American Studies were offered at that time--and built a career writing about Indigenous architecture and place. Swentzell frequently pointed out that traditionally the making of architecture for many Indigenous communities was primarily the responsibility of women. In some cases, men assisted, but in fact, women were in charge. Although we mourn Swentzell’s recent passing, today an increasing number of Indigenous women practice architecture in a broad range of ways. The speakers in this roundtable will address their own paths and practices in architecture, barriers they face or have faced, and their efforts to mentor all Indigenous architects. They will also present their positions regarding Indigenous design, their values, relationship to place, sustainability, and resistance to colonialism. These presentations will stimulate audience questions and dialogue. This conversation will engage debates, broaden the field, and open horizons for further collaboration.


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Lynn Paxson, PhD.; Emeritus University Professor and Professor of Architecture in the Department of Architecture in the College of Design at Iowa State University, AICAE, AISE, edra. 

Dr. Paxson, recognized for her work diversifying the architecture curriculum through the incorporation of Indigenous cultures and issues is now working with colleagues on an exhibition of Contemporary Pueblo Architecture, and a co-edited book on Indigenous Architecture


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Geraldene Blackgoat, (Diné) CEO and Designer of Blackgoat Design Co., and adjunct lecturer at University of New Mexico School of Architecture & Planning.

Mrs. Blackgoat’s research and professional experience focuses on elevating culturally responsive and community-based design in the built environment through community engagement and architectural design.

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Cynthia Figueroa-McInteer, (Laguna Pueblo) First registered Indigenous Woman Architect in New Mexico, Retired Architect, NM President of AIA NM (2020), AICAE.

Figueroa-McInteer holds an MArch from UNM, is Owner/operator Figueroa-McInteer Architecture and managed the Facilities Strategic Planning Department at Sandia National Laboratories until she retired.

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Michael Fredericks, (Alaska Native of Yup’ik descent), Principal + Strategic Engagement, SALT, AK. 

Michael was born and raised in Anchorage, she has leveraged her architectural training (MArch) into a specialization in complex stakeholder, strategic engagement and leadership development.

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Anne Lawrason Marshall, RA, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Architecture and American Indian Studies at University of Idaho.

Dr. Marshall is Founder and Co-Chair of the SAH Indigenous Architecture Affiliate Group. Her research focuses on tribal museums and cultural centers.

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Eladia Smoke, KaaSheGaaBaaWeak, (Anishinaabekwe from Obishikokaang, Lac Seul, First Nation), Third Indigenous woman licensed in Canada and the first Anishinabekwe, Principal Architect, Smoke Architecture Inc., OAA, OAQ, MAA, FRAIC, LEED®AP

KaaSheGaaBaaWeak, Eladia Smoke founded Smoke Architecture and taught at Laurentian’s McEwen School of Architecture. She is. A founding member of RAIC’s Indigenous Task Force, Eladia represented Canada at the 2018 Venice Biennale Unceded exhibition.

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Anna Sokolina, PhD is an architect, curator, Routledge featured author, Founding Chair of SAH Women in Architecture AG, IAWA Honorary advisor, H-SHERA Advisory Board member, recent books: The Routledge Companion to Women in Architecture (2021, 2024) and Architecture and Anthroposophy (2001, 2010, 2019).

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Jason Tippeconnic Fox (Comanche/Cherokee), Architectural Historian, Idaho State Historic Preservation Office

Dr. Tippeconnic Fox is Founding Co-Chair of the SAH Indigenous Architecture Affiliate Group. His research centers on educational architecture built by and for Native Americans.