IEN's Leadership, Staff, and Board of Directors

IEN Family Portrait - Bemidji MN - 2023
We’re more than a team, we’re family.

Taken at IEN’s home office, June/July 2023

Home Office: PO Box 485  ~  Bemidji, MN 56619  ~  Office: (218) 751-4967  ~  General Inquiries: info@ienearth.org  ~   EIN 38-3653476

Leadership

Tom BK Goldtooth
Executive Director

Dine/Dakota
info@ienearth.org

Tom is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), the oldest Indigenous- based and grassroots network working on environmental, energy, climate and economic justice issues in North America including the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Tom has been the lead of the Indigenous delegation of IEN within the UN Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since COP 04 in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1998.

Tom and IEN participated in the formation of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC) in 2008. The IIPFCC functions as the caucus of Indigenous Peoples participating in the UNFCCC COPs. Tom has been awarded with recognition of his achievements throughout the past 32 years as a change maker within the environmental, economic, energy and climate justice movement. From the strength of his community organizing and leadership he brought the local issues of the rights of Indigenous Peoples related to the environmental protection of land, water, air and health to the national and international levels. From his participation and leadership in the First National People of Color Environmental Justice Leadership Summit in 1991 in Washington D.C., to the 2010 World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and to the recent co-formation of the US-based Green New Deal Network and the United Frontline Table and its People’s Orientation to a Regenerative Economy platform, he has been on the forefront of key moments fighting for systemic change. He co-produced an award-winning documentary film in 1999, Drumbeat for Mother Earth, addressing the effects of the bioaccumulation and biomagnification of toxic chemicals in the natural food web and bodies of Indigenous Peoples. In 2007, Tom co-founded the Indigenous World Forum on Water and Peace lifting up the spiritual- cultural values and ethics of water policy. Tom initiated the first international Indigenous conference on the rights of Mother Earth in 2012 at the Haskell Indian Nations University and serves as a member of the Global Alliance of the Rights of Nature. Tom wrote the IEN Indigenous Principles of Just Transition as an organizing tool of using Indigenous Original Instructions as the foundation for building sustainable and healthy Indigenous communities. Tom is a recipient of numerous awards including the 2015 Gandhi Award and in 2016 was presented Sierra Club’s highest recognition, the John Muir award. Tom is affiliated with the Diné and Dakota Indigenous Peoples of North American and is a Sun Dance leader and active in his ceremonial responsibilities and is a father, grandfather and great grandfather. https://www.ienearth.org/iens-executive-director-tom-b-k-goldtooth-awarded-gandhi-peace-award/
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Simone Senogles
Operations Director

Red Lake Anishinaabe
simone@ienearth.org

She/Her

Simone Senogles, Anishinaabe, is a member of the Red Lake Nation in Northern Minnesota. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Bemidji State University.

Simone currently serves on the IEN Leadership Team, and has worked for IEN for more than 20 years. Simone is also lead on the Indigenous Matriarchy program focusing on Indigenous women’s leadership within the Environmental Justice movement. Being with the Environmental Network for two decades has given Simone the opportunity to work in the areas of food sovereignty, building sustainable communities, fighting toxics on Indigenous lands and within our own bodies, promoting Indigenous Matriarchy, and uplifting the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Relatives. Protecting lands, nations and communities is paramount in her life and work. Recently, the Line 3 Oil Pipeline was constructed through the Anishinaabe water rich homelands of Northern Minnesota. The line 3 fight attracted allies from across the country and the world to protect the land and water, particularly in connection with Treaty Rights.  The threat to the water prompted a strong community response; Simone is one of many Anishinaabe women who took up their responsibility to fight Line 3. Simone is committed to a life of love of the people, our homelands and our communities.
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Kandi White
Program Director

Arikara-Hidatsa-Mandan
kandi@ienearth.org

She/Her

Kandi White grew up on the Fort Berthold Indian reservation in so-called North Dakota, on the territorial homelands of the Nueta, Hidatsa, Sahnish Nations, surrounded by coal, oil,  gas extraction and contamination.

Kandi went to college at the University of North Dakota (UND) & studied Natural Resource and Park Management, hoping to find a way to simultaneously protect natural resources and stop the contamination causing reservation wide health problems. Upon completion of her degree, she worked as an Interpretive Ranger and Supervisor at Big Bend National Park, Texas working in the Mandan Village at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park in North Dakota. During that time, her own battle with cancer was a deciding factor of her return to school, where she earned a Masters Degree in Environmental Management. Upon completion of the Earth Systems Science and Policy Program at UND she joined IEN in 2007 as the Tribal Campus Climate Challenge Coordinator, and engaged with more than 30 tribal colleges to enact community based environmental programs, discussed issues of socio-ecological injustice, and connected indigenous youth with job opportunities outside the fossil fuel industry. She transitioned into being IEN’s Lead Organizer on the Extreme Energy and Just Transition Campaign where she brought awareness to the environmentally & socially devastating effects of hydraulic fracturing on tribal lands and worked towards a Just Transition away from the fossil fuel industry. As IEN’s current Programs Director and member of the Leadership Team, Kandi’s work guides our programs and campaigns with strategic direction and visioning towards a fossil fuel free future working against false solutions and towards a future in which Indigenous Peoples are not only surviving; but are thriving. Kandi is a wife and mother of two delightful young beings and enjoys spending her free time with them reading, camping, kayaking, swimming, gardening, canning, baking and, when possible, sleeping!
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Daisee Francour
Communications Director

Oneida Nation of Wisconsin
daisee@ienearth.org

She/Her

Daisee Francour is a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, the Communications Director at Indigenous Environmental Network as well as an Adjunct Faculty in Human Rights Advocacy for the MPPA graduate program at Adler University.

Daisee has over a decade of experience serving Indigenous communities locally and globally as an advocate, facilitator, strategist, resource mobilizer, consultant, non-profit director and former grantmaker. Through communications and media, Daisee strives to build the consciousness, capacity, and sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples as they defend their lands, territories, knowledge systems and futures. Daisee has worked with various communities, sectors, and industries across the world, transforming their understanding of Indigenous Rights, Human Rights, climate change, biocultural diversity, social justice, and other regenerative systems.
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Operations

Muriel Dudley
Grants Manager

Red Lake Nation, Anishinaabe
muriel@ienearth.org

She/Her/Hers

Muriel Dudley of the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation, Anishnaabe, joined IEN in summer 2023 as the IEN Grants Manager to grow the Grants Management and Philanthropy Relations programs for IEN as the organization expands.

Muriel has eight years’ experience writing and managing grants, program and staff development, strategic planning and supervision. Long an advocate for youth in the juvenile justice system, she began her career as a counselor for youth in a juvenile correction facility, which led to positions as the Director of Red Lake Abinoojiyag Noojimoo Wigamig (Children’s Healing Center), Interim Director Red Lake Detention Center, Program Coordinator and Grants Manager, Red Lake Department of Public Safety Victim Services. Muriel says working for IEN aligns with her values and spiritual beliefs as a Anishinaabe Ikwe (woman) and a grandmother. It is important to her to protect and respect Mother Earth and Father Sky as they give humanity and future generations life. She works so that Indigenous Peoples’ voices continue to be heard in spaces where Indigenous Peoples have been excluded or made to feel invisible because we are still here and we carry the wisdom of our ancestors with us as we fight to protect Mother Earth, Father Sky and all of life. Muriel’s grandson Mikinaak is her world. She says, for such a tiny little guy, he has her wrapped around his finger. In everything she does she thinks about its effect on him and what his future will look like.
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Kaylee Carnahan
Greenskeeper and Administrative Associate

kaylee@ienearth.org

She/Her

Kaylee Carnahan lives near Bemidji, Minnesota and is of Swedish and German descent. With an Associates degree in Agribusiness and Production from South Central College at North Mankato, Minn., she has spent more than a decade working in local food systems.

Because of her knowledge of ecological based agriculture practices, wild tending, seedkeeping, local food sovereignty, gardening, beekeeping, herbalism, foraging, food preservation, and native pollinators, Kaylee first brought her skills to IEN as a contractor in September, 2021. She became staff in July 2023 with the title of Greenskeeper and Administrative Associate. As the caretaker for the IEN Teaching Garden located at the IEN primary office in Bemidji, she also assists with daily operations of the organization. The garden is an Indigenous Led Demonstration Garden with a focus on community education, pollinator health and food sovereignty. Kaylee says her work is important to her because she gets to help heal the land and water that has been abused by the industrial society while growing a connection between community and the natural world. She believes as we begin to shift away from extractive industry and into an Indigenous Just Transition, everyone can help in the process of connection and healing. Kaylee is a creative person who enjoys painting, drawing or crafting with natural materials.
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Communications

Brenda Jo “BJ” McManama
Public Relations and Web Manager

Seneca
bjmcmanama@ienearth.org

Brenda Jo “BJ” has worked with Indigenous Peoples and front line communities to promote climate, social, and environmental justice for 30+ years.

With her deep commitment to the Next Seven Generations, BJ connects people from distant geographies and diverse backgrounds to end the destructive exploitation from extractive industries. BJ has worked with IEN serving as a cultural exchange delegate, news editor, campaign organizer, and in her current position as Public Relations and Web Manager. Her journey began with IEN as one of 10 Indigenous delegates from the U.S. who traveled to Central and South America to engage with Indigenous communities on aquaculture issues as it relates to land rights/tenure, self-determination and food sovereignty. In her current capacity, BJ collaborates with program and campaign staff, to publish timely distribution of news and events across Turtle Island and beyond. BJ also engages in her home region of the Ohio River Valley in opposition to fracking, pipelines, and petrochemical industry expansion in Appalachia. In 2020 BJ was honored as one of four EJ front line community leaders for the Fractracker Community Sentinel Award for Environmental Stewardship. BJ is a mom, and grandmother who enjoys anything done outdoors and if she has to be inside she enjoys painting, beading, and dabbling in variety of crafts for gifts and for raising money for animal rescue organizations.
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Eddie Saunsoci
Digital & Social Media Coordinator

Omaha
eddie@ienearth.org

Edward Saunsoci of the Omaha Nation is the IEN Digital and Social Media Coordinator. He is an Afro-Indigenous storyteller who uses creative media to amplify the voice of the unheard.

As a cultural documentarian, he is proud of his North Omaha upbringing and Indigenous Omaha Tribal traditions. His work centers on acknowledging and processing of generational trauma from many angles and perspectives.
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JoKay Dowell
Special Projects Coordinator

Quapaw, Eastern Shawnee, Cherokee
jokay@ienearth.org

She/Her

JoKay Dowell is an enrolled member of the Quapaw and Cherokee Nations and is of Eastern Shawnee descent.

As the IEN Communications Special Projects Coordinator since Nov. 2022, she is on the IEN Newsletter production team, works with IEN organizers to write general topics across the many IEN program teams and organizes regional workshops and events on issues of concern to Indigenous Oklahoma communities. She believes that humanity’s most serious problems like the Climate Crisis, dwindling freshwater sources, industrial colonialism and ongoing pillaging of Mother Earth will be resolved only by working across all boundaries, and doing it now. In 2017, the Greater Tulsa (Oklahoma) Indian Affairs Commission awarded her the Will Anquoe Humanitarian Award for “humanitarianism and contributions to the Native community, recognizing those who bridge communication and understanding among diverse groups.” After many years assisting with IEN’s Protecting Mother Earth Conferences in the 1990s, JoKay withdrew from most of her activism to help raise three grandchildren: Bibiana, Kyah, and Wyatt. In that time, she completed a Bachelor degree in Communications from Northeastern Oklahoma State University and served as Faculty-In-Residence for the University of Oklahoma National Education for Women’s Leadership Conference. With her daughter and granddaughter she hauled donated supplies to Standing Rock Sioux Nation where they defended tribal lands and waters from the Dakota Access Pipeline. With her family, Eastern Band Cherokee relatives and 500 protesters, in 2017 at Ft. Sill, OK, where Geronimo and many Apache were imprisoned, she helped to stop the confinement of mostly Indigenous youth, detained and separated from their families at the US/Mexican border. In 2021, as Biden declared the first “official” Indigenous Peoples Day, she was arrested in front of the White House with Indigenous peoples and People vs Fossil Fuels protesters demanding the administration declare a Climate Emergency. As the Covid-19 pandemic began surging across Indigenous communities in 2020, JoKay returned to IEN as a contractor coordinating the Protecting the Peoples Emergency (PPE) Fund. With input from member organizations and community advisers, the former Licensed Practical Nurse distributed nearly 350,000 protective face masks and other PPE to at-risk Indigenous communities in Alaska, Canada, throughout the U.S., along the Southern border, Ecuador, and Brazil. She sits on the board of directors of the DC-based EARTHWORKS environmental advocacy group. For four decades, JoKay has worked as a community organizer, activist, writer, and photographer. She lives with her family on the Cherokee Reservation near Tahlequah, OK, and the Illinois River where they spend lots of time swimming and camping. Her favorite activities are sewing traditional Indigenous clothing for her grandchildren, cooking and growing a variety of vegetables. She especially enjoys the annual Quapaw Powwow in its 152nd year, and the General Council of the Quapaw people.
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Morgan Brings Plenty
Digital Organizing Fellow

Lakota
morgan@ienearth.org

They/Them

Morgan Brings Plenty (Owiskawin) is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

As a Social Media Intern and youth organizer for Indigenous environmental network. Morgan is a longtime pipeline fighter and water protector . they have taken stands against the Keystone XL pipeline , dakota access pipeline and to protect their tribes buffalo , Brings Plenty was one of the first Youth since they were seventeen years old to stand up against Big Oil crossing their lands and has grown up in the environmental justice, Indigenous Sovereignty, Climate justice and Human rights movements.
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Durin Mundahl
Information Technology Fellow

Lakota
durin@ienearth.org

He/Him

Durin Mundahl is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and an Oglala Lakota from South Dakota.

His family, including Sicangu and Oglala Lakota author, educator and philosopher Luther Standing Bear, has a long heritage of activism fighting for environmental justice, and economic and social change across Turtle Island. The son of prominent pipeline fighter, the late Joye Braun, who worked as an IEN pipeline organizer, Durin said he witnessed her years of personal sacrifice on the front lines in the fight for climate justice. He hopes to continue her legacy by utilizing his skills to empower the communities she helped and by working with those like IEN who supported and elevated his mother’s voice in the fight for climate justice and Tribal sovereignty. As an IEN Information Technology Fellow, Durin helps maintain the backend systems and other administrative duties, and, with his affable personality that puts everyone at ease, he trains and assists fellow IEN staff in information technology and computer applications. His friendly, patient way of communicating and problem-solving served him well as a former Customer Service Agent. Always modest, he credits his growing knowledge of environmental issues and eagerness to advocate for all communities, especially Indian Country, to his mom and sister Morgan. Currently, Durin is advancing his education in Information Technology, working toward professional IT certifications with a focus on General IT and Web Design. Ultimately he intends to provide support and resources for his own community while raising awareness of environmental issues. In his free time, Durin enjoys video games, tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and reading epic fantasy novels.
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Climate Justice

Tamra Gilbertson
Climate Justice Program Coordinator

tamra@ienearth.org.

She/They

Tamra L Gilbertson, MPH, PhD, is an activist, researcher, writer, and scholar.

A contractor with IEN from 2017 to 2020, in August 2023 she marked her third anniversary as the IEN Climate Justice Program Coordinator. In her current role, she develops curricula and holds workshops on carbon markets, false solutions, the Climate Crisis and the consequences to Indigenous communities and cultures. For more than twenty years she has allied with social movements and international networks fighting for social, environmental, and climate justice. She earned a doctorate at the University of Tennessee, Department of Sociology. As a US Fulbright recipient, she conducted research on carbon markets, coal mining and conservation impacts in the Caribbean regions of Colombia. She was previously a founder and co-director of Carbon Trade Watch and former project coordinator of the Environmental Justice Project of the Transnational Institute, frequently coordinating with IEN. She continues to act as a strategic point person between Indigenous Peoples Organizations, activist-scholar networks, NGOs, ally and community organizations. Tamra is committed to field research, radical education and has authored several academic articles, book chapters and reports. She speaks English, Spanish and Portuguese. Tamra’s key areas of work include the fight to dismantle the policy barriers to achieving climate justice including: carbon markets, carbon offsets, false solutions, climate finance, and gender, racial and social justice.
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Thomas Joseph Tsewenaldin
Carbon Pricing Educator

Hupa, Karuk, Paiute-Shoshone
thomasjoseph@ienearth.org

He/They

Thomas Joseph is a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe and a descendant of the Lone Pine Shoshone Paiute Tribe from the occupied and unceded lands of California.

He has spent the last decade defending his peoples’ lands from carbon brokers, hydro dams and other false solutions. As California’s largest land-based tribe on their ancestral lands of Hoopa Valley, they are targeted by carbon brokers with shady tactics. Thomas likens today’s carbon brokers to the gold miners of the 19th century, saying both histories led to land grabs and the continuation of environmental destruction. As a former social justice organizer, he rallied his community to pass ballot measures securing the nation’s strongest sanctuary laws for Dreamers and helped to pass racial profiling laws that California police officers are required to follow. Joining IEN fulltime in May, 2022, as the Carbon Price Educator, he follows current trends and policies regarding carbon markets and travels the country to educate communities about false solutions. Thomas embraces his work out of his great love for Mother Earth. When he is not fighting to protect Mother Earth, he enjoys the endless gifts she provides like mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking, swimming, camping – in other words, spending as much time in the natural world as possible. Having witnessed the destruction of the natural world, as an Indigenous human, he understands his responsibility to protect it.
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Jordan Harmon
Policy Analyst – Legislative Advocate

Muscogee (Creek) Nation
jordan@ienearth.org

She/Her

Growing up in the oil and gas hub of Tulsa, Oklahoma, once dubbed the “Oil and Gas Capital of the World,” Jordan witnessed firsthand the negative environmental and economic impacts of the fossil fuels industry.

She is a Muscogee (Creek) Nation citizen from the Mvskoke Reservation. She is of the Deer Clan (ecovlke) and descended from Ceyaha Tribal Town. Jordan received a Juris Doctorate with a certificate in Native American Law from the University of Tulsa and began her legal career as a Tribal attorney representing Tribal sovereign interests in Tribal, state, and federal court. Joining the staff of Indigenous Environmental Network in June, 2022, she is a policy analyst and legislative advocate working to advance a policy agenda for IEN that is centered on strengthening Indigenous nation-to-nation building, Indigenous rights, and Indigenous-based environmental justice. In her free time, Jordan enjoys dancing at Oklahoma powwows and Muscogee ceremonials, making beadwork, playing on the PS5 and Nintendo Switch and spending time with her animals.
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Alberto Saldamando
Council, Human Rights & Climate Change

Xicano/Zapoteca
alberto@ienearth.org

He/Him

Alberto Saldamando, a Xicano/Zapoteca, is the IEN Counsel on Human Rights and Climate Change.

He earned a Bachelor in English and Philosophy, and a Juris Doctorate of Law degree from the University of Arizona. Bilingual in English and Spanish, he is an internationally acknowledged expert on Indigenous and human rights. He has represented Indigenous Peoples, communities, organizations and individuals before international human rights venues, including the United Nations Human Rights Commission, now the Commission’s Human Rights Mechanisms, the International Labor Organization, the OAS Commission on Human Rights, and the OECD Specific Instance procedure. Alberto began his work with IEN as Counsel in 2009 at Copenhagen, Denmark, for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference Of Parties, or COP 15, and serves as head of IEN’s delegation to these international venues. He also maintains relationships with IEN’s international allies. Prior to 2009, he served as General Counsel to the International Indian Treaty Council for 18 years and takes pride in his active participation during negotiations leading to the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the establishment of the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues, and the initial mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples. Alberto was accredited as an expert by the Food and Agriculture Organization to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014 and was elected by UN Consultative Status NGOs to the International Steering Committee for the World Conference Against Racism, from 1998 to 2001. Through his life’s work, he hopes to leave future generations with a better world and takes great pleasure in working with Indigenous youth to that end. Alberto practices yoga and takes long walks with his longtime partner.
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Panganga Pungowiyi
Climate Geoengineering Organizer

St. Lawrence Island Yupik
panganga@ienearth.org

She/They

Panganga Pungowiyi (Pangaanga Pangawyi), is an Indigenous mother from Sivungaq, located in the so-called Bering Strait.

Panganga has been involved in many grassroots efforts seeking justice for Indigenous Peoples including efforts to protect lands and water from extractive industry, MMIWG, and DVSA against Indigenous Womxn. Social justice and healing are recurring themes woven within Panganga’s personal and professional life as the director of Kawerak, Inc.’s Wellness Program, where she sought funding for wellness camps, healing camps, undoing racism and decolonizing workshops, community safety patrol, youth leadership training, bystander intervention training and cultural humility. Many years were spent developing and hosting communal healing spaces for historical trauma and colonial oppression. Most recently Panganga began training as a Tribal Healer. Saying that her higher education comes from her elders who taught her about traditional plant medicine and body work, healing, justice and advocacy continues in Panganga’s role at IEN as the Climate Geoengineering Organizer. Joining IEN in August 2021, her work is focused on Climate False Solutions, specifically in dangerous and hazardous Climate Geoengineering Projects, including Carbon Dioxide Removal, Carbon Capture and Storage, Carbon Capture Use and Storage, Direct Air Capture, Bio Energy Carbon Capture and Storage, Ocean Fertilization, Solar Radiation Mitigation, Stratospheric Aerosol Injection, Surface Albedo Modification, Marine Cloud Brightening, and Marine Geoengineering. She continues to gather information about other false solutions technologies, as the overwhelming majority are tested in Indigenous territories without Free, Prior and Informed Consent. She rallies against such projects as the Arctic Ice Project and works to make educational materials and resource lists available to Indigenous Peoples so they can protect themselves against potentially harmful technologies. Panganga says unjust contamination and experimentation are part of her family history. Both Climate change and false climate solutions are only possible because of racism, capitalism and colonization. They are not root problems, but are instead symptoms of a deeper issue relating to our relationship with each other as peoples, and the relationship that the extractive-based economy has with the Natural World and Indigenous Peoples. She enjoys making soap that resembles traditional foods and other symbols of her culture, beadwork, singing, acting and parenting.
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Keep It In The Ground

Brenna Two Bears
KIITG Lead Coordinator

Ho-Chunk, Dine’
brenna@ienearth.org

She/They

Brenna Twobears is from the Ho-Chunk, Navajo and Standing Rock Nations and grew up between Navajo Nation and Wisconsin.

At the young age of 13, she began contending with environmental racism in her tribal homelands. Growing up near Dook’o’oosłííd (one of the Navajo Four Sacred Mountains), in Flagstaff, AZ, she witnessed the use by local ski resorts of reclaimed water to create fake snow on which resort visitors actually would ski. She earned a Bachelor in Art History and Visual Culture Studies from Whitman College, in Washington state, with a focus on Tribal Museums and the Politics of Display. As a former museum professional, Brenna connected Indigenous communities with institutions like the Maxey Museum, in Walla Walla, Washington; the Indian Arts Research Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico; and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. After which, She also taught media literacy skills to BIPOC youth in New Mexico, taught middle school in Arizona, and worked with teens on the Salt-River Pima reservation. Utilizing her research skills, she has assisted Indigenous communities to address environmental justice issues as human rights violations in Indigenous regions like Black Mesa, AZ, dealing with Peabody Coal; Standing Rock Nation’s stand against The Dakota Access Pipeline; and, the Tar Sands in Northern Alberta. Since then, Brenna has focused her work on uplifting voices that often go unheard. Now, her focus is on grassroots organizing with community groups, museum consultation on behalf of Native communities, with a passion for working with Native youth. As the IEN Keep It In The Ground Program Coordinator, Brenna provides logistical support to the organizers within the KIITG team, lending strategic vision to IEN’s partners working with the program objectives to achieve its goals. Having danced at powwows in Ho-Chunk lands before she could even walk, she now enjoys competing in Women’s Northern Cloth and Contemporary Jingle Dress competitions.
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Talia Boyd
Mining Organizer

Dine’
talia@ienearth.org

She/Her

Talia Boyd is a woman born and raised in the Diné Nation, Todích’íí’nii (Bitter Water), born for Tó’aheedlíinii (The Water Flow Together).

Her maternal grandfather is Tl’aashchi’I (Red Bottom) and her paternal grandfather is Tábą ą há (Water’s Edge). She attended the University of New Mexico and spent years organizing in rural and Indigenous communities on environmental and social justice issues. Some of her work has addressed uranium mining issues, protecting sacred landscapes, Native voting rights and community radio. As the IEN mining organizer since 2021, she elevates mining issues in Indigenous communities by working closely with communities to protect people and ecosystems from exploitative development and destructive energy policies. Talia is from the so-called Colorado Plateau, a well-known national sacrifice zone where mining and extractive industries have disproportionately and adversely impacted ancestral homelands, sacred landscapes and the health of Native peoples within the region. Assisting communities to amplify and uplift the Indigenous resistance across Turtle Island, she serves on the board of Diné Citizens Against Ruining the Environment (C.A.R.E.), a Diné organization that works with Diné communities affected by energy and environmental issues. She also volunteers for the Red Water Pond Road Community Association, a grassroots organization of Diné families who have experienced and lived with the impacts of uranium mining and milling in the Church Rock, New Mexico mining area. Along with raising her son, Talia enjoys collecting vinyl records and learning new gardening techniques and cooking recipes.
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Marcello “Raven” Federico
Divestment Organizer

Blackfoot, Cherokee
raven@ienearth.org

He/They

Marcello Federico lives on the Nonotuck, Nipmuck and Pocumtuc homelands, in Florence, Mass.

He was hired in early 2023 as the IEN Divestment Organizer focusing on networking with allied organizations to assess the needs and trends of the divestment movement more broadly, as well as joining marches, conferences, meetings, and protests in solidarity with existing struggles and campaigns. His work is essential to the climate justice movement in order to help continue moving capital from the extractive economy into the regenerative solidarity economy. Supporting and aligning with Indigenous Just Transition Principles developed by IEN is critical to his work. Marcello attended Holyoke Community College for a year studying physics and philosophy, became an herbalist and Reiki Master and earned the Linux Administrator and Data Scientist Associate certificates. He became an organizer in 2011 when he helped form Occupy Springfield. He then turned to focus more on food sovereignty while helping organize the March Against Monsanto, March Against Geoengineering, and several other climate-related campaigns. Marcello was a farm manager for more than four years, growing lots of organic food, tending to bees and chickens, milking goats twice a day, and helping coordinate community garden projects, since 2012. He enjoys foraging for mushrooms and plants, playing with his 3-year old Alaskan Husky Bella, and studying quantum programming.
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Indigenous Just Transition

Loren White
IJT Coordinator

Arikara-Hidatsa-Mandan
loren@ienearth.org

He/Him

Loren White, Jr. is a citizen of the Three Affiliated Tribes/Arikara-Hidatsa-Mandan.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and a MBA and has worked on economic and environmental justice issues for nearly 20 years. This includes working with Indigenous communities to help design and develop innovative and regenerative models of community development rooted in Indigenous. Since 2018, Loren has been IEN’s Indigenous Just Transition Coordinator providing capacity building and technical support to assist Indigenous communities and Tribes learn about IJT projects that reflect culturally expressive and spiritually responsible visions of sustainability and equity. Loren enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking and gardening with his wife, daughter and son.
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Mary “Missy” Crowe
IJT Organizer

Eastern Band of Cherokee
missy@ienearth.org

She/Her

Mary Crowe is from the Eastern Band of Cherokee, born and raised on the Qualla Boundary in Western North Carolina, she is a lifelong resident of Cherokee, NC.

She is a widowed mother of three adult children, Simon, Lou and Ella Montelongo. She attended Durham Technical Institute for computer operations, and the University of NC-Asheville Mountain Area Health Center for training in mental health disorders. She began working at the age of four as a crowd actress in the tribe’s outdoor drama, “Unto These Hills,” then as a technical crew member in her early twenties. Later, she was a resident counselor for the Burgess Emergency Shelter, Cherokee Children’s Home, and a case manager for the EBCI Phoenix House Day Therapy Program, then served as a coordinator for the Cherokee Challenge Program Adventure Based Counseling for at-risk youth. Mary began her allyship with IEN in 1993 after being fired from her job for opposing the tribal government’s purchase of land that held spring water and sat next to a river, for a proposed regional landfill. In opposition, she and community members held prayer vigils and stomp dances on the property, and instead of a landfill, requested homes for Cherokee people be built on the land. IEN leadership at the time visited Cherokee and invited Mary and her group to join IEN. With sister Lisa Montelongo, Mary attended the next five Protecting Mother Earth Conferences in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Alaska, Montana, before hosting the 7th PME, in Cherokee. Through IEN, Mary attended social justice training and participated in the President Obama Forward Climate Change March in 2011 in Washington, DC, and the 2014 People’s Climate Change March in NYC. With IEN she stood against housing immigrant juveniles at Fort Sill, Oklahoma; against DAPL at Standing Rock, ND; and the Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline, in Minnesota. She also attended the first International Feminism Organizing School in 2021 and completed the International Feminism Organizing School for Facilitators in 2022. Mary served as a consultant for the Foodways Project for Camp Seven Star, near Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and in 2022 served on the governing board for the Fund for Frontline Power. In Oct. 2022, she came on staff as an Indigenous Just Transition Organizer, whose job will be to hold workshops for tribal communities to plan for a Just Transition to a better social, economic and environmental future. Mary enjoys softball and still plays third base for the local 40 and over team and the Golden Senior team. #
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Indigenous Water Ethics

Mona Polacca
Indigenous Water Ethics Organizer

Havasupai, Hopi, Tewa
mona@ienearth.org

She/Her

Mona Polacca is an educator and facilitator from the Colorado River Indian Tribes whose knowledge, empathy, and value are the foundation of her work.

he has led or participated in many effective initiatives related to Indigenous water issues and culturally appropriate health treatments for Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples. Mona has held posts of responsibility within her community, such as Treasurer for the Colorado River Indian Tribes. She earned a Master of Social Work focused on program development and community organization and a Ph.D. (ABD) in Justice Studies with an emphasis on Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights, both from Arizona State University. Mona has over thirty years of practical experience working, presenting, and publishing on health and social issues affecting Indigenous Peoples. She is an active advisory board member of the Indigenous Alliance Without Borders and a founding member of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, an alliance of Indigenous women from around the world who uphold, preserve, and protect Indigenous culture, spiritual practices, and beliefs, including the right to use earth-based medicines. She has long participated in the United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Peoples Issues and has been invited to speak in global forums and assist in drafting declarations. In December 2008, Mona had the distinguished honor of being the representative of the Indigenous Peoples on a panel of world religious leaders. These panelists drafted and signed a statement, “Faith in Human Rights,” to commemorate the 60th Year of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She currently serves as a member of the Notre Dame Law School, Religious Liberties Initiative Advisory Board. In May 2013, she and others presented an intervention at the UNPFII, “A Call for the Indigenous World Forum on Water & Peace.” Her efforts have included providing support to First Nations and tribal nations to build the capacity to take action on climate change, protect lands and waters, and conserve the earth’s biodiversity. Mona is employed with the Indigenous Environmental Network as the Indigenous Water Ethics Project Coordinator. Mona is motivated by her belief that climate, sustainability and our future are not just admirable goals for Indigenous Peoples all over the world, but rather objectives that are attainable through dialogue among today’s leaders of spirituality and science. Her spiritual practice is grounded in the Havasupai, Hopi, and Tewa Original Instructions and the Native American Church.
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Indigenous Feminisms​

Claire Charlo
Indigneous Feminisms Organizer

Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes
claire@ienearth.org

She/They

Claire Charlo is a member of the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes from the Flathead Reservation in Montana.

Raised by parents she describes as, “…ahead of their time,” she was homeschooled and taught cultural lessons on medicinal plants, Salish language, beading, tanning deer hides for regalia and moccasin making. At a young age, she began her spiritual learning with song, traditional knowledge and practices and winter ceremony. The relationship with the land, plant, animal, winged and aquatic relatives were all inspirational, helping to create a spiritual foundation in the work to stop the destruction of Mother Earth. Claire started writing poetry and short articles in college and continues to do so today. She graduated from Cornell College, in Iowa, with a double Bachelor in Women and Ethnic Studies. Claire went on to University of Arizona School of Law and graduated with a Juris Doctorate. In 2021, she attended and graduated from The Berta Cáceres International Feminist Organizing School. While working full-time as a Civil Advocate for the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribal Defenders, she served on the board of the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, directing a legal self-help clinic for ten years while simultaneously raising awareness for MMIW/R and Indigenous environmental justice movements and actions. Now, the IEN Indigenous Feminisms Organizer, she identifies key issues in environmental justice that intersect with Indigenous matriarchy/feminism. Claire also raises awareness of MMIW/R and the connection between extractive industries and the violence against Earth. With her supportive partner, Claire writes poetry, sews star blankets and beads earrings and Tribal regalia while raising a teenager, and caring for nine rescue cats. During the summer, you can find Claire in the mountains, picking huckleberries and harvesting roots.
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Indigenous Sovereignty

Michael Lane
Indigenous Sovereignty Advocate

Menominee
michael@ienearth.org

Board of Directors

Manny F. Pino
President – IEN Board of Directors
Manuel Pino, is a professor of sociology and Director of American Indian Studies at Scottsdale Community College in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Along with his contributions to IEN, he also serves on the boards of the Southwest Research and Information Center, Red Rock Foundation, as well as the Laguna Acoma Coalition For A Safe Environment, of which he is a founding member. He has served as a delegate of Indigenous Peoples at United Nations conferences, forums, and summits to include the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Manuel received the 2008 Nuclear Free Future Award for activism in Munich Germany. He has published several book chapters, and articles in academic, environmental, and Indigenous publications in both the U.S. and Canada during his thirty eight plus years of work. Manuel is currently working with former American Indian uranium miners in New Mexico, Arizona, Washington and South Dakota on health issues related to radiation exposure and in Indigenous communities opposing nuclear waste storage and mining on their lands.
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Sayokla (It Snows Again) D. Williams
Treaurer, IEN Board of Directors

Turtle Clan

Sayokla is a member of the Turtle Clan and practices the traditional ways of her people called Tsyi Niyukwali:hota (Our Ways).  As a lifelong activist, Sayokla, from a very early age, spoke out against alcoholism, child and sexual abuse, and represented her community’s youth as Jr. Miss Oneida and Miss Oneida, twice.

As a lifelong activist, Sayokla, from a very early age, spoke out against alcoholism, child and sexual abuse, and represented her community’s youth as Jr. Miss Oneida and Miss Oneida, twice. She received an academic scholarship from Mount Holyoke College, an ivy-league women’s college in Massachusetts and graduated with a B.A. in Sociology. While completing her degree at Holyoke, Sayokla led a campaign and organized direct actions demanding that the new school administration maintain current and sustainable scholarship funding levels for women of color and not be reduced as was planned at the time. Soon after graduation, she was hired by IEN as the Mining Campaign Coordinator working with frontline communities through education, training, direct action, media support, and international work through the United Nations. Sayokla has worked as a Native American Sexual Assault Advocate and continues to educate on the connections between gender violence and the destruction of Mother Earth. She is currently the Indigenous Caucus Coordinator for the Western Mining Action Network.
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Debra Harry, PhD
IEN Board of Directors

Dr. Harry is an associate professor in the Department of Gender, Race, and Identity at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research analyzes the linkages between biotechnology, intellectual property and globalization in relation to Indigenous Peoples’ rights.

She has authored numerous articles including “Decolonizing Colonial Constructions of Indigenous Identity: A Conversation Between Debra Harry and Leonie Pihama”, in “The Great Vanishing Act: Blood Quantum and the Future of Native Nations, “Biocolonialism and Indigenous Knowledge in United Nations Discourse,” (2011) 20 Griffith Law Review, “Indigenous Peoples and Gene Disputes” 84 Chicago-Kent Law Review (2009). Dr. Harry is a recipient of the Nevada Department of Education Pesa Namanedu Award (2019), the Seventh Generation Fund Tradition Bearers for Biocultural Diversity Fellowship (2018), the Seventh Generation Fund Good Ancestor Award (2012), and the Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Fellowship (KNFP-14). Her teaching specialization is in Indigenous Studies, and she is playing a key role in developing Indigenous Studies course offerings at UNR. Dr. Harry earned her Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland under the supervision of renowned Maori scholar, Dr. Linda Tuhiwai Smith. She served as an adjunct professor at UNR in 2013, was hired as a Lecturer III in 2018, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2019. Dr. Debra Harry is Numu (Kooyooe Tukadu) from Pyramid Lake, Nevada.
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Faith Gemmill
IEN Board of Directors

Neets’aii Gwich’in, Pit River and Wintu

She/Her

Faith Gemmill descends from the Neets’aii Gwich’in, Pit River and Wintu peoples. She is from  Vashraii K’oo (Arctic Village), Alaska, a beautiful but harsh land of environmental extremes.

She was raised in a traditional lifestyle of subsistence hunting, fishing, and gathering by elders who taught her that land is critical to their subsistent lifeways and must be held in high regard. Her community lives a way of life that is aligned with the seasons and everything is interconnected. The physical, spiritual, cultural, social and economic means are dependent on the natural environment. Protection of the environment is critical to our survival, as well as our future generations. Her Gwich’in Nation is in Northeast Alaska and Northwest Canada along the migratory route of the Porcupine Caribou herd. In 1988, the Gwich’in Nation came together to discuss the threat of proposed oil and gas development of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and sought a permanent protection of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit_The Sacred Place Where Life Begins), the primary birthplace and nursery of the Porcupine Caribou Herd. When Faith graduated high school, she was asked to go to Washington DC to address members of congress on the issue. She was mentored by Goldman Environmental Prize awardee and Arctic National Wildlife Refuge activist Sarah James. Faith is grateful to have been taught by dynamic and powerful elders, leaders and chiefs to fight for her people. She says she did not choose her life, it was chosen for her by her elders, and leaders. Currently Faith is the Tribal Court Clerk for Venetie Village Council and a Tribal Justice advocate. She also served as the Tribal Court Administrator, Tribal Justice Director and ICWA Specialist and served on the Arctic Village Council. She is now engaged in personal and community healing and wellness. She is the founder and past Executive Director of REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands), a grassroots network and movement that was created by Alaska Natives to share knowledge, experience and strategies to address the detrimental impacts of fossil fuel, mining and climate change in Alaska. The core principles of REDOIL uphold the self -determination rights of Tribes in Alaska as well as a just transition from fossil fuel and mineral development to sustainable economies and sustainable development. Faith also served as the Program Director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, working in defense of Gwich’in ancestral way of life by seeking permanent protection of “Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit” (The Sacred Place Where Life Begins) coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge which is the primary birthplace and nursery of the Porcupine Caribou Herd upon which the Gwich’in Nation relies on to meet their subsistence needs. She joined the board of Indigenous Environmental Network in January, 2023. She currently is a board member of the International Indian Treaty Council and the Vice-President of the California Indian Environmental Alliance. She previously served as an Executive Council member on the Alaska Inter-Tribal Council, as a board member of Honor the Earth, the National Wildlife Federation and Project Underground. She enjoys sewing, cooking, baking and cultural activities.
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Shelly Vendiola
IEN Board of Directors

Swinomish, Visayan

She/Her

Michele Vendiola, known by her nickname Shelly, is of Swinomish and Visayan ancestry who has served as an IEN board member since January, 2023. She is an educator, facilitator, activist and mediator with more than 30 years experience.

She co-founded the Native Community Engagement and Peacemaking Project that provides facilitation and community engagement services in strategic planning, dispute resolution, and peacemaking circles throughout the country. She works in partnership as a consultant with the Swinomish Department of Environmental Protection’s Climate Change Resiliency Project. She also is a co-chair on the Swinomish Protect Mother Earth subcommittee and holds a seat on the Swinomish Higher Education Community Advisory Board. She currently works as the Indigenous Leadership Program Director at the Na’ah Illahee Fund. Shelly developed a place-based curriculum about the history and culture of the Swinomish peoples and taught a series of cultural sovereignty courses for over 10 years at the Northwest Indian College Native Studies Leadership Program, and is helping to develop a Swinomish Lushootseed Language Program. Previously her team provided leadership and consultation for the Lummi Cedar Project Organized Generations Healthy Lifestyles Program. She has served as president for Indigenous Women’s Network and as a campaign director for the Indigenous Environmental Network. She received several years of formal dispute resolution training from the Indian Dispute Resolution Services and the San Francisco Community Boards Program. She has an M.Ed. in Higher Education and practices indigenous pedagogy and indigenous research methodology within all aspects of her work. Shelly practices the ancient form of meditation known as Qi Gong daily for balance, energy, and resiliency. Her motto is, “There is nothing permanent in the world but change, the key is how we flow with it.”
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Twa-le Abrahamson
Secretary – IEN Board of Directors

Spokane Tribe riverwarriorsociety1@gmail.com

She/Her

Twa-le Abrhamson is of the Spokane Tribe and has served on the IEN board of directors since the spring of 2023. She is a graduate from the University of Washington with a degree in Environmental Studies and a minor in Restoration Ecology.

She has been a social and environmental justice organizer for 20 years and worked for several years in Natural Resource Management for the Spokane Tribe. She was recognized by the USEPA for outstanding community education and outreach through the production of “InnerTribal Beat,” a Native American news and music show focused on environmental news in the Northwest. Twa-le was nationally recognized by the private and nonprofit sectors for her community advocacy work on indoor air and water quality and radon issues in Indian Country. She currently works for the Washington State Human Rights Commission as a civil rights investigator. Twa-le and her mother Deb Abrahamson, also a Spokane Tribal member, founded SHAWL (Sovereignty, Health, Air, Water, Land) Society, a grassroots organization based on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Eastern Washington state. The Spokane Reservation is home to two open pit uranium mines and a uranium processing mill located upstream from their family home. Community organizing efforts focus on environmental justice, health risk factors and preventative strategies, education about the effects of radiation and heavy metals, and pathways of exposure to toxins including traditional, medicinal, and subsistence foods and plants.
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Joseph Plumer
IEN Board of Directors

Leech Lake Band of Chippewa

Joseph Plumer is a member of the Leech Lake (White Oak Point/Mississippi) Band of Chippewa Indians. While holding a seat on the IEN Board of Directors since May 2022, he is also a husband, father of six and grandfather of 11. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, in 1980, and a Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland, Ohio, in 1983.

The sole proprietor of Plumer Law Office in Bemidji, MN, he has specialized in the representation of Tribal Governments and Tribal gaming enterprises and has provided service to many Tribal courts as a Tribal court judge. Serving as General Legal Counsel to the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians he provided a variety of legal services, including consultation and representation in various tribal economic development projects; representation in multiple litigation matters; representation in fee to trust processes; negotiate government to government agreements between the Band and various federal and state agencies; and represent the Tribal Gaming Commission in all aspects of gaming regulation at the Band’s three gaming properties. He also served as Special Legal Counsel to the Red Lake Band. Joseph served as a Tribal court judge for the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa Tribal Court; the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians Tribal Court; the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Tribal Court as Special Magistrate for the Tribal Court and Pro Tem Judge of the Mille Lacs Band Court of Appeals; Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe as an Administrative Hearing Officer for the Leech Lake Band’s Gaming Division hearing appeals of employment terminations, having also previously served as Chief Judge of the Leech Lake Tribal Court and Tribal Attorney. At White Earth Band of Ojibwe, he served as General Legal Counsel where he established an in-house Legal Department. At Prairie Island Indian Community he was Assistant General Counsel while maintaining a private law practice in Apple Valley, MN. He also was employed as the Corporate Attorney for Little Six, Inc., the corporate arm of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community where he promoted tribal sovereignty, Indian gaming, employment law, commercial contract negotiation and civil litigation matters. Additionally, he was a part-time public defender in the First Judicial District of Minnesota. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Joseph was an Assistant Attorney General in the Minnesota Attorney General’s office in both the Department of Transportation and the Public Safety Division. Prior to those positions, he was in-house counsel for the White Earth Ojibwe Housing Authority and then served as a Tribal Court Judge for White Earth. In 1983, as a recipient of a Reginald Heber Smith Community Lawyer Fellowship, he was placed at Anishinabe Legal Services at Cass Lake, MN, working primarily in the areas of family law, housing law, debtor/creditor law, and public benefits law. Additionally, he represented defendants in the Leech Lake and White Earth Conservation Courts. He is licensed to practice law in all state and federal courts in Minnesota and in several Tribal courts including Leech Lake, White Earth, Bois Forte, Red Lake and Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. He is a founding board member in several organizations including the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association, Regional Native Criminal Defense Corporation, Naytahwaush Community Charter School, Indian Child Welfare Center and the 1855 Treaty Authority. He is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association, and the Tribal Judicial Leadership Team. Along with his position as an IEN board member, he sits on the board of directors of Anishinabe Legal Services. His hobbies include family activities, physical fitness, classic cars, and reading.
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Justice Peche
IEN Board of Directors

Oneida

Justice Peche is a member of the Oneida Nation and a student in the First Nations Studies and Organizational Leadership Program at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. An IEN board member and board Assistant Secretary since the spring of 2023, he is a proud Water Protector who in 2019 began organizing with the Youth Climate Movement.

Later, he took part in the Indigenous led resistance to Line 3 and Line 5 Enbridge pipelines and he continues to organize against the Back 40 mine to stop the destruction of Indigenous Menominee burial mounds and sacred sites. His work with IEN is important to him, saying he is passionate about correcting flawed environmental policies that threaten Indigenous lands, waters and air leading to the disproportionate and unjust bearing of the burden of extractive industrial waste. Justice is dedicated to organizing around exploitative and environmentally destructive projects threatening Indigenous peoples. He is an avid mountain bike cyclist and looks forward each year to fat-tire biking in the winter.
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