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.
Emma Robbins is the director of the Navajo Water Project, which provides infrastructure for Navajo families to access running water in New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. The project is a part of the water nonprofit DigDeep.
Native American households face barriers to accessing running water. About 30% of families on the Navajo reservation don’t have running water, according to the project. Robbins joined the project after growing up in an area with a high concentration of water poverty. She is a Diné artist, and uses her work to raise awareness about the need for clean water across all Native American nations. She is also an Aspen Institute Health Communities Fellow.
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
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
He serves as co-director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, as well as on a number of national boards focusing on Native American development and wellness.
Deer has specialized in victim rights and advocacy,and authored an Amnesty International report titled “Maze of Injustice:The failure to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA.” For 15 years, she advised for reform to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that passed in 2013, which allows tribes to press charges against non-tribal members who inflict violence against native women while on tribal land.
Deer has discussed domestic violence on reservations and VAWA in reports by Laura Sullivan and Hansi Lo Wang. She has also been on Minnesota Public Radio, PRI’s The World, Al Jazeera and MSNBC.
Assistant Professor at the William Mitchell College of Law
Areas of Expertise: Tribal Law, Domestic Assault and Sexual Violence, Victim Rights, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
Van Alst has been heard on NPR’s Morning Edition and Weekend Edition Sunday, and has been featured in the Washington Post, Canadian Broadcast Corporation, Native American Calling, Smithsonian Magazine and Al Jazeera America for his expertise in Native American culture.
Assistant Professor of Native American Studies at the University of Montana
Areas of Expertise: Native American History and Culture