Dr. Holly Miowak Guise is an assistant professor of history at the University of New Mexico. An Iñupiaq Alaska Native, she is an expert in Indigenous U.S. history (with a focus on World War II-era Alaskan history) and the growing movement within modern day Indigenous activists called Rematriation, the practice of returning ideas, things and practices to their original, natural context as a form of cultural healing.
Guise has been working on a digital humanities project that features oral histories from Native elders, veterans and Unangan internment survivors. In 2008, she began traveling throughout Alaska to interview dozens of veterans to uncover forgotten or overlooked aspects of WWII history. In 2013, she pivoted to interviewing Alaska Native elders about their memories of WWII-era Alaska as service members, civilians and children.
The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development named Guise one of its “40 Under 40” Native leaders making significant impacts within their communities.
Expertise Fields: Indigenous American history, World War II Pacific history, Alaska history, segregation, race and ethnicity, Native relocation and internment camps, Native women’s history, and Indigenous military service during WWII, Alaska Native activist Elizabeth Peratrovich
Dr. Sarah Aarons is an earth scientist and assistant professor in San Diego who can speak about the effects of global climate change, the patterns of weather throughout history and decolonizing science. Decolonization efforts are designed to counteract the overrepresentation and dominance of white European values and ideas in numerous disciplines. As an Iñupiaq (Alaska Native) woman born and raised in Alaska, Aarons’s growing awareness of her matrilineal homeland’s struggles with climate change greatly influenced her choice of career.
Aarons’s personal ties to the subject make her especially qualified to discuss climate change in polar regions and the potential effects of new weather patterns. Aarons is also working to understand how land use today may impact the sediment travels of tomorrow and where nutrients may be redistributed in the future.
Greater attention is being paid to not only the quality of the soil beneath us, but also to the makeup of sediments that travel in the air. Sediments can travel for miles across oceans, revealing information about global weather patterns based on the origins of the soil.
Aarons received the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development 40 under 40 award and was named a Kavli Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences. She currently serves on the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) Diversity and Inclusion Leadership team and is one of less than 60 Native American and Alaska Native individuals with PhDs in Earth science. She has presented her research nationally and internationally.
Location: San Diego, CA
Climate, decolonizing science, polar regions, dust, ice, tracing weathering and geologic history, using isotope systems in tracing, geochemistry, tracing origins and transport pathways of ancient dust, tracking modern dust sources and nutrient composition
Alannah Hurley has worked extensively in community development and environmental justice and is dedicated to helping make self-determination a reality for Alaska’s indigenous people.
She is the executive director of United Tribes of Bristol Bay, a tribally chartered consortium of 15 federally recognized tribes opposed to the Pebble Mine in Alaska, and can provide insight on the environmental and Alaska Native opposition to the project.
The proposed mine has long been controversial due to its location in the headwaters of Bristol Bay, home to the world’s largest wild sockeye salmon fishery. Opponents say the massive gold and copper complex will likely pollute the bay and harm the salmon runs.
The Obama administration agreed, and blocked the project, but the Trump administration reversed course — last month’s environmental review said it would pose no major harm.
Hurley is Yup’ik, and was born, raised and currently lives in the Bristol Bay Region. She graduated from the University of New Mexico with a B.A. in Native American studies and a minor in political science.
Location: Dillingham, AK
Expertise Field: Alaska Native opposition to the Pebble Mine, environmental conservation and activism
Carla Fredericks is the director of the American Indian Law Clinic at the University of Colorado Law School and of the indigenous advocacy organization First Peoples Worldwide. She’s an expert on Native American law, rights and tribal sovereignty.
As part of the broader movement for racial justice following George Floyd’s death — and after years of resistance — Washington’s NFL team is finally considering a name change following pressure from corporate sponsors like FedEx.
Fredericks can provide context on the long campaign by Native activists to change the name of the D.C. team and how Native Americans and the fight for tribal sovereignty fit into the broader movement for racial justice.
Before joining the University of Colorado, Fredericks was a partner at Milberg LLP in New York. She maintains a pro bono practice, and provided legal counsel to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe during and after the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Dean Seneca is CEO of Seneca Scientific Solutions, a consulting agency that provides tribal nations and other clients with assistance in economic and community development. The agency’s services include strategic planning, epidemiology and health research.
With over 20 years of experience with infectious disease outbreaks, Seneca has worked to combat Anthrax, H1N1, Ebola, Zika and COVID-19. Seneca was previously a senior health scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support, where he was responsible for building the CDC’s ability to support health departments across the country.
Prior to his time at the CDC, Seneca was the tribal planning director for the Seneca Nation of Indians, which is based in western New York.
Location: Cattaraugus, N.Y.
Expertise: Chronic and infectious diseases, emergency preparedness and response, environmental health, toxicology and maternal/child health, American Indian/Alaska Native health
Rose Elizondo is a restorative justice expert and advocate for peaceful prison reform. Her work focuses on indigenous peacemaking, community building and finding healing alternatives to the criminal justice system.
Elizondo has worked as a restorative justice organizer in the Northern California region for nearly 15 years. In 2005 she co-founded the San Quentin Prison Restorative Justice Interfaith Roundtable, which is now one of the largest grassroots prison restorative justice initiatives in the United States. As a 2017 Soros Fellow, she plans to continue to work with Navajo community leaders in creating alternatives to the justice system in through the use of cultural traditions and practices.
2017 Soros Justice Fellow and Prison Reform Advocate
Areas of Expertise: Restorative Justice, Indigenous Peacemaking, Racial Equity and its intersections of Mass Incarceration, Restorative Economics and Food Justice.
Location: Crownpoint, NM and San Francisco, CA
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Matthew L.M. Fletcher is a Professor of Law at Michigan State University College of Law, and Director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center. He is the primary editor and author of the leading law blog on American Indian law and policy, Turtle Talk.
In addition to his academic work, he is an appellate judge for the Hoopa Valley Tribal Court of Appeals, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians Appellate Court, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Tribal Court of Appeals, and the Chief Appellate Judge for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Supreme Court.
Kim TallBear is an Associate Professor of Native Studies at the University of Alberta in Canada and Research Chair in its department of Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience and Environment. An enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate tribe in South Dakota, her research focuses on the relationship between science and race/identity among Native American peoples.
TallBear’s most recent book, Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science, examines the scientific premise behind Native Americans’ ownership (or former ownership) of lands and natural resources. She has traveled to the United States, Canada and United Kingdom to share her commentary on issues related to indigenous peoples, science and technology.
Associate Professor of Native Studies and Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment, University of Alberta
Location: Edmonton, Canada
Areas of Expertise: Indigenous peoples, environmental science, genetics, native studies, sexuality, race/identity
Dina Gilio-Walker is Policy Director and Senior Research Associate at the Center for World Indigenous Studies. A member of the Colville Confederated Tribes, her research interests include political autonomy among indigenous nations and the complex relationship between Native American communities and modern America. Additionally, she has completed research in critical sports studies, specifically as it relates to the intersection of indigenous culture and the sport of surfing.
Walker’s latest book, “All the Real Indians Died Off” and 20 Other Myths About Native Americans examines the most commonly-held myths and commonly-held beliefs about Native American culture and history. She is a frequent contributor to the Indian Country Media Network and her commentary has been featured by a number of news outlets including the Boston Globe, Mic.com and CSPAN Book Talk.
Policy Director and Senior Research Associate, Center for World Indigenous Studies
Location: San Clemente, CA
Areas of Expertise: Native American culture, critical sports studies, indigenous peoples, surfing, Native American history, higher education
Dennis Smith is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he primarily teaches Native American History. His research focuses on the cultures of Assiniboine and Sioux Plains Tribes as well as the salmon traditions of Pacific Northwest Native American and British Columbia First Nations tribes. His most extensive research has been on the oral traditions of the Dakota and Assiniboine tribes. He is of Assiniboine descent.
Smith is currently in the process of publishing a book consisting of a series of historical essays with a focus on the cultures of Dakota and Assiniboine tribal leaders, to be published in May 2018. The essays are intended to place their experiences in a modern context, specifically as it relates to current developments at Standing Rock. His goal, he says, is to advance the knowledge and teaching of Native American history in both society and Higher Education.
Associate Professor of History, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Areas of Expertise: Native American History, American History, Native American Oral Traditions, Standing Rock, Assiniboine Tribe, Dakota Tribe, Higher Education