Elder, Seneca Nations, Snipe Clan
Yvonne Thomas was the closest collaborator and supporter of her late husband, celebrated Cayuga Hereditary Chief and culture-bearing elder Jacob Thomas.
Yvonne worked along side Chief Thomas for over 25 years as he fostered and enriched traditional Haudenoshaunee (Iroquoian) culture. As co-founder and principal administrator for Jake Thomas Learning Centre (JTLC), Yvonne collaborated on the creation and implementation of the JTLC’s core projects and programs, which include on and off site language classes, traditional lifestyle/knowledge workshops and a publication roster featuring hundreds of titles. Often working behind the scenes, Yvonne helped record, transcribe, preserve and catalogue much of the JTLC’s irreplaceable cultural collection.
A gifted culture-bearer in her own right, Yvonne has given lectures and demonstrations at institutions like the Iroquois Indian Museum (New York), the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago) and the McMichael Canadian Collection. She is able to read, write and speak Mohawk fluently, and is also a Traditional counselor and healer.