Rachel Beth/Akitusut Sayet

Five College Native American Community Development Fellow

Five Colleges


Rachel Beth Sayet or Akitusut (She Who Reads) is a member of the Mohegan nation. Raised with the spirits of her ancestors, she grew up learning traditional stories and teachings and participating in tribal events.

Rachel has always been passionate about and proud of her Mohegan heritage and identity as well as an avid studier and learner about other cultures, indigenous and beyond. History has always been her favorite subject.

Rachel’s other main passion throughout her life has been food. As a child, she grew up cooking with her grandmother and mother. Rachel’s grandmother Phyllis is a Russian American Jew who always been ahead of the curve when it came to food. In the 1980s she taught Chinese cooking classes. Phyllis inspired Rachel to always try different foods and learn to cook cultural cuisines.

Rachel has a BS in Restaurant Management from Cornell University. In her time at Cornell, she worked in kitchens, ran events for industry representatives, and was a personal chef. She was also a teaching assistant for the class Introduction to Wines.
During her senior year at Cornell, Rachel was able to take an American Indian Studies course with Mohawk professor Audra Simpson. This course was eye-opening to her, and it was then that she was inspired to teach about Native culture and history.

Rachel then went to graduate school at Harvard University for anthropology and museum studies and received her masters degree in 2012. While at Harvard, Rachel worked at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology for three years and had the opportunity of being a curator for the exhibit “Digging Veritas: the archaeology and history of the Harvard Indian college and 17th century life”.

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