David P. Johnson
David is a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Shawnee, Oklahoma. David and his daughter Tina lived on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation at Hogansburg, New York for approx 10 years. David is the founder of SJRIHEC. It has been his dream and commitment for over 20 years. It began with scraps of paper, personal notes, a wonderful compilation of Native American tradition, philosophy and lesson plans. He has made this dream come true through hard work and dedication peppered with a sense of humor to help when things get difficult.
David is a Veteran and achieved the rank of Sergeant in the U.S. Paratroopers, 101st Airborne, and 187th RCT.
David "Big Bear" Johnson spent 12 years in New York learning plant recognition, processing, use and preservation. He was trained in survival skills and ecology practices from the Native American perspective. This training was his University work, which was added to a life long study of the local area, its people and Native American life.
David is a respected leader and is committed to promoting understanding and education about Native American philosophy, history, life and community. . He was the Traditional Leader at opening ceremonies for the inception of DQ University, Davis, CA.
David is always willing to help prepare the grounds for local gatherings, to work with and help elders and youth. He is on the Board of Trustees for the Literacy Interactive foothill Team (LIFT) in Auberry, California. He is an artist who creates original sculptures in bone, steatite and wood. He also creates original jewelry.
The new Learning Center at Chawanakee School once again is due to the hard work and dedication of David. He is committed to help youth grow, understand, find their history and gain self-respect. His understanding of the diversity of Indian people in the region and the need for a curriculum that goes beyond local history is an example for respect and acceptance. His commitment, dedication and hard work are an example for all whose lives he touches.