STAFF, BOARD, CO-FOUNDERS
Kendra Kloster - Tlingit, Executive Director
Kendra Kloster, Tlingit, was born in Wrangell, Alaska and spent most of her childhood in Juneau, Alaska. Her maternal grandparents, Christine Jenkins and the late Charles Jenkins, are both from Wrangell, Alaska. Her paternal grandparents are the late Madeline and Albert Kloster. Kendra's parents are Shelley Jenkins from Wrangell, Alaska and Earl Kloster from Yakima, Washington. Kendra is a mother and community activist. "My ambition and strength to make positive changes comes from the support and encouragement form my family and community. I want to ensure my daughter and her peers will have the ability to grow up in a safe and loving environment in Alaska. I hope our future generations will be accepted for who they are and have all the experiences of living off the land, fishing with their families and being part of a supportive community.” She obtained her undergraduate degree from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and her Masters Degree in Public Administration and Policy Analysis from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Kendra has previously worked in the Office of Senator Ted Stevens in Washington, D.C. and as a Legislative Assistant and Chief of Staff at the Alaska State Legislature.
Helena Jacobs - Koyukon Athabascan, Administrative & Operations Manager
Helena Jacobs, Koyukon Athabascan, is the daughter of Dee Olin and David Hoffman, and the granddaughter of the late Lillian and Fred Olin, the late Lorraine and John Honea, and the late Helen and George Hoffman. Born in Fairbanks with ancestral ties to Ruby and Kokrines, Alaska, Lena now lives and works in Anchorage. She and her husband Torin (Yup’ik/Iñupiaq) are raising five children, and the work she engages in that takes her away from time with her family must support their future wellbeing and benefit. That is why she’s so happy to be a part of the NPA family which focuses on creating a safe and equitable society where Native peoples and values are uplifted and respected.
Kelsey Ciugun Wallace - Yup'ik, Communications Director
Kelsey Ciugun Wallace, Yup’ik and Irish, is originally from Bethel, Alaska on the Kuskokwim River. Her parents are John Apassangayaq Wallace and Sheila Cingarkaq Mojin. Her maternal grandparents are the late Tsaliaq Moses Mojin and Ciukaq Mary Mojin. Her paternal grandparents are the late Shirley and John Wallace. Kelsey is a mother whose fire and passions are driven by her love and respect for our people, ways of life, and the importance of holistic wellness. “The work of NPA is needed in our state; being able to have an Indigenous voice represented at the various levels of policy making is essential. This ensures that we are able to live and thrive in a state where our traditional lifeways are strengthened through the voices of our people.” Kelsey obtained her undergraduate degree from UAF in Rural Development with a concentration in Indigenous Organizational Management and Yugtun language minor. In her spare time, she is most often found playing with her kiddos, exercising and enjoying Alaska life.
Rochelle Adams - Gwich'in, Indigenous Engagement Director
Rochelle Adams is from the Interior Alaskan villages of Beaver and Fort Yukon. Her parents are Angela Peter-Mayo of Fort Yukon and the late Cliff “Tuffy” Adams Jr. of Beaver. Her maternal grandparents are Susan (Lord) and Johnny Peter Sr. Her paternal grandparents are Hannah “Babe” (VanHatten) and Cliff Adams Sr. She was raised living a traditional Athabascan lifestyle with her family following the seasonal cycles of hunting, fishing and trapping off of the Yukon River. These are the values and connections that guide her today and she proudly represents this in all parts of her life and work. She is the mother of three teens, which she is raising with these same values of connectedness, love and respect. Through her many roles and actions, Rochelle has continuously sought to bring her perspective as an Indigenous woman with cultural knowledge, born of the lands and waters, training from the elders with a vision of the future generations to empower Native people everywhere. “It’s important that we as Indigenous people are able to shape the world that we live in to ensure the well being of our people on our own traditional homelands and in our own languages.”
Jackie Boyer - Cup'ig, Campaign & Policy Director
Jackie Boyer, Cup’ig, has roots from the Native Village of Mekoryuk located on Nunivak Island in the Bering Sea. She now lives in Anchorage with her yuliaq, adopted teenage daughter. Her maternal grandparents are Clarence Kolerok and Laura Kolerok. Her Cup’ig name, Arnaciar, was given to her by her aana; she is her namesake. Jackie previously worked in Juneau as a Legislative Aide for rural and urban Senators and Representatives; it is there that her love and passion for public policy and the advancement of Indigenous leadership in those roles emerged – she believes the work NPA does is crucial to ensuring that advancement continues and thrives. Jackie received her undergraduate in Criminal Justice from the University of Alaska Anchorage and is currently pursuing her Masters of Public Administration. In her free time, she enjoys crafting with seal skin and quills, hunting, fishing, and teaching her yuliaq traditional ways of life.
Elizabeth Ahkivgak - Iñupiaq, Accounting & Office Specialist
Elizabeth Aqpaluk Ahkivgak, Inupiaq, was raised in a whaling crew family in Utqiagvik, Alaska. Her parents are Ethel Ahkivgak and Fernando Ortega. Her maternal grandparents are Jennie (Ekolook) and Herbert Ahkivgak. She also pays respect to her foster parents Rosie and Eben Hopson Jr for their lifelong mentorship. She now lives in Anchorage, Alaska pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Energy and Sustainability Policy from Pennsylvania State University. Elizabeth has explored public, private, and non-profit sectors, adding to her toolkit with each opportunity focusing on Alaska Native issues. Her experience includes working for Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, serving as an Al Adams Young Political Leader Fellow in the Washington, D.C. Office of U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan, and as a legislative aide to Representative John Lincoln in the Alaska State Legislature. She finds inspiration from her foster parents’ commitment to public health, to continue delivering the same sentiment of humanity through volunteering. Elizabeth’s childhood experiences in the foster care system motivates her to break the cycle and live healthy so other Alaska Natives can too. Aqpaluk enjoys hiking, fishing, gathering, Alaska Native traditional practice, the Iñupiaq language, and life-long learning.
Gabe Canfield - Iñupiaq, Protecting Our Ways Of Life Fellow
Gabe Canfield is Iñupiaq, born in Fairbanks, Alaska and lived her entire life in Ketchikan. Her parents are Leah Weyapuk of Wales and Perry Canfield of Ketchikan. Her maternal grandparents are the late Florence and Walter Weyapuk of Wales, and her paternal grandparents are Pamela and William Perry Canfield of Ketchikan. Gabe is a recent graduate of Dartmouth College with a degree in Environmental Studies and Native American Studies. She is passionate about the integration of cultural practices and connections into key aspects of Alaskan life. In her free time, Gabe enjoys hiking, camping, paddling and fishing. She is an avid tide pooler and you can always find her near the ocean.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Andrea Akall’eq Burgess - Yup'ik, President
Heather Kendall-Miller - Athabascan, Vice President
Heather is Denaina Athabascan and is a Curyung tribal member of Dillingham, Alaska. Heather became staff attorney with the Native American Rights Fund in 1993 and practices exclusively in the area of tribal rights and subsistence. “An Indigenous political movement is essential to protecting and preserving lands, resources, water, culture and ways of life. We must engage fully in order to have a voice in the decisions that are being made by politicians and administrators. We have to use our Indigenous voices and perspectives to remind elected leaders that they are public servants and accountable to us. We have to believe that we can collectively make a difference by exercising our right to vote and by selecting candidates that will better serve our needs.”
Dr. Jessica Black - Gwich'in, Secretary/Treasurer
Dr. Jessica Black is a Gwich’in Athabascan from the villages of Gwich’yaa Zhee [Ft. Yukon] and Toghotthele [Nenana], Alaska. In her current job as Assistant Professor for the Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development and Tribal Management at UAF Jessica teaches, co-leads several research projects, and serves her Alaska Native community in various ways. Dr. Black received her PhD in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis in August of 2017. The title of her dissertation is Participation in Governance and Well-Being in the Yukon Flats.
Apay'uq Moore, Yup'ik
Apay'uq Moore is a Yup'ik artist from the Bristol Bay, AK region and lives in Aleknagik with her two children Kaya and Bode. She is the daughter of Tom Hoseth of Dillingham and Debbie Snyder of Twin Hills. She received her BA in Art-Business from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. Her experiences as a leader in the Native Community include working as an advocate for subsistence rights in opposition to the development of the Pebble Mine, and as an artist-activist speaking for Native rights through cultural exploration with art and community work. Apay'uq's mission through her art-business is to depict our way of life and engage youth to find grounding in the values of Yup'ik people to build a healthier lifestyle that prioritizes the land, water, animals and spiritual energies of our ancestors to do what is right. As an artist, she has had the opportunity to broader her working group from the local Bristol Bay region and has completed projects with many organziations throughout the state that work toward the betterment of social justice for the Alaska Native peoples and their communities.
Drew Michael, Yup'ik and Iñupiaq
Drew Michael was born in Bethel, Alaska. He and his twin brother grew up in Eagle River, Alaska. Drew focuses on how masks were originally used by Yup'ik people, for healing and telling stories of things unseen. Drew's work incorporates healing practices of the Yup'ik people and religious icons of European Christianity. The artist hopes to encourage people to find healing in ways that bring about balance in much of the same way he has used these practices to find balance in his own life.
Enei Begaye Peter, Diné and Tohono O'odham
Enei Begaye Peter is of the Diné and Tohono O'odham Nations and married into the Gwich'in Nation. She is the executive director of Native Movement, a non-profit dedicated to supporting grassroots-led projects and programs based in Alaska. She is a co-founder, founding director, and now active board member of the Black Mesa Water Coalition (BMWC), an Indigenous-led environmental justice organization in the southwestern United States. Aditiionally, Enei is a producer of the award winning documentary film "We Breathe Again," an exploraton of historical trauma and healing throughout the Alaska Native villages, released nation-wide on America ReFramed. Enei is a founding meber and active leader of the Fairbanks Climate Action Coalition. Enei has been an effective community organizer, trainer, facilitator, and leader for the past 20 years. She is an active enthisiastic mother and Native education advocate. She was educated both on the land of her people and in the halls of Stanford University. She currently lives in Fairbanks, AK with her partner and her children.
La Quen Náay Liz Medicine Crow, Tlingit & Haida
La Quen Náay Kat Saas is from Keex Kwaan (Kake), Alaska. On her Haida side she is Eagle Tiits Gitee Nei, Hummingbird. On her Tlingit side she is Raven Kaach.adi, Fresh Water-marked Sockeye Salmon. Integrating Native knowledge and values into organizations, governance mechanisms and everyday life is a primary passion and responsibility she has persued through her education and career. Liz received her BA (BFA Equivalency) from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado and her professional degree from Arizona State University College of Law, graduating with a Juris Doctorate degree and a Certificate in Indian Law. She currently serves as the President and CEO of First Alaskans Institute.
Natasha Singh, Koyukon Athabascan
Natasha is a Koyukon Athabascan from Fairbanks, Alaska. She serves as General Counsel at Tanana Chiefs Conference and is a Stevens Village tribal member. “We seek to get out the vote, to promote voting based on peoples’ best interests, guided by our traditional values. NPA will get to the heart of the policy issues impacting Native people and communities by providing relevant information to engage citizens to vote their values. Soon high rates of Alaska Natives will be submitting ballots at all levels of government driven by our duty and right to advance the wellness of our people. Alaskan governments will become deeply embedded with traditional values and our state, and our people will prosper because of it.”
Rhonda Pitka, Iñupiaq and Koyukon Athabascan
Rhonda Pitka is Chief of the village of Beaver, single mother of her 8-year-old daughter and a part-time Rural Development student. She is one of the co-founders of NPA. She sits on the Federal Subsistence Board, Yukon River Panel, Native American Rights Fund Board, and is the vice chair of the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governemnts. Chief Pitka is a strong advocate for the protection of traditional hunting and fishing ways of life.
Saagulik Elizabeth Hensley, Iñupiaq
Saagulik focuses her practice on meeting the unique legal needs of Alaska Native corporations, tribes and tribal non-profit health and social service organizations. She maintains a general counsel practice providing advice in contract strategy, negotiation and enforcement; employment law; investigations and compliance; grants management; conflicts of interest and other ethics standards; and governance. Saagulik has been active in Alaska and Native American affairs for many years. Her experience includes owrking as a legislative aide with the Alaska State Legislature, as a staff attorney and public policy liaison with an Alaska Native (ANCSA) regional corporation and as a general counsel for a 600-employee regional tribal nonprofit corporation. She served as senior policy advisor at the United States Department of Interior Office of Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs and has provided international human rights law support to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through coursework and a fellowship.
Carrie Stevens previously served at the Council of athabascan Tribal Government (CATG) as a Policy Analyst within the natural Resources Department. CATG is an Alaska Native Tribal Consortium serving ten Gwich'in and Koyukon Tribes in the remote Yukon Flats of the Eastern Interior, founded in 1985 to promote Tribal Self-Governance. Mrs. Stevens served as the lead negotiator for CATG on their two Non-BIA self-governance agreements with the Bureau of Land Management and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. She began working with CATG in 1999, when she moved to Arctic Village to work with Indigenous rights activists for the protection of the Arctic National WIldlife Refuge. She has lived in the Yukon Flats ever since. Mrs. Stevens continues CATG's advocacy efforts for the protection of traditional lands and Alaska Native Hunting and Fishing Rights. She also serves as faculty for the University of Alaska Tribal Management program since 2005. Carrie Stevens holds a masters degree in International and Intercultural Management. She is an assistant professor in Tribal Management and oversees the Tribal Natural Resources Management program. She is a mother and Warrior for sustaining our ways of life.
Alannah Hurley, Yup'ik
Alannah Hurley was born and raised in the Bristol Bay region. Originally from Clark's Point, she now resides in Dillingham. Alannah's passion lies in environmental justice and helping make self-determination a reality for Alaska's Indigenous people.
Grace Singh, Koyukon Athabascan
Grace Singh, originally from Fairbanks, AK, firmly believes in the protection of traditional hunting and fishing activities which has shaped her education and career. Grace has a bachelors degree in Political Science from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She has worked as the Government Affairs Liaison for Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Executive Director of Native Peoples Action, Deputy Rural Field Director for Senator Mark Begich, staff assistant to Rep. Neal Foster and most recently Chief of Staff to Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky. Grace has experience in campaign mobilization, community organizing, rural and tribal public policy development and advocacy. She now continues her journey as a law student in Montana.