Nicholas Belgard was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and is an enrolled member of The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. Having served as Web Services Director for Native Network, Inc. from 2009 through 2013, he went on to utilize his experience in Information Technology and programming to run his own web development firm, and his work includes many original web development and maintenance contracts for a variety of Native businesses and organizations. Besides his previous work in web development, he is also an accomplished musician, producer, and engineer, and has worked with various bands and artists throughout Portland. Combining his passions of music and web design with his love of auto mechanics and food, he went on to open Turtle Island Grille, LLC, an Indigenous Food Truck startup and Cultural Experience located in Portland, Oregon.
JR Lilly was born in Fort Defiance, Ariz., as a member of the Dine (Navajo) Nation. A passion for serving the Native American community is evident in many aspects of JR’s life, most noticeably in his serving leading multiple service trips to his reservation, and guest lecturing in various classroom settings. He has also served different tribes in North Carolina, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Virginia, New Mexico, and Arizona with several projects over the years.
Executive Director Sean Aaron Cruz has devoted more than ten years to working on the legacy of Jim Pepper and building this organization. He served as Senator Avel Gordly’s chief of staff for six years (2003-2008), working under her leadership on issues of cultural competence in health care systems, mental health, environmental justice and issues of specific interest to Oregon’s nine federally-recognized tribes.
Sean is co-author of Winona LaDuke’s The Militarization of Indian Country (2012) and editor of The Winona LaDuke Chronicles: Stories from the Front Lines in the Battle for Environmental Justice (2016). Jim Pepper is quoted in both books.
BIO COMING SOON
Allen is a registered tribal member of the Cherokee Nation and pastor of Wilshire United Methodist Native American Fellowship in NE Portland. He received his doctorate in Community Development from Drew University; Master of Divinity from Emory University, Candler School of Theology; B.A. Philosophy of Ethics & Religion from University of Oklahoma.
Aurolyn served as Vice Chair of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Tribal Council 2007-2010, and is a co-founder of the Potlatch Fund. She is the owner of Red Skye Trading Post and Pawn Shop in Warm Springs. She is a championship powwow dancer and currently serves on the board of the Warm Springs Museum. Aurolyn holds an MBA from the University of Minnesota, Master’s degree and Ph.D studies in Human and Organizational Systems from the Fielding Graduate University, and a BA in Accounting. She was Vice President of Strategic Planning for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s Mystic Lake Casino and has consulted for the Gila River Indian Community in Arizona, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, First Nations reserves in Canada, and many other tribes.
Rebekah is a business owner in Parkrose where two of her children attended school. She is a registered tribal member of the Cherokee Nation. She has been working booths and networking with other vendors at festivals for 14 years. Rebekah organizes vendor relations and contracting, providing a balance of artists, community service and commercial booths for both Native vendors and local community members and businesses.
Robert is enrolled at the federally-recognized Umatilla Agency at Mission, Oregon. He is a lifelong advocate for Native concerns and rights, and to love and care for natural life on Mother Earth. He serves on the boards of two other nonprofits: Tryon Life Sustainable Living, and Social Justice Action Center.
Cassie is a Navajo/Anglo filmmaker and photographer. B.A. in film, College of Santa Fe. Her production work includes Renovation Nation, Yohan: The Child Wanderer, Grammy Awards, BET Hip Hop Awards, Prime Time Emmy Awards, 39th People’s ChoiceAwards. She was a mentor for Native American youth in 2013-14 (Seattle International Film Festival) and for Paper Rocket Productions' filmmaking workshop at the Navajo reservation in Shiprock, NM (2015). She teaches filmmaking to Native American youth at Chemawa Indian School.
Ko-Na Foster Kalama (Wasco/Warm Springs) is a respected tribal elder, Columbia River fisherman, artist and carver, musician, flute player and a maker of flutes. He taught at Madras 509J School District for 18 years and served as liaison between the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and the District. Foster was Director of the Cultural Enrichment Club at Madras High School for 15 years.