Turtle Talk: Collectively Raising Indige-babies


Upcoming Events

We are excited to open registration for our first 2024 Turtle Talk: Collectively Raising Indige-babiesa new BTC Family to Family Real Talk free virtual conversation series. Through conversations with families raising Indigenous babies and children, we will think together about what it is like to nurture children in our world today. This series explores the many ways in which families help their children grow their Native identities and connections with land while navigating diverse systems of care and learning.

The four-part series begins on Friday, May 24, 2024, and continues through October 18, 2024. Each webinar is 1 hour followed by a 30-minute Q&A session with our parent panelists. This series is convened through the Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative (IELC) with Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz, Ed.D., IELC Institute Director and Co-Founder and Principal Consultant at First Light Education Project.

Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz, Ed.D

IELC Institute Director and Co-Founder and Principal Consultant at First Light Education Project.

Tarajean Yazzie-Mintz, Ed.D., is co-founder and principal consultant for First Light Education Project, a consulting collaborative built on Indigenous principles with a mission to strengthen historically underserved educational communities of practice across the United States. Starting as a Toddler 2 teacher, Tarajean has built her career as a teacher, researcher, and nonprofit leader, guiding numerous tribal and national projects that have contributed to strengthening systems of care and learning within tribal and immigrant educational communities, centering change efforts within families, local communities, and early childhood leaders and systems.

With expertise in early childhood education, Native education, teaching and learning, and community-centered research, Tarajean also serves as Institute Director of the Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative, a national institute implemented in partnership with the Brazelton Touchpoints Center of Boston, MA.
Episodes will be on Fridays, 3 – 4:30 PM EST/ 12 – 1:30 PM PST

Episode 1: How Land Sustains Indigenous Families’ Cultural Identities in Urban Settings

May 24, 2024

The places we grow up in, live, work, and play all shape who we become. This also includes the landscapes in which we become attached and/or are ancestrally attached. Join us as we discuss how land influences identity, parenting, and Native cultural resurgence in urban settings. Our conversation will be guided by exploring how land influences Indigenous identity, raising babies and children in urban contexts. How does this influence the way we raise our children? How do Native parents engage with whatever land they are living on to nurture and sustain their cultural identities? What are the wonderful ways in which children find their Indigenous selves?

Nick Terrones


Nick Terrones is a descendant of the Chumash people in Southern California (Los Angeles Basin), as well as of Mexican heritage.

These two identities have shaped Nick as an educator of young children propelling him to take on a social justice approach across multifaceted parts of his 17-year career and scholarly pursuits. Most recently Nick served as the program director of Daybreak Star Preschool, an entity of United Indians of All Tribes Foundation (Seattle, Washington). Prior to his work at Daybreak Star, Nick specialized in toddler development and education at Hilltop Children’s Center (Seattle, WA).

Nick’s contributions to the field of early learning and development includes serving as the Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative’s 2024 IELC Community of Practice Contributor, and authoring a wonderful book, “Can of Worms: Fearless Conversations with Toddlers” published by Redleaf Press. Nick’s passion for strengthening early learning is demonstrated by his emergent scholarship on Indigenous Resurgence through land-based curriculum and learning in early learning settings.

Nick is currently completing a Masters in Indigenous Education at Arizona State University.

Heather Puri (Ama Gyet da Łguwaalksik)


Heather is a mother to two boys – Rihaan 8 and Maahir 6
Heather is focused on immersing her family and community in many areas of cultures indigenous to what is now Washington, Alaska and Canada’s Pacific Northwest; including bringing Native Youth Olympics to Seattle, performing with Tsimshian Haayuuk dance group, learning the Tsimshian language – Sm’algyax, and much more.
She has many years of marketing and fundraising experience working with large Art and Cultural Non-profits, including ACT Theatre in Seattle, Houston Ballet, Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver. Tired of helping to make art for mostly rich white people and having two small children to raise, she decided to take her years of non-profit management experience, including her MBA, and use her colonial skills and knowledge to allow her people (and all Indigenous and Descendants of Slaves) to achieve their goals. To reach this end she has started ‘Tseen LLC, a small business focused on bringing culturally relevant experiences to her community.

Karissa Keir-Ficken


Karissa is of the Bald Eagle clan and a member of the White Earth Nation, living in Minneapolis. She is the mother to one beautiful little girl who is almost three years old.

Karissa graduated in 2021 with a Bachelor of Art in Ojibwe Language and Indigenous Studies and a minor in Social Justice. She is currently enrolled in a program at Fond Du Lac Tribal College, seeking a degree in Early Childhood Education. In addition to being a student, Karissa is a preschool teaching assistant in an Ojibwe Immersion classroom at Wicoie Nandagikendan.

Episode 2: September 13, 2024

Episode 3: September 27, 2024

Episode 4: October 18, 2024

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Babies and children, families and communities do the research on what it takes for them to flourish. Listen with us to what they’ve been learning. Watch a webinar. Check out the Indigenous Early Learning Collaborative. Join the Brazelton Touchpoints Center Learning Network. Join the conversation.

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