Who We Are

Defend. Develop. Decolonize.

We are unapologetically, unabashedly, NDN. United like never before, we rise together—arm in arm—to equip all Indigenous Peoples with the tools needed to become architects of our future. Through a holistic approach to infrastructure, funding, advocacy, consulting, and philanthropy we are fostering a world of justice and equity for all people and the planet.

Our Mission

Build the collective power of Indigenous Peoples, communities, and Nations to exercise our inherent right to self-determination, while fostering a world that is built on a foundation of justice and equity for all people and the planet.

Our Vision

A world that is just and equitable for all people and the planet.

Our Values

#1. The interconnectedness of all things.

We believe in and act upon the notion that people, nature, society, and all living things are interconnected, in relation to one another, and operate as a system. Almost every Indigenous language in the world has a word or phrase that conveys:

“We are all related”

“All my relations”

“All things are connected”


#2. Indigenous self-determination. 

The self-determination of Indigenous Peoples is the cornerstone of our purpose and existence. This is why we support efforts that are Indigenous-led and in alignment with our values. The people most impacted by systems of oppression must be the ones to lead their communities to equity, justice, and liberation.

#3. Equity and justice for all people and the planet.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We believe that we must build political, financial, and philanthropic structures that create equitable communities. Climate justice is a necessary response to climate change, which affects everybody everywhere, is human induced, and expedited by multi-national corporations, systems, and governments. We are committed to a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels to protect our people and our planet.

Leadership

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Nick Tilsen

President & CEO

Oglala Lakota

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Kim Pate

Vice President

Cherokee and Choctaw

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Alberta Eagle

Executive Support Manager

Oglala Lakota

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Sarah Sunshine Manning

Director of Communications

Shoshone-Paiute

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Dr. PennElys Droz

Director of Fellowship & Prize

Anishinaabe/Wyandot

Board Members

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Crystal Echo Hawk

Pawnee of Oklahoma

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Dave Archambault II

Oglala Lakota

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Judith LeBlanc

Caddo

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Edgar Villanueva

Lumbee

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Princess Daazhraii Johnson

Neets'aii Gwich'in

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Camille Kalama

Hawaiian

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Melina Laboucan-Massimo

Lubicon Cree

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Wahleah Johns

Diné

Nick Tilsen - President & CEO

Nick Tilsen
President & CEO
Oglala Lakota

Nick Tilsen, NDN Collective Founder, President and CEO, is a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation. He oversees the entire operation of NDN Collective. Tilsen, a highly effective leader, strategist and communicator garners new opportunities, promotes strong branding, and cultivates relationships with potential funders and partners across NDN Collective and its entities and programs. Tilsen received an honorary doctorate from Sinte Gleska College in South Dakota. Tilsen has received numerous fellowships and awards from Ashoka, Rockefeller Foundation, Bush Foundation and the Social Impact Award from Claremont-Lincoln University.

Kim Pate - Managing Director, NDN Fund

Kim Pate
Vice President
Cherokee and Choctaw

Kim Pate, NDN Collective Vice President, is a descendant of the Eastern Band Cherokee and Mississippi Choctaw tribes. Pate leads the daily operation of the organization and plays an important strategic role within NDN Collective, understanding both the long-term goals of NDN Collective as a whole and the specific resources of the various entities and programs. Pate holds a Law Degree from University of California at Los Angeles School of Law and is admitted to practice in Nez Perce Tribal Court and California. She received a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University.

Alberta Eagle, Oglala Lakota  - Executive Support Manager

Alberta Eagle
Executive Support Manager
Oglala Lakota

Alberta Eagle, NDN Collective Executive Support Manager, is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Nation. Eagle manages NDN Collective’s Rapid City Headquarters, coordinates interoffice communications and plans major events. She also supports the Executive Team, Board of Directors, budgeting and fundraising. Eagle attended New Mexico State University and graduated with a Bachelor's in Business Administration with minors in Management and Marketing.

Sarah Manning, Director of Communications

Sarah Sunshine Manning
Director of Communications
Shoshone-Paiute

Sarah Sunshine Manning, NDN Collective Director of Communications, is a citizen of the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation in Idaho and Nevada, and Chippewa-Cree of Rocky Boy, Montana. Manning directs NDN Collective’s communications strategy and impact. She also and serves as producer of the NDN Podcast While Indigenous and as editor of the NDN blog. Manning holds bachelor’s degrees in American Indian Studies, Social Science-History, and licensure in Secondary Education. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication with graduate coursework also in project management.

Dr. PennElys Droz, Director of Fellowship & Prize

Dr. PennElys Droz
Director of Fellowship & Prize
Anishinaabe/Wyandot

Dr. PennElys Droz, NDN Collective Director of Fellowship & Prize, is Anishinaabe/Wyandot. Droz directs the planning, execution and evaluation of the NDN Fellowship & Prize. She has worked in the Indigenous environmental and regenerative Nation building movements for twenty years, with the vision of the re-development of ecologically, culturally and economically thriving and resilient Native Nations. She holds a master’s of science in Environmental Systems Engineering and a doctorate, authoring works on Indigenous engineering methodologies for resilient, spiritually based and culturally powerful nation-building.

Crystal Echo Hawk

Crystal Echo Hawk
Pawnee of Oklahoma

Crystal Echo Hawk is an enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and President and CEO of Echo Hawk Consulting. Echo Hawk Consulting advises tribal and philanthropic clients on grant making, program development, communications, strategic partnerships and policy change strategies. Areas of expertise include: Charitable giving in Indian Country, food sovereignty, nutrition, health, early childhood development, revitalization of Native languages, issues related to the protection of tribal sovereignty and Native youth. Currently, Echo Hawk Consulting is co-leading an unprecedented national initiative, Reclaiming Native Truth: A Project to Dispel America’s Myths and Misconceptions. Prior to leading Echo Hawk Consulting, Echo Hawk served as the Executive Director for the Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation from 2009-2014. She received both her Master’s Degree in Social and Political Thought and Bachelor’s Degree in European History from the University of Sussex at Falmer, England.

Dave Archambault II

Dave Archambault II
Oglala Lakota

Dave Archambault II in an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Nation. He is the Chief Consulting Officer for First Nation Health Care, empowering Tribal Nations through health care. Archambault was the 45th Chairman for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Prior to Chairman, he was employed at United Tribes Technical College as the director of a US Department of Labor workforce grant (TCC DeMaND Workforce), a project that focuses on developing the workforce in Indian Country. Archambault earned his Associates of Science in Marketing, Associates of Arts in Business Administration at Sitting Bull College, a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration at North Dakota State University, a Master’s Degree in Management at University of Mary, and was honored with a Honoris Causa Doctorate of Law Degree from Vermont Law School. Recently, he emerged as a global leader for Indigenous Peoples’ rights as he led his Nation’s opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Judith LeBlanc

Judith LeBlanc
Caddo

Judith LeBlanc is an enrolled member of the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma. The Native Organizers Alliance is a national Native training and organizing network which provides Native organizers, tribal governments and non-profits trainings based on traditional Indigenous knowledge values and practices. LeBlanc co-chaired the May 2016 Fertile Ground Planning Committee and co-edited the Fertile Ground II: Growing the Seeds of Native American Health Final Report. The convening gathered 200 Native community, tribal leaders, public health experts and members of the philanthropic community to share case studies and strategies for healthier Native communities, highlighting the urgent need for philanthropy to invest in Indian Country. LeBlanc is currently working with tribal governments, traditional elders and Native community groups in South Dakota who are organizing to protect the hydroscape.

Edgar Villanueva

Edgar Villanueva
Lumbee

Edgar Villanueva in an enrolled member of the Lumbee Nation. He is the Vice President of Programs and Advocacy at the Schott Foundation where he leads grant making and advocacy supports for education justice. Villanueva is a nationally-recognized expert on social justice philanthropy, previously holding leadership roles at Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and at the Marguerite Casey Foundation. He currently serves on the chair of the board of directors of Native Americans in Philanthropy and is a trustee of Andrus Family Fund. Villanueva is also an instructor with The Grantmaking School at the Johnson Center at Grand Valley State University and is the author of Decolonizing Wealth, a new book that offers alternatives to the dynamics of colonization in the social finance sector.

Princess Daazhraii Johnson

Princess Daazhraii Johnson
Neets'aii Gwich'in

Princess Daazhraii Johnson is Neets'aii Gwich'in and her family is from Arctic Village, Alaska. Johnson is the former Executive Director for the Gwich'in Steering Committee and is a founding member of the Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition. She also has experience working on climate adaptation for tribes through her on-going work with the Cold Climate Housing Research Center. Johnson received a B.A. in International Relations from The George Washington University and a Masters in Education at the University of Alaska Anchorage with a focus on Environmental and Science Education. She has been a member of the SAG-AFTRA Native American Committee since 2007 and also serves on the Board of Dancing with the Spirit, a program that promotes spiritual wellness through music. In 2015 Johnson was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Board of Trustees for the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is based in Alaska and is currently creative producing an animated series for the WGBH that will premiere on PBS in 2019.

Kahoʻokahi Kanuha

Camille Kalama
Hawaiian

Camille Kalama is a kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiian) from O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. She and her family live in Waiawa they call Hanakehau Learning Farm, a space dedicated to the restoration of land and Hawaiian cultural practices. Since 2006, Camille has served as a staff attorney with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation. She currently serves as a co-litigation director for the organization. She attended the University of Hawai`i and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Geography in 2000 and is a 2005 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law. She joined NHLC in 2006 after clerking for one year at the Hawaii Supreme Court. Ms. Kalama sees her work with NHLC to protect and preserve native rights and resources as her kuleana, or responsibility, as a Native Hawaiian. Her current caseload includes representing clients seeking access to their kuleana lands, assisting kalo farmers in seeking the restoration of stream water to protect their traditional and customary rights, protecting iwi kupuna, and assisting Department of Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries in resolving various legal issues to preserve their homesteads for themselves and their families. Camille provided legal observer support on Mauna Kea and Haleakala in 2015 for the protectors challenging the construction of massive telescopes on mountains held sacred by the Hawaiian community. She worked for many years for the Polynesian Voyaging Society and in 2001 was named NCAA Woman Athlete of the Year for the state of Hawaii.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Lubicon Cree First

Melina Laboucan-Massimo
Lubicon Cree

Melina Laboucan-Massimo is a member of the Lubicon Cree First from Northern Alberta, Canada. She has worked on social, environmental and climate justice issues for the past 15 years. Currently a Fellow at the David Suzuki Foundation, Laboucan-Massimo’s research is focused on Climate Change, Indigenous Knowledge and Renewable Energy. For over a decade, she worked as a Climate and Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace Canada and the Indigenous Environmental Network internationally. Laboucan-Massimo has written for a variety of publications and produced short documentaries on the tar sands, climate change, water issues and Indigenous cultural revitalization. She has also worked on the issue of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women in Canada after the suspicious death of her sister Bella whose case still remains unsolved. Laboucan-Massimo holds a Masters degree in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria with a focus on Renewable Energy in First communities. Her most recent project is hosting a TV series called Power to the People, which documents renewable energy, food security and eco-housing in Indigenous communities across North America. Laboucan-Massimo currently serves on the Board of 350.org as well as the steering committees of Indigenous Climate Action, Energy Futures Lab, and Seeding Sovereignty.

Wahleah Johns, Navajo

Wahleah Johns
Diné

Wahleah Johns is a tribal member of the Navajo from Tonizhoni, Arizona. She currently resides in Oakland, CA with her two daughters and husband. She co-founded Native Renewables, an organization working to provide solar energy for tribal communities. Johns has over 15 years of community organizing for water protection, economic and environmental justice. She serves as the Chair of the Navajo Green Economy Commission.

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I know what it’s like to grow up indigenous in a country and culture that does not embrace my features or skin-color. Coming of age in Michoacán and California, I was called names like ‘indita,’ ‘charilla’ and ‘oaxaquita’ – diminutive slurs meant to infantilize and demean indigenous people. As an anthropologist conducting fieldwork in Mexico, […]

Episode #03

Spunky Squaw Online Activism

Indigenous organizers Yolonda Bluehorse, Jade Begay, and Nick Estes weigh in on the issue of "The Spunky Squaw" online boutique, which recently came on the radar of Indigenous social media users for its use of the dehumanizing "S-word."

Episode #02

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Indigenous Peoples Day proclamations are rapidly replacing Columbus Day across the U.S. In this episode, we talk to five Indigenous activists and organizers about their work and what Indigenous Peoples Day means to them.

Episode #01

An Interview With Nick Tilsen

In this episode we interview Nick Tilsen, founder of NDN Collective, about the organization.

We are unapologetically, unabashedly, NDN. United like never before, we rise together—arm in arm—to equip all Indigenous Peoples with the tools needed to become architects of our future. Through a holistic approach to infrastructure, funding, advocacy, consulting, and philanthropy we are fostering a world of justice and equity for all people and the planet.