John was born on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana. He has over 40 years’ experience as a caseworker, program manager, teacher, and trainer. At Fort Belknap he worked as a tribal health planner, group home director, parenting project coordinator, foster parent, tribal councilman, and tribal college president.
In Oregon he directed a student substance abuse program at Chemawa Indian School in Salem for 7 years (1988-95) and directed the Social Services Department at the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde for 3 years (1995-98). He also taught for 20 years at the Portland State University School of Social Work (1998-2017).
Since 2009 he has helped provide therapeutic horsemanship workshops that have included several hundred Native American youth from all the 9 Oregon Tribes. He and his partners have also provided equine therapy workshops at 4 of the 9 Oregon Tribes. He is certified through Becoming One with the Spirit of the Horse at Standing Rock, ND. John served 6 years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and has been sober for 37 years.
Bio Coming Soon
Wayne is an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes. He was born in Polson, Montana on the shore of the Lower Flathead River and raised in St. Ignatius, both on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Northwest Montana. He is a graduate of Dartmouth University and Harvard Law School. Wayne served as General Counsel for the Cow Creek Umpqua tribe in Oregon from 1996-2014 and as General Counsel for the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation in 2016. He is currently Assistant General Counsel for Prosper Portland and is a member of the Oregon State and Colorado State Bar Associations.
Jermayne Tuckta is an enrolled member of the Confederated tribes of Warm Springs. Currently, he is enrolled at Portland State University, going for a major in History and a double minor in Anthropology and Indigenous Nations Studies. Outside of school, he teaches his native language, Ichishkin (Sahaptin). He has taught many age groups, from elementary, high school, college and community adult classes. Along with teaching language, Jermayne enjoys teaching tribal history, so that others may learn the pride of their ancestors.
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.
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.
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.
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.
BIO COMING SOON
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.
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.