Octavius is a cultural advisor at Zuni (A:shiwi) who plays a crucial role in Zuni site protection and preservation projects. As an elder and a leader of the Zuni Tribe’s Cultural Resources Advisory Team (CRAT), Octavius surveys traditional cultural properties and provides consultation on their treatment, as well as on matters related to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Octavius is head of the traditional Zuni medicine group and the Galaxy Society, and he has most recently served as a religious advisor for the Bears Ears National Monument Inter-Tribal Coalition. He is also a master jeweler, specializing in needlepoint jewelry.
Octavius served as a collaborator in the production of a 2006 film produced by the Zuni Cultural Resource Enterprise titled, “Then, Now, and Forever: Zuni in the Grand Canyon.” One of the traditions of the A:shiwi people is making a pilgrimage through the Grand Canyon to shrines, settlements, and tribal sites. For decades, this ritual was prohibited by the National Park Service, until the route was reclaimed by the A:shiwi in the ’70s. This film follows Octavius Seowtewa and Zuni rain priests as they make this sacred journey down the Colorado River. This is the first time the migration was documented on film.
Octavius has served as a scholar on many of Crow Canyon’s travel seminars where he creates opportunities for program participants to bring their own experience into discussions of identity and place.