Dawn D Davis. Photo by Brooke Richardson (brookerichardsonphotography.com)

Dawn D. Davis “DawnDee”
Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant 2018
Cosmic Sister

“I am interested in asking ayahuasca about my role with peyote what the meeting of these two sacred plant medicines on my life path have to say to me, as an Indigenous researcher—and woman.” -- Dawn D. Davis

PhD Candidate, Peyotist, Mother
Date of Birth: 01/18/1977 (41 in ceremony)
Lives on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, Idaho

DawnDee was raised by her maternal grandparents in a multi-generational home in the Bannock Creek District of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation and is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. She was born to young parents and grew up with them fairly absent from her life. In her grandparents’ home, the predominate language was Shoshone and the smell of buckskin was as common as deer meat, potatoes, and peyote. DawnDee learned from her Granny how to take care of, use, and respect peyote, but she first experienced the peyote medicine in her mother’s womb.

Because she grew up with peyote in her grandparents’ home, DawnDee believes that having wild peyote available for herself and other peyotists is crucial. The urgency to defend and care for the wild Texas and Mexico peyote populations for the next several generations remains the core of DawnDee’s continued journey. She is working to build a thriving wild peyote population and a society that respects water, the first and most important medicine. She considers herself one of many Indigenous voices speaking on behalf of peyote. “I can no longer be passive about peyote’s depletion. As a peyotist, I feel I have a personal obligation to preserve it.”

As an undergraduate at Idaho State University, DawnDee studied the history of peyote and how it made its way to Fort Hall and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. She went on to the University of Arizona to earn a Master of Arts in American Indian Studies for her thesis, “The Preservation and Sustainability of the Peyote Sacrament in Reverence of the Native American Church,” a series of ethnographic interviews with Native American Church members and peyote salesmen (peyoteros) in several western states and Texas. She is now pursuing a PhD from the University of Idaho under the Water Resources Department, which allows her to study two of her most revered medicines, water and peyote.

During ayahuasca ceremonies, DawnDee says, “I am interested in asking one medicine (ayahuasca) about my role with another medicine (peyote) and what the intersectionality of the two means in my work as an Indigenous researcher—and woman.”

DawnDee is the mother to Lilianna BigTree Nolan (18) and Isla Rain Davis (5 months). Along with her husband, Dr. Cleve Davis, they run both Chokecherry MicroFarm and BigTree Environmental, LLC. All are Shoshone-Bannock Tribal members. The family resides on a microfarm in the Ross Fork District, where they raise registered Myotonic fainting goats and Scottish Highland cattle and grow a large garden that includes camas and chokecherries. “We try to grow our own food and make more with less,” DawnDee says. The family closely monitors the seasons and holds celebrations and ceremonies according to the moon cycles and spends time in Yellowstone National Park, Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, and other beautiful landscapes like Northern Patagonia and the Peruvian Amazon.

Cosmic Sister Plant Spirit Grant 2018
Women of the Psychedelic Renaissance Grant 2018
Ayahuasca Retreat: Temple of The Way of Light

March 2018