Iowa tribe of kansas and nebraska

Arts and Culture Committee


Sydney Campbell Maybrier Pursel

 Aha. Miné nyinki Sydney Pursel iganye ki. Kiraje munje nyi ki. Hello. My name is Sydney Pursel. I am a member of the Bear Clan. While I grew up in Kansas City, my great-grandfather Emil Campbell and Grandmother Shirley Campbell made sure I was connected to my Ioway heritage and culture through powwows and community events. My father, Phillip Pursel, is an artist who does painting, screen-printing, photography, beadwork, leatherwork, moccasin-making, and more. Because of this, my connection to my Ioway culture has primarily been through the arts. I joined the Arts and Culture Committee because I am passionate about revitalizing and teaching others about our tribal traditions, culture, and art.


I received my MFA in Expanded Media at the University of Kansas in 2017 and my BFA in Painting from the University of Missouri in 2011. I am an interdisciplinary artist specializing in interactive and socially engaged projects that take form as sculptures, paintings, performances, and video art. Through art, I explore personal identity drawing from my Indigenous and Irish Catholic roots. My projects are used to educate others about tribal history, identity, diversity, assimilation, language, appropriation, food politics, and cultural revitalization. My work has been shown at public parks, universities, galleries, and alternative spaces in Columbia, MO; Fort Collins, CO; Fulton, MO; Harpers Ferry, IA; Iowa City, IA; Kansas City, MO; Lawrence, KS; Muncie, IN; New York, NY; San Francisco, CA; Santa Fe, NM; Seattle, WA; Sheridan, WY; Toronto, ON; Ucross, WY; Vermillion, SD; and White Cloud, KS.

Rebekka Schlichting

Rebekka Schlichting | Filmmakers | Firelight Media

As a member of the Iowa Tribe of KS & NE, I put my tribal affiliation on every art and endeavor I’m a part of. I do all kinds of beadwork, sew regalia, ribbon skirts, and create film. I’ve applied to many arts-related grants during my time as interim director and assistant director at Vision Maker Media, a Native non-profit that supports Native filmmakers. I’ve been in charge of running film festivals, giving feedback on creative content, and creating videos that uplift a positive Native narrative. I’m all about 

Narrative Sovereignty.


My most recent film, “Seed Warriors” is about Deb Echo-Hawk who leads the Pawnee Seed Preservation Society and works with Nebraska farmers to grow and revive ancient Pawnee corn varieties. “Seed Warriors” was made in partnership with Firelight Media, PBS, Center for Asian American Media, and Vision Maker Media.


I currently teach documentary and broadcast video journalism at the University of Kansas. In my spare time, I sell and give away beadwork and regalia. Here’s a link to my work: 

My biggest accomplishments in the arts have been awards for videos, beading a powwow princess crown for a Nebraska College powwow, beading items for the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, and being asked for beadwork for powwow committee fundraisers.

Brett Ramey

Aho wóre. My name is Brett Ramey and i’m a grandson of Punk and Mildred Campbell, son of Debbie Gray (Campbell).  I work with the tribe as the Climate Resilience Planner.


Some of the arts-based interests I can contribute come from a background in landscape design and implementation, especially leading community engagement processes to design and construct traditional food and medicine gardens in community spaces. I’ve been part of and led collaborative mural design projects, and arts-based education with young people- especially in outdoor settings.  Doing arts and cultural practices together can help heal our lands and strengthen our community.

In addition to those collaborative works, I have exhibited my photography in magazines, books, cafés, and the US Senate rotunda. Other relevant skills include experience in grant writing and grantmaking, and being connected to a vast network of arts and culture-based organizations throughout Indian Country and beyond.  I also enjoy growing and preparing traditional foods and medicines, and working with plant fibers.

Olivia Brien

 Aha, mine ráye Olivia Brien ki. Báxoje nyi ki. Kiraje bátha nyi ki. George Brien wakíhandañi hintuka ki. Russell Brien, iyúñe nyi ki. Hello! My name is Olivia Brien, and I am Ioway. I belong to the Beaver Clan. My great-grandfather was George Brien, who some of our elders may remember from their childhoods. I am the daughter of Russell Brien.


I do not claim any specific art form as my primary focus, but I enjoy being generally creative, no matter the medium. The arts have been a priority in my life since childhood. I hold a BFA in Acting and a BA in Music (Voice) from Oklahoma City University and played various instruments during my school days. I own a candle company, Opal Wax, where I conceptualize, design, and manufacture scented eco-conscious soy wax candles. During college, I worked in a theatrical scene shop, where I learned scenic painting skills, and in the costume shop, putting to use my self-taught seamstress skills. Recently, I completed my first ribbon skirt and am beginning to learn more involved ribbon work. 


While furloughed due to the pandemic in the spring of 2020, I began learning beadwork, specifically two-needle applique. Earlier this year, I was awarded a grant for beadwork from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs for their Folk Art Education Re-Envisioned program, which I participated in with Sydney Campbell Maybrier Pursel and Phillip Pursel. With my work as the Director of Communications for the tribe, I dabble in photography and digital design. I am currently in the early stages of learning how to brain tan hides with Pete Fee. 


I am interested in finding creative ways to share traditional art forms and other cultural practices with all tribal members. Art connects us to our past and inspires our future, but it expresses our present. I’m excited to see how the Arts and Culture Committee will create opportunities for Ioways to celebrate our collective culture and find deeper connections with one another, contributing to a bright and sustainable future for generations to come.

Kayla Kent - Mahi Ska Mi ‘White Knife Woman’ -

Hanwe Pi, my name is Kayla Kent, I am a member of the Buffalo Clan.

I was raised on the Ioway and Sac & Fox Lands for most of my young life. My father is DeRoin Kent, Buffalo Clan of the Ioway, Otoe-Missouria and Kickapoo nation. My mother is Kristy Keller, Bear clan of the Ioway Tribe, Sac & Fox & Potawatomi Tribe.


As an artist, I enjoy creating and learning new skill sets, I am a self-taught seamstress, focusing on ribbon skirts and applique techniques. I specialize in pen & ink, acrylic painting, poetry, and storytelling through the portrayal of dreams. My work is centered through a portrayal of vision work, identity, the contemporary native culture, study of the feminine form in which I aim to depict the crucial position women play in the role of creation and survival and bringing to light the effects of generational traumas and ways of healing.

Revitalization and keeping our culture alive through our artistic individualism is one of the many reasons I joined the arts and culture committee, as well as working with the many other talented members in bringing our land to life with their ideas and ambitions as well as creating our home as a place to flourish in. I am passionate about food culture as an alternative to healing the body and spirit with local plants, teas and medicines. As a personal passion, I study food sovereignty in comparison to the more western thought of nutrition.


My biggest accomplishments in the arts having been featured in ‘Tribal College Journal’, The University of NE Lincoln MMIW awareness campaign, The Lawrence Percolator for Climate Change, various shows and exhibits depicting the Ioway Tribal People, and a contributing piece for the Omaha Children’s Museum ’Generation of Hope’ exhibit. I am a graduate of Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS. I hold certificates in Personal Training, Sports Nutrition and Nutrition Coaching. I am currently studying Strength and Conditioning for Performance in Health at KU. As a member of the committee, I’d hope to be an advocate of the community’s ideas, whilst learning from the group, so we can further learn and grow as an even stronger society for our coming generations. 

Sarita Rivera Da Silva - Xra Eni Mi ‘Little Eagle Woman’

I am the proud daughter of Annie whose mother was Louise Barada which is where our tribal ancestry comes from. I have not always done things in a good way, today I can tell you I am 16.5 years clean and sober walking the Red Road.  I have three children Tommy, Christa, and Johnathan who all participated in pow wows and Native American ceremonies with me. I am a Northern Traditional Buckskin Dancer and my children danced as well in the arena. I stay culturally connected by practicing Native American ceremonies and traditional ways as I have been taught by my teachers and elders. Pete Fee my cousin brought me out into the pow wow arena on our Ioway 

Traditional pow wow grounds. We have brought out my son, my nephew in the same way in this arena at the Fall Encampment. I have worked with deer hides creating the regalia that I wear and my children, nephew have worn. I make moccasins, Northern Traditional leggings with fringes, beadwork, deer toe accessories for men’s regalia and medicine bags, just to identify a few things. I am now working on my husband’s regalia -Northern Traditional men’s dance regalia.  I hope to be of service in a good way to our tribe- Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska.


I am married to Larry Da Silva. Recently, I earned a Doctorate Degree in Education from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. My dissertation is titled “How Does a Native American Student’s Exposure to ‘Ways of Knowing’ Impact their Higher Education Success?” I am a substance abuse counselor and a developer/facilitator for the Virtual Native American Family Program for the Hazeldon Betty Ford Foundation, giving access to programming across the nation for families that have loved ones battling an addiction to alcohol and drugs. I am surrounded by love from my fur babies: Cisco (horse), Pancho (horse), Shunka (doggie); and up in Montana: Sara, Princess, and Star (horses).