FRIDAY, May 3rd, 2024 | 6 PM



Non-Members: $10
Members: Free with RSVP


(From L-R) Darlene Troge, Donna Collins-Smith,
Tela Troge, Danielle Hopson Begun, and Rebecca Genia.
Photo Courtesy of Shinnecock Kelp Farmers.


The Shinnecock Kelp Farmers are working to save and preserve our shores through the application of traditional Shinnecock teachings and climate science. Did you know that right now kelp is actively working to heal our East End Waters? Learn how when we dive deep at this Knowledge Friday.

Darlene Troge, Donna Collins-Smith, Tela Troge, Danielle Hopson Begun, and Rebecca Genia are the multi-generational collective known as The Shinnecock Kelp Farmers. Enrolled members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, the women Farmers leverage their 10,000+ year-old traditional relationship with the sea and seaweed to capture carbon and nitrogen that has poisoned the waters of Shinnecock Bay and beyond. Join us as we learn how the embodiment and application of Indigenous wisdom is cleaning and healing our waters and laying the groundwork for green jobs on the East End.

The human carbon footprint is growing with each step we take and our waters are paying the price of overdevelopment. It’s good to know kelp is on the way. In the words of our Indigenous sisters, “Mamoweenene:” Together we move forward.

This program is presented in tandem with Christine Sciulli’s site-specific work, The Weight of Water along with various programs she has developed as platforms for discussions that emphasize a call to action in correcting the societal and environmental injustices related to water.

Named in memory of the estimated 1.8 million Africans resting in the Atlantic Ocean after escaping the Middle Passage from disease, murder, or suicide, The Weight of Water is featured in The Church’s exhibition Space – Sight – Line.

The work invites viewers into a safe and open space to reflect and asks the question: what can each of us offer to heal and repair the societal crimes and injustices originating by way of water?


TELA LORETTA TROGE, ESQ. Tela is SKF Director, a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, and a member of the Hassanamisco Nipmuc Tribe. She is fighting climate change through the Indigenous women’s group Shinnecock Kelp Farmers. She organized the Warriors of the Sunrise Sovereignty Camp 2020 to raise awareness about the plight of the Shinnecock people. Tela graduated from Michigan State University College of Law with a Juris Doctor and certification in Indigenous Law and Policy from the Indigenous Law Program. She has been fighting for tribal sovereignty for the past seven years as the attorney with the Law Offices of Tela L. Troge, PLLC. 


REBECCA GENIA Rebecca is a co-founder & board member of Shinnecock Kelp Farmers. She is an enrolled member of the Shinnecock Nation. Rebecca is a Mom, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother. She is a lifelong activist for native rights and land justice who cut her teeth with the American Indian Movement. Rebecca is the Co-chairperson of Graves Protection Warrior Society. Rebecca’s story is told in the documentary ‘Conscience Point’ which brings to light evidence of the great imbalance of power in the Hamptons that consistently points to land-use decisions favoring the wealthiest residents, at the expense of the environment and desecrating ancient burial sites.


DANIELLE HOPSON BEGUN Danielle is a Water Protector and mental health advocate. Danielle is the Communications Director, hatchery technician, and farmer at Shinnecock Kelp Farmers. She is an enrolled member of the Shinnecock Nation and resides on the territory. Danielle has her BFA in Communications and an MS in Mental Health Counseling. She is a social worker with Early Intervention programs.  Hopson Begun spends her Winter months chest-deep in Shinnecock Bay to mitigate the devastating effects of overdevelopment and repair historical injustices. 


DONNA COLLINS-SMITH Donna, Hatchery Director, is an enrolled member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, Shinnecock Elder’s Council member, former Tribal Council woman and member of the five multi-generational, indigenous women known as the Shinnecock Kelp Farmers. Donna has always had an interest in nature and learning ways to live sustainably while also tapping into the traditional customs of Shinnecock. This interest led to her work creating a Native Garden Project for the Shinnecock youth years ago, and now fuels her work as a Kelp Farmer doing the seasonal hatchery setup, microscopic kelp seed spool preparation, daily maintenance, water exchange and planting seedlings in the Bay to help restore the beautiful water of her childhood.


(View the events calendar here) The Church was established in 2019 by artists Eric Fischl and April Gornik. Housed in a deconsecrated 19th-century church, its doors were opened in April 2021. Our mission is to foster creativity and to honor the living history of Sag Harbor as a maker village. The East End represents an exceptional artistic legacy, spanning the practices of Indigenous art of several centuries ago, Abstract Expressionists of the mid 20th Century, and the many celebrated writers, makers, musicians, and visual artists of the recent past and current moment. Core programming includes visual art exhibitions, concerts and events, educational programming, workshops, lectures, and an artist’s residency.


The Church   

48 Madison Street   

Sag Harbor, NY 11963    




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