BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ILTF is governed by an 11-member board made up of Indian landowners, tribal representatives, and those with a lifelong commitment to Indian land issues and rights.
Staci Emm, Board Chair
Staci Emm is a member of the Yerington Paiute Tribe, and works as an Extension Educator in Mineral County, Nevada. In her position, she manages budgets, supervises staff, secures grant funding and works closely with representatives from local, tribal, federal and state government to provide need-based educational programming. She worked as a newspaper reporter and a Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP) Coordinator for Nevada Tribes before she accepted her current position. Emm has produced professional development curriculum for USDA employees focused on understanding American Indian populations in the West and continues to conduct research in this area. Emm also raises registered Black Angus cattle with her father and sister on the family ranch on the Walker River reservation. Emm holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and business management from the University of Nevada, Reno and a master’s of agriculture degree from Colorado State University.
Joseph Brewer II, Vice Chair
Joseph Brewer II is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and affiliated with the Oglala Lakota of Pine Ridge. He is currently Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at University of Kansas. Brewer has previously been a member of the Environmental Science faculty where he taught environmental protection and sustainability in Indian Country at Haskell Indian Nations University, and has served as assistant professor and head of the American Indian Studies department at South Dakota State University. Brewer has received numerous academic awards and scholarships and has published several articles in scholarly and technical journals. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Iowa State University, a master’s degree in American Indian studies from University of Arizona, and a PhD in arid lands resource sciences, also from University of Arizona.
Hans-Dieter Klose, Secretary/Treasurer
Hans-Dieter Klose is from Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Arizona and has a long family history of land planning going back to his grandfather who helped draft some of the original land planning documents for Salt River. Klose currently owns a consulting business and advises on matters of commercial development and leasing on Native American lands. He is a speaker and presenter for Native American Financial Officers Association, Leadership Education and Development program sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania/Wharton. A graduate of Dartmouth College, he has previously served as Director of Salt River’s Community Development Department and has consulted on American Indian trust property issues since 2005.
David Baker is part owner of WesDak Appraisal Services, Inc. in Hermosa, South Dakota, which specializes in the appraisal of Indian trust property for value, rent and easement. He worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Rapid City for 18 years: ten years as chief appraiser and eight years as review appraiser. Baker coordinated all BIA appraisal activity on 14 reservations in North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska, gaining experience in the valuation of both trust and on-reservation fee lands. Through his experience he has developed expertise in the financial and managerial aspects of land management. David holds a bachelor’s degree in wildlife management from Colorado State University.
Dawn Battiste is an attorney and deputy director for the Land Loss Prevention Project (LLPP) in Durham, N.C., a legal services organization which works to preserve land tenure for individuals in North Carolina through direct representation, community outreach and policy reform. In addition to managing the efforts of the litigation team, she coordinates the activities of the LLPP’s business center which promotes a proactive approach to land retention by farmers through the use of business law tools. Battiste held positions in communications prior to becoming a lawyer and, as an attorney, has written and edited publications on a range of legal topics. She received both her J.D. and M.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Battiste has served in a variety of leadership positions as a member of the North Carolina Bar Association. She has Lumbee heritage.
Jeannie Benally is a member of the Navajo Nation and is fluent in her tribal language. Currently, she is an Extension Educator and Agent for the University of Arizona Shiprock Cooperative. Previously, she worked with the Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture and the Navajo Nation Nenahnezad Chapter. Benally has served on several boards and committees related to Indian land, including the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry board, Native Women & Youth in Agriculture, and Southwest Indian Agricultural Association. She has an M.A. in Agricultural Extension and Education and a B.S. in Animal Science from New Mexico State University. Benally also helped form the Dine Agriculture Inc. nonprofit organization, Shiprock Farmer’s market and Navajo Farm to School project.
Reginald DeFoe is a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. He has worked in the Fond du Lac Band’s natural resources department since 1993 and has been its Director since 2006. In his current position, DeFoe over see’s the programs in Environmental, Wildlife, Fisheries, Forestry, Conservation Enforcement, Natural Resources and works directly with the Tribal Council, Ceded Territory Committee, Conservation Committee and coordinates with local governments and agencies on land use planning, natural resource protection and use and water issues. Previously, DeFoe worked for the Soil Conservation Services (SCS) as a civil engineer technician carrying out tasks in hydrology and hydraulics. DeFoe has knowledge of the Chippewa treaties, especially as applied to on-and off-reservation treaty rights.
Laura Harjo is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and teaches geography and GIS at the University of Southern California. She is also a research fellow for the Advancement Project—a civil rights law, policy and communications “action tank.” Harjo has worked with her tribe and several others in conducting surveys and community development projects, has been the director of a tribal GIS center, and has coordinated land management activities. She holds a bachelor’s degree in geography, a graduate certificate in GIS, and a PhD in geography from the University of Southern California.
Karonhiakta’tie Bryan Maracle
Karonhiakta’tie Bryan Maracle is Mohawk from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Nation. He is currently Natural Resources Director for the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments in Yukon, Alaska where he is responsible for securing grant funding and overseeing the department’s research projects including the first off-road wood energy project in North America. Prior to his current position, Maracle was Lead Scientist at Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council where he managed and directed community-based research focused on community development, local empowerment and scientific reproducibility. He holds a bachelor’s degree in natural science from University of Alaska Anchorage and was recently named one of Alaska’s Top Forty Under 40 for 2012.
Ross Racine is a member of the Blackfeet Nation and veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Racine has been the Executive Director of the Intertribal Agriculture Council, Billings, Montana, since 2001. Prior to his IAC position, Racine was a Range Management Specialist and Land Operations Technician with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He has spent more than 28 years working on farms and ranches in the Browning, Montana area. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture/animal science at Montana State University.
William Tovey is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla and is Director of the Department of Economic and Community Development for the Confederated Tribes in Pendleton, Oregon. Since 1990 Tovey has been involved in acquiring more than 40,000 acres of trust and fee properties both on and off the reservation and was a project lead in developing the Tribe’s Wildhorse Casino and Resort through the early 2000s. Currently, Tovey is working on the Coyote Business Park and state highway development, including development of Cayuse Technologies, in coordination with Accenture, construction of a state-of-the-art truck plaza, commercial leases with McDonald’s, Subway, Dairy Queen and Kenworth Truck Repair and construction of a new Forest Service building. Tovey holds a bachelor’s degree in business finance from the University of Idaho and serves on boards of a number of small business development agencies.
Bye Barsness is owner and president of Professional Furniture Services, Inc. Throughout his career, Barsness has held several other executive positions, such as CEO and president of Pink Business Interiors, president, CEO, and director of Pink Supply Corporation, and chief financial officer and director of Space Center. He also worked in other leadership and management positions in the St. Paul Companies and was senior auditor of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. Barsness has extensive experience serving on the board of directors of several for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations, including Meritex Enterprises, C-Tech, Faribault Woolen Mill Company, the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust, the Northwest Area Foundation, the McNeely Foundation, the St. Paul Children’s Hospital, and Liberty Plaza. Barsness holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of St. Thomas and a master’s of business administration from Northwestern University, Kellogg.
Thomas Hotovec, the chief financial officer for Meritex Enterprises, has more than 14 years of experience in accounting, finance and capital markets. He is a member of the Institute of Management Accountants, NAIOP, NAIOP Capital Market III Forum and the Association for Corporate Growth.
John Schweers is a participating adjunct faculty member at University of St. Thomas and an associate professor at University of St. Mary’s. In 2010, Schweers retired as senior consultant at DeMarche Associates, Inc., an investment consulting firm, after 12 years of service. Prior to DeMarche, Schweers was managing director and chief operating officer of a Twin Cities–based regional investment consulting firm. Before entering the consulting profession, Schweers served as treasurer of two multi–national manufacturing companies, The Trane Company and Donaldson Company. He was also assistant treasurer of a $3 billion global manufacturing company, American Standard, Inc., and cash manager and international subsidiary controller of a Fortune 100 company, Texas Instruments, Inc. His responsibilities have included worldwide treasury operations, commercial and investment banking relationships, foreign exchange and pension asset/liability management.
ILTF staff members are based at the Foundation’s offices in Little Canada, Minnesota. They can be reached by calling 651-766-8999.
D’Arcy Bordeaux, Sicangu Lakota, joined the Indian Land Tenure Foundation as its Accountant/Human Resources Director in 2003. In his role, Bordeaux provides accounting for all financial activities of the organization, provides human resource support, and oversees the Foundation’s information technology systems. Prior to joining ILTF, Bordeaux was general manager of the Rosebud Casino, where he oversaw day-to-day operations and accounting and designed the casino’s remodeling and expansion. He was also the finance manager of Tribal Land Enterprise, an organization that acquires and manages land for the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and has worked extensively in the banking industry. Bordeaux holds an associate’s degree in accounting from Haskell Indian Nations University.
Alex Buffalohead, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, joined the Indian Land Tenure Foundation as a Communications Officer in 2016. In this role, Buffalohead oversees graphic design, website management, print production and social media. Prior to joining ILTF, Buffalohead worked as a graphic designer in the executive office for the President at the Art Institutes International Minnesota, where she created both online and printed promotional material for special events, and in production and proofing for Bookmobile publishers and printers. Buffalohead received a bachelor of arts degree in studio art from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, and an associate’s degree in graphic design from the Art Institutes International Minnesota.
Pat Chase has served in an administrative capacity for the Indian Land Tenure Foundation since inception in 2002. Currently she serves as both the Office Manager and Grants Manager for the organization. In these dual roles, she assists the president in daily office management of the Foundation’s operations and growth and assists the program team with grants management and program-related activities. Prior to joining ILTF, Chase worked in the community services division at Travelers Insurance Company (formerly the St. Paul Companies). She has also worked at Hamline University in academic and disability services and at the State of Minnesota, Department of Health, Environmental Field Services.
Nichlas Emmons became Program/Development Officer at the Indian Land Tenure Foundation the summer of 2014. In this role, Emmons works with the ILTF Education Programs, including the Lessons of Our Land curriculum. Prior to joining ILTF, Emmons served on faculty in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management at Ball State, the Department of Native American and Indigenous Studies at Fort Lewis College, and the Department of Environment and Society at Utah State University. Emmons earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Political Science with emphases on environmental policy and decision-making from Ball State University. His Doctoral degree is in Natural Resources and Environmental Management, also from Ball State University, with an emphasis in Native American land and natural resource issues.
David Garelick has been working as a lawyer in Indian Country since 1998 and became Corporate Relations Officer with the Indian Land Tenure Foundation in 2013. Before joining ILTF, Garelick served as the regional supervisor for the Upper Great Plains during the claims processing phase of the historic class action lawsuit, Keepseagle v. Vilsack, in which over $42 million was paid out to Native American ranchers and farmers in the region for their claims of discrimination. Prior to Keepseagle, Garelick was an associate attorney at Larry Leventhal & Associates, a firm known for its Indian law practice and civil rights litigation. He has represented tribal governments, business entities, and tribal members in diverse matters on 16 different reservations. Garelick’s corporate experience includes 10 years of managing national sales efforts as director of the home healthcare products division of Garelick Manufacturing. He holds a bachelor of arts in English Literature from Bennington College and a J.D. from the William Mitchell College of Law.
Grant McGinnis serves as Communications Officer at the Indian Land Tenure Foundation where he is responsible for communications strategy, creative development, copy writing and project management. McGinnis has worked as a newspaper reporter, broadcaster, marketing consultant and entrepreneur. He has extensive marketing and communications experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, including the fields of education, healthcare, technology and business. Prior to joining ILTF, McGinnis led the communications efforts for a large national nonprofit in Minneapolis. McGinnis studied at the University of North Dakota before graduating Summa Cum Laude from Texas Christian University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science.
Cris Stainbrook, Oglala Lakota, has been working in philanthropy for 25 years and has been President of Indian Land Tenure Foundation since its inception in 2002. As the Foundation’s president, Stainbrook provides leadership, strategic direction, management, fundraising and policy oversight to the organization with an emphasis on the successful implementation of the Foundation’s mission. Before joining ILTF, Stainbrook spent 13 years at Northwest Area Foundation, where he held several positions. As program officer, he managed grant making programs in sustainable development, natural resource management, economic development and basic human needs. During his final four years with Northwest Area, he served as the community activities lead, overseeing a rapidly growing staff and implementing new programs aimed at developing community-directed plans.
Stainbrook was a founding member of Native Americans in Philanthropy and served on the board of directors for 11 years. He was also a founder and longtime advisory committee member of the Two Feathers Endowment of The Saint Paul Foundation. He currently serves on the board of the Minnesota Community Foundation and The Saint Paul Foundation. In addition, he has served on a number of committees within the Council on Foundations and the Minnesota Council on Foundations. Stainbrook holds a bachelor of science from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in fisheries science from Oregon State University.
Bryan Van Stippen
Bryan Van Stippen (Oneida Nation of Wisconsin) is Program Director for National Indian Carbon Coalition and provides education, training and technical assistance to tribes and Indian landowners who are interested in entering the carbon credit market. Van Stippen joined ILTF from the Ho-Chunk Nation where he served as a Tribal Attorney for the Department of Justice before transitioning to the Legislative Office. As a Legislative Attorney, he was responsible for land acquisition and other land issues, including fee-to-trust, leasing, right of ways, and easements. He is a graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Law (J.D.); the University of Tulsa College of Law (LL.M. in American Indian and Indigenous Law); and the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law (S.J.D in Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy).
Jim Wabindato, Little River Band Ottawa, joined ILTF in early 2014 as a Program/Development Officer. In this role, Wabindato works on issues related to land owner education and program development. Prior to joining the organization, Wabindato was a realtor in Arizona and Wisconsin, a site manager with the Indian Land Consolidation Office, a realty specialist and grant writer with the Bad River Band of Chippewa, as well as an economic development director and casino board member for Little River. Wabindato holds a bachelors of arts degree from the University of Michigan where he was active in the Native American Student Association.
Diana Yellowhammer, member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, joined the Indian Land Tenure Foundation as Administrative Assistant in 2007. In this role, Yellowhammer provides administrative support services for all of the Foundation’s departments, including grants and programs, development, communications and finance. She is also responsible for maintaining the Foundation’s constituent management database, including entering relevant data and generating queried reports.
Prior to joining ILTF, Yellowhammer served as office and business manager at Midwestern Higher Education Compact. She has also worked as administrative assistant in the National Initiatives department at Search Institute and as office manager for Blue Dog, Olson & Small, P.L.L.P. Yellowhammer has received extensive technical training in the administrative field and attended the American Indian OIC’s administrative assistant program.
Each year, ILTF hires up to four student interns who work on a variety of special projects that help to advance ILTF’s mission and goals. ILTF internships provide valuable opportunities for Native and non-Native students to broaden their understanding of Indian land issues and build skills that will prepare them well for a wide range of fields and professions.
Talia London (photo left) grew up on the Lummi Nation. She is of Unangax decent, her maternal side from the Aleut village Nikolski. London received her Master’s Degree at the University of British Columbia in Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous Pedagogy, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. At ILTF, London worked on distribution of the Lessons of Our Land curriculum to schools in Washington, South Dakota, and Minnesota, and on other curriculum professional development projects.
Natasha Myhal (photo right) (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians) is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Indigenous Studies at the University of Kansas. Her thesis research at Kansas is focused on the ethnobotany of the oshá plant (Ligusticum porteri), and the impact for tribes of federal harvest practices on national forest lands. At ILTF, Myhal is updated Foundation records to improve relationships with, and understanding of, tribal land offices. She also developed a land planning survey of tribes for land owner resources and community engagement purposes.
Summer 2015: Sophia Gutterman, University of Minnesota. Josh Isaacson, University of Minnesota.
Summer 2014: Aileen Clarke, Macalester College. Christine Myers (Choctaw), Fort Lewis College. Gabriel Siert (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate with lineage to Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa/Ojibwe), Augsburg College. Ella Phillips, William Mitchell College of Law.
Summer 2013: Maija Glasier-Lawson Maija California State University-Chico. Christine McCleave (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa), Augsburg College. Agata Miszczyk Agata, University of Minnesota.
Summer 2012: John Marian, Montana State University. Charlie Thayer (Lac Courte Oreilles/White Earth Band of Ojibwe), Hamline University.
Fall 2011: Cecilia Knapp, William Mitchell College of Law.
Spring/Summer 2011: Jean Lam (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), Stanford University. Angela Richards (Affiliated with the Oglala Lakota Sioux/Miniconjou Lakota), University of Minnesota-Morris. Julius Snell (Navajo and Choctaw/Cherokee), Syracuse University.
Summer 2010: Gwendolyn Gillson, Gustavus Adolphus College.
Summer 2009: Melissa Lorentz. Minnesota State University-Mankato.
Summer 2008: Avery Armstrong (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), Cornell University. Broderick Dressen (Inupiat Eskimo), Carleton College. Adam Flood, Hamline University School of Law.
Summer 2007: John Reynolds (Rosebud Sioux Tribe), University of Minnesota. Laurie Smith Small-Waisted Bear (Sicangu Lakota).
Summer 2006: Melissa Buffalo (Meskwaki/Lakota), University of Minnesota. Lavette Holman (Shawnee/Cherokee/Osage), Heritage University. Leah (Lussier) Sixkiller (Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Turtle Clan), Harvard University. John Reynolds (Rosebud Sioux Tribe), University of Minnesota.
Summer 2005: Christina (Tina) Deschampe (Grand Portage Band of Chippewa), Hamline University School of Law. John Reynolds (Rosebud Sioux Tribe), University of Minnesota.