Author Topic: Nunutsi Otterson  (Read 659 times)

Offline cellophane

  • Posts: 16
Nunutsi Otterson
« on: February 12, 2021, 10:07:40 pm »
(I'm posting this under "Research needed" because I'm a new membeer, and because I'm only 90% sure they belong in the "Frauds" category.)

I first heard of Nunutsi Otterson here:
She calls herself "A Cherokee Elder, teacher, herbalist".

She's on the board of directors of Ihiya Biological Reserve, a privately owned nature preserve on San Juan Island, Washington. The main page was written by Otterson. The name of the preserve is explained in the main page, (, as "Cherokee for Reed, pronounced Ee-eye- ya or Eye-ee- ya". I would do some research to find out how a word is pronounced before using it, but that's just me. I couldn't find it in the online Cherokee dictionary project ( That introductory page is peppered with references to Cherokee traditions.

In her bio, Otterson thanks "my traditional Cherokee herbalist relatives". She herself is entirely of European extraction (I worked out her genealogy (from public genealogy sources. Nosy but necessary.) So I don't know what that means. Relatives by marriage, maybe? Does that in any way make her eligible to call herself "Cherokee"? In any case, calling yourself "Elder" is arrogant to say the least, no matter what her age.

The Patreon page ( for the Ihiya preserve offers as bonuses "Lifetime access to a growing collection of audio files of sacred indigenous "medicine songs" lovingly offered by Nunutsi, Eric, and Rowan Otterson."

The Facebook page for an organization called "Red Feather Lodge" ( says of Otterson, "Traveling from the Bay Area to Seattle every month to teach classes and individuals in Medicine Ways, Sweat Lodge and Sacred Fire, the 7 Sacred Woods & Prosperity Teachings, and Plant Spirit Medicine. She offers individual and group consultations for a wide variety of projects.", and "She has studied, practiced and taught traditional shamanic ceremonies for 35 years including Vision Quest, Medicine Pipe, Sweat Lodge, and ceremonial crafting. These indigenous prayerways all involve plants, and Nunutsi's knowledge has come directly from the plants themselves. She is dedicated to promoting what is currently known as Plant Spirit Medicine.
Coming from an eclectic lineage of indigenous teachers, Nunutsi currently works with Phyllis Bala, a colleague of Fleur de Mayo, one of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers."

(There's an unintentional link in the Facebook page to a lodge by the Grand Canyon with that name, with a genuine old-time Indian caricature sign in front. I don't think they're knowingly connected. I don't think Otterson knows how much they actually are connected. Appropriation repeats itself.)

A student of hers says (, "Through the greater community, I have studied shamanic practices with Nunutsi Otterson of Cherokee and Cree lineage, deepening my understanding of Native American practices in grounding through nature, ceremony and service."

Another student says ( she "is also a longtime student of earth-based wisdom ways as taught to her by Cherokee medicine woman Nunutsi Otterson. She is honored to be able to practice and share some of these teachings with her clients and students."

Another student says (defunct page, archived at claims "2 years training in Native American Energetics, completing a traditional Lakota Vision Quest in Shasta Mountain, CA and a 6 month Lakota sweat lodge training- via Nunutsi Otterson".


I'm all for nature preserves. If someone feels they want to frame a nature preserve with spirituality, more power to them. It's not cool to act like someone else's identity is your toy.