Nick Tilsen, President & CEO, is a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation. Tilsen has over 18 years of experience building place-based innovations that have the ability to inform systems change solutions around climate resiliency, sustainable housing and equitable community development. He founded NDN Collective to scale these place-based solutions while building needed philanthropic, social impact investment, capacity and advocacy infrastructure geared towards building the collective power of Indigenous Peoples. Tilsen has received numerous fellowships and awards from Ashoka, Rockefeller Foundation, Bush Foundation and the Social Impact Award from Claremont-Lincoln University. He has an honorary doctorate degree from Sinte Gleska University.
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, supports communications and evaluation and plays important strategic and communications roles within NDN Collective. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Stanford University and a Juris Doctorate from University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. Pate is admitted to practice in Nez Perce Tribal Court and California.
Dr. PennElys Droz, NDN Collective Director of Fellowship & Prize, is Anishinaabe/Wyandot from the US-Canadian border. Droz directs the planning, execution and evaluation of the NDN Fellowship & Prize. Droz brings two decades experience in the Indigenous environmental and regenerative Nation building movements to re-develop ecologically, culturally and economically thriving and resilient Native Nations. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Technology and a Master’s degree in Environmental Resource Engineering from Humboldt State University and a PhD in Biocultural Engineering Design, American Indian Studies from University of Arizona.
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 has Bachelor’s degrees in American Indian Studies, Social Science-History, and licensure in Secondary Education. She has a Master’s degree in journalism and mass communication.
Nikki Pieratos, NDN Fund Managing Director, is Bois Forte Band of Chippewa. Pieratos is responsible for the leadership, management, and growth of NDN Fund, which provides loans and grants for large-scale Indigenous infrastructure development projects. Pieratos is an accomplished leader in community development finance with nine years of experience. She has a Bachelor’s degree in history and education from Fitchburg State University and a Master’s degree in economics and public policy from the University of Chicago.
Alberta Eagle, Executive Support Manager, is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota. Eagle manages the Rapid City Headquarters, supports the Executive Team, Board of Directors, Finance Team and Advancement Team. She also coordinates interoffice communications, staff experience, fiscal sponsorships and major event planning. Eagle has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with minors in Management and Marketing from New Mexico State University.
Deanna Lammers, Administrative Associate, is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota. She assists with daily duties at the Rapid City office, manages office procurement and supports the Executive Team, Finance Team and staff as a whole. Lammers has been a legal assistant and brings over a decade of experience empowering youth and has owned her own business. Deanna attended Black Hills State and Oglala Lakota College.
Michael Johnson, Director of Advancement, is a citizen of the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota and a relative of the White Earth Nation where his grandfather is a citizen. He leads NDN Collective’s Advancement work and team. Johnson’s work over the last decade has engaged key stakeholders in Indian Country and beyond to create lasting relationships built on respect, reciprocity, impact, and success. Johnson has a has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado Denver.
Michelle Fox, NDN Partners Managing Director, is an enrolled member of the Fort Belknap Indian Community in Montana. With over 15 years of corporate experience, Fox brings an extensive background in strategic and financial management to NDN Collective. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Western Governor’s University, and is pursuing a Juris Doctorate from Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
Andrew Bentley, Director of Grantmaking, is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. He manages and leads NDN Collective’s grantmaking efforts. Andrew graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA with a B.A. in Broadcasting, Telecommunications, and Mass Media. Born and raised in Baltimore, MD, Andrew currently resides in Rapid City, SD with his wife and child.
Canté Heart, NDN Collective Campaign Organizer, is Sicangu Lakota, Winnebago (Ho-Chunk), and a citizen of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. She is a graduate of Oglala Lakota College with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration specializing in Management.
Jade Begay, Creative Director, is Diné and Tesuque Pueblo of New Mexico. Begay leads NDN Collective’s multimedia content development through strategic narrative development and creative content design. Begay has extensive experience as a multimedia producer, filmmaker and communications professional working in non-profit and Indigenous organizations. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Video and a Master of Arts degree in Environmental Leadership.
Sarah Pierce, Director of Education Equity, is Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Pierce has 8 years of experience working and advocating for Title VI Indian Education Programs, working at Rapid City Area Schools in South Dakota and at Omaha Public Schools in Nebraska. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a master’s of education degree from Creighton University, and a PK-12 Administrator endorsement from the University of South Dakota. Pierce will lead NDN Collective’s education equity campaign work, expanding opportunities for Native American students to have access to culturally relevant and culturally responsive learning environments.
Billie White, NDN Collective Advancement Coordinator, is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota. White supports the fundraising strategy and manages donor relations. She has nearly three years of nonprofit development experience. White has a Bachelor’s degree from Black Hills State University in Sociology and Human Services, with an emphasis in community service.
Board of Directors
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dave Archambault II in an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Nation and a citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. 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.
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.Close
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.
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.