Marlena Allen

Cultural Researcher/ Engagement Facilitator

Marlena Allen, a proud member of the Navajo Nation, brings the spirit of her heritage to her work at TAWAW. Marlena’s journey is deeply rooted in the traditions and values of her people, guiding her in every endeavor. Her goal is to empower individuals through holistic practices and ancient wisdom. At TAWAW, Marlena leads cultural research and engagement, with a specialization in healing and child development spaces. Her goal is to honor heritage, uplift Indigenous communities, and create spaces that resonate with the spirit of the land and people.

Born into the esteemed Kinłichii’nii Red House, Tsé Ńjíkiní Cliff Dweller, Ma’ii Deeshgiizhinii — Coyote Pass (Jemez), and Tó Dích’íi’nii — Bitter Water clans, Marlena carries with her the wisdom and resilience of her ancestors, infusing her work with a profound sense of connection to the land and its stories.

Educated with an Associates of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education from Dine’ College and an Associates of Arts in Child Psychology, Marlena is committed to holistic growth and lifelong learning. Additionally, as a certified Deliberate Cold Exposure Guide with 3 years of experience, she brings a unique perspective on wellness and resilience to her work.


Honorary Fellow

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada is proud to announce that Wanda Dalla Costa, a prominent Indigenous voice and practitioner in North American architecture, has been awarded honorary fellowship for 2022. Wanda Dalla Costa is a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation and was the first First Nation woman to become an architect in Canada. Her firm, Tawaw Architecture Collective, is based in Phoenix, Arizona. She is the director and founder of Arizona State University’s Indigenous Design Collaborative, a community-driven design and construction program that brings together tribal community members, industry and multidisciplinary teams of university students and faculty to co-design and co-develop solutions for tribal communities. Dalla Costa is a prominent Indigenous female voice within the architectural profession–specifically within the academic sphere in North America.

YBCA's 100 Honorees: Wanda Dalla Costa

Indigenous Design Collaborative's founder and design director Wanda Dalla Costa was recognized as YBCA 100 list of change makers and cultural activists working at the intersection of art, social change and civic life.

Trailblazer Award: Wanda Dalla Costa

Presented this year as part of NZ20, the world's largest net zero conference and expo, the Trailblazer Awards celebrate leaders who are building a net zero future through their work in the carbon, energy, water, waste, transit and/or policy sectors.

St. Lawrence Center Competition Award 2023


Jeff Harnar Award
Unbuilt Architecture 2021