The National Congress of American Indians' (NCAI) Mid-Year Conference & Marketplace showcases the annual Tribal Leader Scholar Forum, which features cutting-edge research and work by Native professionals and students, and other organizational leaders partnering with Native communities, at the lunchtime poster session. Research presentations focus on areas that have real meaning and impacts for tribal communities. Join NCAI's Policy Research Center to learn about significant, tribally-driven research in areas including: science, climate change, natural resources, technology, economic development, education, and health. The Annual Tribal Leader Scholar Forum supports leadership development, networking, and mentorship and seeks to advance a tribal research agenda.
This year's presenters include:
Jasmine Alfonso, MA
Jasmine (Menominee/Oneida) is a Research Study Coordinator in the Psychology Department at Northwestern University where she works on community-based research projects focused on designing science programming in the Chicago Native American community. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from DePaul University and a Master of Arts degree in Learning Sciences from Northwestern University. Her master’s thesis explored the practices and attitudes that Native Americans in the Chicago area have around language and language revitalization. Jasmine was also 2007/08 Miss Indian Chicago, serving as a spokesperson and youth role model on behalf of the Chicago Native American community.
Olin Anderson serves as the Water Quality Standards Specialist for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Environmental Department. Mr. Anderson serves as a liaison between the project researchers and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and will provide in-kind technical support, host focus groups, and consult regularly on the project.
Megan Bang (Ojibwe and Italian descent) is an assistant professor of the Learning Sciences and Human Development in Educational Psychology at the University of Washington where she is currently working on science education, teacher education in Native communities, and conducting research. She is the former Director of Education at the American Indian Center (AIC). She served on the Title VII parent committee for Chicago Public Schools. She is a former pre-school, high-school, and GED teacher, youth worker and academic advisor, and museum educator. She has directed professional development programs with in-service and pre-service teachers, and after school programs in community-based organizations. She has published extensively in academic venues and serves on a variety of advisory boards
Lorenda Belone, PhD
Dr. Belone (Dine/Navajo) is an Assistant Professor within the University of New Mexico (UNM) College of Education with a secondary appointment with the UNM Center for Participatory Research in the School of Medicine. She has been actively involved over the past 13 years in CBPR research projects that have involved southwest Native American communities. Her most recent experience is as PI of the Mescalero Apache Family Listening Program, an NIH funded research project adapting an intergenerational family prevention trial with an inquiry into culturally specific communication conceptions. Dr. Belone is Senior Fellow with the UNM Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center.
Eddie Brown, PhD
Dr. Brown (Pascua-Yaqui/Tohono O’odham) is Professor of American Indian Studies and the School of Social Work, Executive Director of the ASU American Indian Policy Institute, and co-director of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Policy Research Center. He has worked with tribal governments and tribal organizations, has been a principal investigator or researcher on many projects, and has authored or co-authored numerous articles produced from these projects
Rowena Carlyle is Tohono O’odham from the village of Wa:k (a.k.a. San Xavier), located near Tucson, AZ. She received her Bachelors of Arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2011, graduating from the Indigenous Liberal Studies Program. Rowena is blessed to raise her three children, Hohokimul (Butterfly), Kiohod (Rainbow) and Siakam (Warrior) with her companion, Floyd. Rowena is currently employed with the Tohono O’odham Nation as the Hia-Ced O’odham Program Project Coordinator; there she has assisted the Hia-Ced O’odham in becoming the 12th District of the Tohono O’odham Nation, originally made up of 11 Districts, in October 2012.
Edward Schuyler Chew, MS
Edward Schuyler Chew is a member of the Six Nations Grand River Territory in Southern Ontario and grew up on the Tuscarora Nation in Western New York. Mr. Chew previously collaborated on tribal environmental initiatives with the Haudenosauee Environmental Task Force and received his MS degree in environmental engineering in 2012. He recently began working on the project as a research analyst in the University of Arizona’s Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science.
Rico Cruz, PhD
Dr. Rico O. Cruz, an internationally-known expert in biofuels, got his education in agricultural engineering from the Philippines, England and USA. He also pursued postgraduate courses in environmental/natural resources management. He worked as one of the technical advisers of Tribal governments on environmental clean-up at Hanford, Washington, emphasizing on ecological restoration. He is currently the newly-created Tribal Agricultural Center Manager of the Nez Perce Tribe. Rico has over 33 years hands-on experience in biofuels research, development and production, and over nine years in native plant propagation and restoration work
Eloise Damon (Mescalero Apache & Laguna Pueblo) is a friendly, outgoing Apache Women dedicated to her family and the Community of Mescalero. She has five children, two stepchildren, and 13 grandchildren. Eloise has learned, shared and practiced traditional ways taught to her by her parents. While working in the Prevention field (approx.. 10 years) she has helped implement and facilitate several evidence- based Prevention curriculums and has been involved in training and collaboration with other local and state coalitions. Her goal is to continue to thrive toward making Mescalero a safer and healthier place to live and raise our children and grandchildren.
Norm DeWeaver has been an analyst of data on the American Indian and Alaska Native workforce since 1980. He was also a long time participant in the Census Bureau's special program to distribute population data to tribes and urban Indian organizations. Norm served as an advocate for Native workforce development programs at the national level for over 25 years.
Bonnie Duran, DrPH
Bonnie Duran DrPH (mixed race Opelousas & Coushatta descendant) is an associate professor at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health and is also one of the Directors of the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (www.iwri.org). Bonnie conducts three NIH-funded studies, including one working with NCAI PRC assessing the barriers and facilitators of authentic community-engaged research. The overall aims of her research are to work with communities to design public health efforts that are empowering, culture-centered, sustainable and that have maximum public health impact. Bonnie’s future plans are to develop mindfulness- and indigenous presence-based interventions in collaboration with her community partners.
Mary Emery, PhD
Dr. Mary Emery focuses on rural and community development including using the Community Capitals Framework (CCF) in evaluation, research on community change, and program planning. She coordinates the Great Plains IDEA trans-disciplinary multi-university distance degree in Community Development and is Department Head for Sociology and Rural Studies South Dakota State University.
Lori (Oneida) is a site project coordinator for cutting-edge science education research projects at Northwestern University in collaboration with the American Indian Center and Menominee Nation of Wisconsin. She is fond of working with youth and families on collaborative community-designed, culturally based programs in the Chicago Native American community. In 2008, Lori received her Bachelor of Arts degree in French language & culture from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to her role as a community researcher, Lori enjoys learning languages, building her practice as a licensed massage therapist, and plans to pursue a healthcare-related graduate degree
Khaila Gachupin is a Junior attending Jemez Valley High School. Khaila serves as the Youth Tribal Research Team Member for the RezRIDERS Program. She was selected to serve as the youth mentor after completing the first year of the program. Upon graduation Khiala wants to attend college, her major is unknown at the moment.
Justin Kii Huenemann, a citizen of the Navajo Nation, is a Program Officer for the Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF). With a mission to reduce poverty and build sustainable prosperity, Huenemann works to support efforts that help build assets and wealth among low-income people in rural, urban and Native American reservation communities across eight states and 74 tribal nations. Prior, Huenemann served as the founding President and CEO of the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) where he led numerous community economic development projects, including the American Indian Cultural Corridor. Huenemann has more than 20 years of leadership experience in areas of community development, public policy, higher education, and cultural economies. He has spent his entire professional career working to advance American Indian self-determination, believing strongly in the strength, knowledge and resiliency of Indigenous people.
Mary Beth Jäger, MSW
Mary Beth Jäger (Citizen Potawatomi) is a Research Analyst for the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy at the University of Arizona. Mary Beth earned her masters of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, and was selected as a Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies Scholar. Mary Beth is interested in applied research on institutional change in Indigenous communities. She has researched policies to promote saving for post-secondary education in American Indian communities, reviewed Healthy Eating and Active Living policies in Indian Country, and conducted empirical legal research on federal Indian law topics.
Eva Jewell, MA
Eva Jewell is Anishinaabekwe from Deshkaan Ziibing (Chippewas of the Thames First Nation) in Ontario. She holds a B.A. in Indigenous Liberal Studies from IAIA and an M.A. in Indigenous Governance from the University of Victoria. Currently her work is involved in community development and the shaping of public policy/First Nations governance utilizing community engagement in a wellness framework.
Keith James, PhD
Dr. James’ major topics of scholarship include Creativity, Innovation, & Change, Workplace Identity, Native Community Development and Occupational Health Psychology. His scholarship in these areas addresses several integrative themes including Organizational/Social Justice, Workplace Affect, and Occupational Health Psychology.
Valli Kalei Kanuha
(Bio coming soon)
Kim is a proud member of the Navajo Nation and originally from Fort Defiance, AZ. She is of the Ta'baahi' (Water Edge People) clan, born for Todich'ii'nii (Bitter Water People) clan. Kim is an alumnus of Arizona State University’s College of Design where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Urban Planning in 2002 and her Master of Urban & Environmental Planning degree in 2005. Currently, she is a Planner with Swaback Partners and working on a Sustainable Community Master Planning Initiative on the Navajo Nation with the Navajo Housing Authority. Her interests include various elements of design including architecture, planning and construction. Kim has actively served and continues to serve on various boards and organizations such as the “Construction in Indian Country” Executive Committee, American Indian Council of Architects and Engineers (AICAE), and Restore Harmony.
Originally from Flandreau, South Dakota, Mary Kills-A-Hundred currently works as a graduate research assistant in the Sociology and Rural Studies department at South Dakota State University. In pursuit of her Master of Science degree, Ms. Kills-A-Hundred also works in the Rural Life Data Center, locating and analyzing statistical information for the state. Besides her work on various demographic projects at SDSU, Ms. Kills-A-Hundred also serves on the Higher Education Committee for the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe.
Al Kuslikis is responsible for coordinating the planning and implementation of projects and activities that support the mission of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and that of the 37 Tribal Colleges and Universities that comprise its membership. As the Senior Associate for Strategic Initiatives an important focus of Mr. Kuslikis’ work is the development of technology-mediated strategies for delivering education, research, and cultural enrichment resources, particularly through partnerships with the Tribal Colleges, the larger community of higher education institutions, federal and Tribal agencies and the private sector. Mr. Kuslikis has over twenty-five years’ experience in American Indian higher education. He began his career in faculty and program development at Diné College on the Navajo Nation.
Julie Lucero, PhD, MPH
Julie E. Lucero, PhD, MPH is the Associate Director of the Center for Participatory Research and an Associate Scientist II in the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico. Her health disparities research experience is grounded in twelve years of public health research activities, including community based participatory research, and program evaluation at tribal, state and national levels in community, not for profit and university settings. Julie was born in raised in northern New Mexico's Espanola Valley known as a tri-cultural area consisting largely of Spanish, Mexican and Native American populations.
Dawn Mackety, PhD
Dawn supervises Native education research projects and analyzes state and national data about Native students, and then communicates those findings to policymakers, stakeholders, and educators nationwide. Prior to joining NIEA, Dawn was Principal Researcher at Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) in Colorado. Her research, evaluation, and technical assistance work focused on science education in formal and informal education settings and Native education including academic achievement, graduation, dropout prevention, parent/community engagement, student mobility, and tribal education departments. Prior to McREL, Dawn was CEO of a United Way, Curator of Education and later Executive Director of a natural history museum and planetarium, and Extension Agent and Tribal Liaison for the Michigan State University Extension Service. She has a Ph.D. in educational evaluation, measurement, and research and a M.A. in educational leadership.
Shannon Mandell is a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and serves as the director of the Pyramid Lake Museum & Visitors Center. Ms. Mandell will provide insight on the project in relation to the culture and history of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.
Joseph Martin, PhD
Dr. Joseph Martin (Diné) is Special Adviser to the President of Northern Arizona University and an Associate Professor in the College of Education and Director of the American Indian School Leadership Program. He has served in that role since 1999 and previously was Superintendent of Schools for the Kayenta Unified School District for more than a decade and as President of the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Martin earned a Bachelor's of Science degree in Agricultural Economics and a Bachelors in Secondary Education from Arizona State University, obtained his superintendent certification from the University of Colorado. He received his Doctorate of Education degree in educational administration from the University of Northern Colorado.
Rebecca Miles was raised on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation in Lapwai, Idaho. She attended Lapwai Schools and later went on to graduate from Washington State University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice. Upon graduation, she served as an intern at the Nez Perce Tribe’s Environmental Restoration and Waste Management Program (ERWM). Rebecca began her Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership at Gonzaga University which she received in 2002. In May 2005, Miles was elected by her peers as the first female Chairman of the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee (NPTEC), and is currently the youngest person to ever be elected to that position. In 2009, Miles resigned from the NPTEC to accept the position of the Executive Director for the Nez Perce Tribe, a position which she currently holds. She shares her life with her two sons, Tre and Ivory.
Don Motanic is a Umatilla tribal member and earned his degree in forest engineering from the University of Washington in 1978. His career started in 1974 as a fire fighter working for the Seattle Water Department in the Seattle Watershed, North Bend, WA. His professional career started in June 1978 as a forest engineer for the BIA at the Yakama Agency and was a forest manager at Umatilla and the Spokane Agency and then the BIA Regional Forester in Billings, Montana. He’s been working with the Intertribal Timber Council as a technical specialist since 1995.
Lakota Mowrer, MSW
Lakota Mowrer is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame. Upon graduation, she joined Teach for America and taught on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. Lakota obtained her Masters in Social Work (MSW) degree from Washington University in St. Louis with the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies. In addition to her educational experience, Lakota has completed a summer fellowship with NCAI. Lakota initiated program evaluations at the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management and Washington Internships for Native Students (WINS) to develop program components. Most recently, Lakota joined Four Bands Community Fund and serves as the organization’s Assistant Director.
Adam Murry, MS
Adam Murry (Chiricahua Apache) is a doctoral student at Portland State University in Industrial-Organizational psychology. His interests include program evaluation, sustainable Native American community development, and quantitative and qualitative research methods. He has served as a graduate research fellow with the National Science Foundation and as an undergraduate research fellow for the National Institute of Mental Health and the Sally-Casanova pre-doctoral fellowship. He also serves as the Vice President of Native Hope International, Inc., a Los Angeles based non-profit organization dedicated to Urban Native welfare and cultural survival.
Emma Noyes, MPHc
Emma Noyes (Coville Confederated Tribes) is a graduate student in the Public Health Program at the University of New Mexico and a research assistant at the Center for Participatory Research (CPR-UNM). Emma was raised in Omak, WA on the border of the Colville Reservation. Emma received her BA in public health and anthropology at the University of Washington. Prior to pursuing a MPH, Emma was a research coordinator at the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI-UW). Deeply passionate about the wellness of Native communities, she is honored to be working with the Mescalero Family Listening Program team.
Ardena Orosco (Mescalero Apache) is a Certified Preventionist in New Mexico and Director of Substance Abuse Prevention service for the Mescalero Apache Tribe. She works with several departments on prevention of underage drinking and suicide prevention. She is involved with the Miss Mescalero committee, Lincoln and Otero DWI Councils (Board member), Con Alma Health foundation (Board of Trustee member), Mescalero Family Listening Program (Community coordinator). Ardena has also unofficially worked in prevention as a coach, community organizer, and parent. She is a proud mother of four children and grandmother of twins. She works hard to bring prevention services to Mescalero.
Gwendolyn Packard (Ihanktonwan Dakota), Program Specialist, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, has worked for many years in Indian country. She has worked for the National Congress of American Indians, developed programs for other American Indian organizations, and has been instrumental in founding the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She served as the Morning Star House Executive Director, a program that works with off reservation Indian women and children who are victims of domestic violence, and as the New Mexico Suicide Prevention Coalition Executive Director, where she set up suicide prevention trainings. She is founder and Co-Chair of Rain Cloud, the off reservation behavioral health collaborative. She has made a co