2017 Symposium Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Faith Spotted Eagle (Tunkan Inajin Winyan, “Standing Stone”) is a member of the Ihanktonwan Dakota/Nakota on the Yankton Sioux Reservation, SD. She has played a leading role in the alliances opposing the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines. She attended the American University and Black Hills State College, and holds an MA in Educational Psychology and Counseling from the University of South Dakota. She has been a private consultant in PTSD counseling for veterans, as well as a school counselor and principal, and a Dakota language teacher at Sinte Gleska College. She is a founding member of the Brave Heart Society (an organization for teaching girls about traditional culture), chair of the Ihanktonwan Treaty Committee, and the manager of Brave Heart Lodge in Lake Andes, which seeks to preserve Dakota cultural beliefs for the future. She has served as a delegate of the Treaty Committee NGO at the United Nations. In the 2016 election, she became the first Native woman to receive an electoral vote for President.

Chief Rueben George is a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in North Vancouver, British Columbia. After serving his nation as Director of Community Development, he shifted his focus to protecting Burrard Inlet, traditional Tsleil-Waututh territory, from the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project, as part of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative. Rueben George is also a spiritual leader and was made a made a Sun Dance Chief by Chief Leonard Crow Dog in South Dakota, former medicine man for the American Indian Movement, sometimes called “Chief of Chiefs.” Rueben has become one of the best known voices in the media in Canada and internationally in the conversation about the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline and related issues.


Marles BlackBird (Hunkpapa Lakota) is an Olympia LMT (licensed massage therapist) and water protector supporting human and Indigenous rights. At the age of 19, she moved to her father’s birthplace on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Her education was at Black Hills State College, Standing Rock Community College, Pierce College, The Evergreen State College (where she became active in the American Indian Movement), and the Seattle Massage School. She has an A.A. in Early Childhood Education, and worked as a teacher’s aide at McLaughlin Elementary School (Cannon Ball ND), and Wa-He-Lut Indian School (Franks Landing WA). She also worked in the background in films such as Thunderheart and Dances With Wolves.

Roma Castellanos is from San Antonio, Texas. His emphasis is Environmental Justice and cultural studies. As a student in Resource Rebels: Environmental Justice Movements Building Hope, Roma studied possible economic options for the Port of Grays Harbor as alternatives to fossil fuel shipping.

Jamie Donatuto is the Environmental Health Analyst with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community. She and her colleague Larry Campbell focus their work on developing culturally-meaningful and appropriate community-based indicators of indigenous health with Coast Salish Tribes and Canadian First Nations. Dr. Donatuto also works on toxics trends monitoring, Superfund cleanup challenges, and climate change impacts and adaptation measures.

Lydia Celia Kiitukuut Drescher is a California Native (Tongva/Fernandeño), from the Los Angeles basin with Indigenous familial roots in California, Texas and northern Mexico. Lydia resides in western Washington with her family where she is a mother, wife, entrepreneur and Evergreen 2014 alum. An advocate of language and cultural revitalization, food sovereignty, and community building. Her current project is an Indigenous community space and healing garden modeled after the collective work at Standing Rock.

Cedar George-Parker is a member of the Tulalip Tribes located on Coast Salish territory in the U.S. and the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation in North Vancouver, British Columbia. He has worked for many years with his parents to protect the lands of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Tulalip Tribes from the Kinder Morgan pipeline and other threats to Coast Salish territory. Cedar travels internationally participating in climate solutions meetings with Indigenous peoples throughout the world. He recently visited Australia and New Zealand and stood with the Standing Rock Sioux against the Dakota Access Pipeline. He has also spoken at the United Nations and met with the Canadian government in Ottawa.

Tyson Johnston is Vice-President of the Quinault Indian Nation, in Taholah WA, and has been a tribal spokesperson and key advocate in opposition to fossil fuel development in the Pacific Northwest for several years. He has held elected office with the Quinault Indian Nation since March 2011, where he has been a policy lead in natural resources, self-governance, and intergovernmental relations.

Becky Kinley and the Lummi Youth Canoe Family (Nickolasa Revey, Kiera Hillaire, and Tera Gaona). We are Lummi youth who believe that cultural identity teaches us and sustains us for today and tomorrow, with the guidance of our elders who have taught us Lummi values and disciplines. Through integration of the canoe, we have been able to find a sense of belonging. We have defined meaning to not only empower ourselves, but help those around us. The Lummi Youth Canoe Family meets weekly to do cultural activities that prepare us for the annual intertribal canoe journey hosted in July. Activities include, but are not limited to: hands-on cultural art, language, gathering and preservation of natural resources; advocating for our rights as Lummi people, engaging in community service opportunities, and participating in national and international cultural exchanges. We started as a small group of five members and have grown, serving nearly 80 members, over the last five years. Those who meet the age limit of the program take with them invaluable skill sets, knowledge, goal setting, and experiences in preparing them for future challenges. Many of these graduates apply for scholarships and plan future careers in vocational and professional fields. We offer young people alternative ways of dealing with various types of mental health issues other than the use of drugs and alcohol. Under the direction of Lummi Behavioral Health Division and Lummi System of Care Expansion, the Canoe Family receives guidance in helping to reduce mental health stigma through the intergenerational teachings from our elders. Starting in 2007, our kids have traveled in seven canoe journeys and we have started to travel the Pacific Rim in cultural exchanges so we can understand the success and struggles that other indigenous communities face in comparison to our community.

Erika Lincango is a Kitu-Panzaleo indigenous migrant journalist from Ecuador. She holds a degree as Expert on Indigenous Peoples, Human Rights and international cooperation from the University Carlos III of Madrid. She is a University of Oregon School of Journalism graduate, with degrees in Public Relations and Advertising, dedicated to the research and monitoring of the drafting and implementation of the declaration on Indigenous peoples rights and human rights violations within indigenous peoples territories. In 2013, she founded Eco Justice Abya Yala an indigenous communication project dedicated to monitoring the rights of Nature, the Mega development projects and the application of the Anti-Terrorist Law within Latin American countries to criminalize Indigenous peoples ancestral demands over the land.  Ms. Lincango serves as a Delegate of the Assembly of Women and Family of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), as an International Communicator of the Federation of Shuar Nationalities of Pastaza (FENASH-P), and as an International Observer.

Ugan Manandhar is Deputy Director of the Climate Change, Freshwater and Energy program at World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-Nepal. He currently heads the Climate and Energy Program. He has been working on the REDD+ program since 2007. His work entails working with local communities in areas marked for conservation by the WWF, as well as the World Bank, and government agencies. Ugan also works with the Government of Nepal as an official delegate to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, technically supporting the Ministry of Population and Environment on issues related to Mitigation, REDD+ and Adaptation on behalf of the Government.

Ulysses Martin earned his B.A. in Community Sustainability Studies from Evergreen. He has resided in Tacoma since 1975 near the Puyallup Tribe where he continues to steward Tacoma’s first public Permaculture Food Forest in Swan Creek Park. Ulysses spent 10 years in public service stewarding Washington’s highway system as a transportation civil engineer before returning to graduate studies in Public Administration. He endeavors to address the regions approaches of sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in a state of climate uncertainty and urbanization. In 2014, he founded the Permaculture Lifestyle Institute, a Green Infrastructure development nonprofit, to assist front line communities with information, education, planning, design, and development. In 2015 he was a finalist in the Tacoma Green Infrastructure Challenge, where he showcased his engineered urban Chinampa storm water redistribution system as a determinate of community health and wellbeing. He endeavors to facilitate resilient networks of mutual, equitable, and respectful community relationships.

Roxann Murray is a Tacoma award­-winning artist who received her B.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences with a certificate of high scholarship from UW-Tacoma in 2009. Her ancestors are Assiniboine Sioux and they grew up on Fort Peck. She grew up in the backwoods of Graham, WA and has had a strong bond with the natural world since she was a child which encouraged her to fight for environmental justice. When Roxann is not documenting and engaging in community-based activism, she takes photographs while traveling. She has documented several issues in the Philippines, the Marshall Islands, Costa Rica, Thailand, and Bali having to do with colonization, overdevelopment, and climate change.

Sweetwater Nannauck (Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian) is director of Idle No More Washington, and advocates for the protection of the fragile environment of the Northwest, for tribal sovereignty rights, and the traditional way of life of Native people. She conducts Idle No More ‘Decolonizing Our Activism’ workshops in a respectful way that is healing and empowering. Since November 2016, Idle No More Washington has had over 80 events and nonviolent direct actions that address local and global issues. She went to Washington DC to lobby to protect the Arctic, and was involved in the ‘Shell No’ actions in Seattle and Anchorage. She helped organize ‘The Paddle to Standing Rock’ in September 2016, and was featured in Seattle Weekly’s 2015 ‘Best of Seattle’ for ‘Best Activism Idea.

Tracey Osborne, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona. She conducts research on the social and political economic dimensions of climate change mitigation particularly in forest ecosystems of Latin America. She has been working collaboratively on a story map project called the Climate Alliance Mapping Project, which identifies priority areas for keeping fossil fuels underground across the Americas. The mapping project is an initiative of the Public Political Ecology Lab, founded and directed by Tracey, to support engaged scholarship by communicating environmental research to a broader public as a vehicle for social and environmental justice. She received her Ph.D. from the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley.

Lennée Reid is an Olympia-based poet activist survivor single mom on the spectrum. She has appeared in the UPS DIRT! project, Creative Colloquy, Tattoosday, Lost Tower, Works In Progress, and her book, “Universal State of Mind”, (The Girl God). Lennée was The Olympia Peoples Mic first WOWPS representative, opened for Pussy Riot, was heard on “Paradigms” and the KAOS lit show “Tell It Slant.” Lennée featured and slammed across the U.S. and still loves Cascadia best. Find her everywhere online @lenneereid and her blog, “asliceofmysticpi” at mamamystic.wordpress.com

Janpeter Schilling holds a Klaus Töpfer Junior Professorship for Landuse Conflicts at the University of Koblenz-Landau. He is an associated researcher at the Research Group Climate Change and Security (CLISEC) at the University of Hamburg, the peacebuilding organization International Alert in London and the Peace Academy Rhineland-Palatinate in Landau. His research focuses on environmental security, conflict and resilience.

Pasang Yangjee Sherpa, Ph.D., is a visiting scholar in International Studies at the University of Washington. She received her doctoral degree from Washington State University in anthropology in 2012. She was a Lecturer in the department of anthropology at Penn State University 2013-15. She then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at The New School until December 2016. Her research areas include human dimensions of climate change, indigeneity, and development in the Himalayas.

Nancy Shippentower-Games grew up on the banks of the Nisqually River with her parents Donald McCloud (Puyallup) and Janet McCloud (Tulalip). Her father’s parents are Willie Frank and Angeline Tobin, her mother’s are Mamie McCoy and John Renecker. Nancy lives in Yelm, WA., and grew up in the fishing wars on both the Nisqually & Puyallup Rivers. Nancy graduated from college at The Evergreen State College under the direction of Mary Ellen Hillaire, and worked at the Puyallup Tribe off and on for over 30 years – mainly in natural resources jobs. She was on Puyallup Tribal Council during the Land Claims Settlement, and signed the 1989 Centennial Accord. She is very vocal when it comes protecting treaty rights and tribal natural resources.

 Michael Vendiola is an enrolled member of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and has Lummi and Visayan Filipino ancestry. He is Program Supervisor of the Office of Native Education within the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). His office coordinates the “Since Time Immemorial” curriculum now mandated in Washington schools, at www.indian-ed.org He has an M.Ed. in Adult Education Administration from Western Washington University, and is completing an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies from the University of Washington. He played a leading role in student recruitment and advising at WWU, Northwest Indian College, and Skagit Valley College, and has managed Swinomish Communications.  

Raven Yamada is a science student at The Evergreen State College, and was enrolled in the program Commodities, Conflict, and Cooperation when she did research on the exploitation of women in North Dakota’s Bakken Oil Shale Basin, and Native resistance to Enbridge oil pipelines in the Great Lakes region and B.C.