Learn more about the desert-dwelling activists, entrepreneurs, and big thinkers who have shared their stories at Uplift.
keynote: Janene Yazzie
Mrs. Yazzie has been working for the last six years as a community organizer on the Navajo Nation. She uses her International Policy and Human Rights background to develop projects, programs and policies that help Indigenous communitiesnurture capacity building, local autonomy, and self-sufficiency. Her work is centered on addressing complex socio-economic challenges while building resiliency to climate change with a focus on water scarcity and food security. She started a business in sustainable community development called Sixth World Solutions, LLP. and co-founded the Little Colorado River Watershed Chapter’s Association (LCRWCA) through which she works on land restoration using traditional knowledges to carry out activities and develop policy for 35 Navajo Nation Chapters. She is also a research associate assisting Dr. Karletta Chief on a Gold King Mine Spill risk exposure study, to which the To Bei Nihi Dzil (Our Water is Our Strength) collective serves as community partners. She also works with numerous stakeholders addressing Uranium contamination in the Puerco Valley Wash communities impacted by the Churchrock Uranium Mill Tailings Spill of 1979. She is currently a consultant for the International Indigenous Treaty Council and the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.
Because of this extensive experience Mrs. Yazzie was recently selected to be the North America Focal Point to the Indigenous Peoples Major Group to the High-Level Political Forum on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. As such she represents US and Canada Based tribes in these discussions.
Jacqueline Keeler is a Diné/Ihanktonwan Dakota writer living in Portland, Oregon. She has contributed to many publications including The Nation, Yes! Magazine and Salon. Her book “The Edge of Morning: Native Voices Speak for the Bears Ears” has been published by Torrey House Press and her next “Standing Rock to the Bundy Standoff: Occupation, Native Sovereignty, and the Fight for Sacred Landscapes” will be out next year.
Klee Benally (Diné) is an Indigenous Anarchist, filmmaker, musician, writer, and artist from Flagstaff, AZ. Originally from Black Mesa, Klee has worked most of his life at the front lines in struggles to protect Indigenous sacred lands such as the San Francisco Peaks. He has also helped establish organizations such as Táala Hooghan Infoshop, Indigenous Action Media, Save the Peaks Coalition, Outta Your Backpack Media, Haul No!, and is currently the national coordinator for Clean Up The Mines!, an effort to address toxic contamination caused by thousands of abandoned uranium mines throughout the US.
Follow his work at:
Sheldon "MC Rhetorik" Tenorio
Sheldon, from Kewa Pueblo uses music as a tool to help others find voice and express themselves in a healthy, creative and positive way. Shedding light on the power of returning to ourselves, looking with in ourselves and how we can heal and reclaim our identities through
writing, poetry, spoken word and Hip Hop. Furthering this healing and in turn strengthening first ourselves, then our peers, our families, and our communities; ultimately our people.
Maggie Li & Naomi Primero
Maggie Li (left) is a junior at UC Berkeley studying Sustainable Land Use Analysis and Geography. She hopes to incorporate land planning techniques and social cognitive theories to develop strategies on promoting equitable, accessible spaces for all. She works to promote environmental justice in unconventional spaces, with a particular interest in communicating sustainability. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, trail running, and trying new things.
Naomi Primero (right) is a senior at UC Berkeley studying cognitive science in the hopes of bridging the gap between the scientist and the common person. She currently works on community development and food equity and aspires to study and teach storytelling in the context of movement and community building.
Kendra Pinto is a Dinè woman living on the Navajo Nation’s Eastern Agency. Kendra is a witness, storyteller, and educator highlighting the impacts on people's health and communities brought on by natural resource extraction. She has been involved in appealing directly to the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. to halt fracking infrastructure on Native Lands and recently testified before members of Congress about oil and gas development in her community. Kendra continues to voice her community's concerns to the Navajo Nation and US government.
Michaela is an organizer and dancer in a process of personal and collective healing. She grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and first became involved with organizing in college through her work on two fossil fuel divestment campaigns at Fort Lewis College and Northern Arizona University. Throughout college, Michaela was also engaged with 350.org, from being a fellow in the Fossil Free Fellowship to being a mentor in their Training Corp Program. She has played multiple roles in the Divestment Student Network, including being the co-founder of the Southwest Divestment Network as a regional organizer and being on the Long-term Strategy Team, helping to determine the long-term trajectory of the organization. After graduating from college this past May, she worked for 350 Action as the Colorado Statewide Organizer and with Earth Guardians as the Global Director of Leadership Development. She continues to be active, fighting the political arm of the fossil fuel industry in her home state of Colorado with the Sunrise Movement, a movement of young people to stop climate change an urgent priority and create millions of good-paying jobs in the process.
Carol Davis is Diné (Navajo) from the southwest community of Dilkon (Navajo Nation). She is Kinyaa’áanii (Towering House clan). Her educational background from Northern Arizona University is in Public Administration. Before becoming the Coordinator for Dine C.A.R.E. (“Citizens Against Ruining our Environment”) in May 2015, Carol worked for over seventeen years as a public administrator for her southwestern Navajo Nation community. During that time, she assisted in coordinating social and environmental justice efforts and engaged in advocacy relative to water rights, illegal trash dumping sites, recycling efforts, and natural resource conservation, while emphasizing government accountability in the administration of public resources.
Danielle is a yoga instructor, feminist, learner, and current student in the Sustainable Communities program at Northern Arizona University, writing her thesis on climate change and immigration. She is from Northern Arizona and has immense passion, love, and concern for that area, and especially for environmental justice and community building in/around her home.
Francisco is a 1st gen immigrant from Oxnard, CA, and currently battling state sanctioned violence as well as a 4th power plant and oil well expansion. They study Community and Regional Development at UC Davis and have previously held roles in student rep, anti-pipeline work, and intersectional justice programs.
Kim Howe is the founder and director of Dooda (pronounced Doh-Dah) Fracking (No Fracking). She is Dine' originally from Pinon, Arizona and currently living in Shiprock, NM and she started Dooda Fracking in 2012, announced as the first person on the Navajo reservation to speak publicly about the fracking taking place on her Tribal territory and at our ancient ruins Chaco Canyon. She has been movement building in multiple areas such as HIV/STD prevention at tribal colleges. She enforced Indigenous student rights at tribal colleges leading up to her work with the Dooda Fracking movement, which is a community led awareness team that have been volunteers since the beginning.
Cheyenne Antonio- Director/ Lead Organizer from Eastern Agency Navajo Nation. She is a University of NM graduate and works with the Violence against indigenous women coalition in ABQ,NM. Her commitment to Dooda Fracking is for her impacted community, preventing trafficking of our Navajo women near the frack sites and heavy industrial traffic on Hwy 550, the route that impacted her community and families lives.
Diego (left) has organized environmental and social justice in Tucson, Arizona around protecting rooftop solar and creating a more sustainable University campus through a robust climate action plan. His research as a graduate student is located at the nexus of social, racial, and environmental justice through a lens of critical race theory.
Ceceilia Tso is Navajo/Diné living in Farmington, New Mexico. Her family is from Lukachukai, Arizona. Her previous experience has been in higher education and non-profits working with American Indian people who want to make an impact in the world. Some of the programs she has delivered are the Strengthening Families Program, Bridges Out of Poverty, Getting Ahead, Ontological Leadership Trainings, American Indian Teacher Education Collaboration (AITEC) and Multi-Generational Historical Trauma Talking Stick Dialogues as a certified Facilitator and Trainer. Her work with the community has supported transformational development of life skills, communications skills, financial assets building skills, leadership, personal and professional development that creates personal empowerment. She has worked across the USA, Canada, South Korea and China as a director, teacher, trainer, mentor, artist, and facilitator. Her efforts in the Indigenous community is to develop opportunities, possibilities and funding that support the local community in education and economic development that empower “the people”.
Anthony Smith is Navajo/Diné from Farmington, New Mexico the Land of Enchantment. His family is from Kimbeto, New Mexico. He has a Master in Social Worker from the University of Utah and has been a practicing Therapist for the American Indian populations for 25 years and other underserve population, plus he is a Practitioner in traditional ways. He has worked with all age groups in the local communities from Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. His area of expertise is working with children and families to stabilize, set goals to be achieve and for healing and to recognize and embrace their own cultural identities. His personal passion is to help families to be proud of who they are, to be proud, humble, and kind people and to take care of our own people by supporting families to achieve their goal to become happier people in this world, the total healing of themselves and their spirituality. Anthony has been a Sundance for 27 years and conducts sweat lodge and healing ceremonies plus is knowledge about traditional medicines and remedies and has an awareness about the natural environment.
Ephraim is a Navajo Weaver teaching and researching weaving in the southwest during the last 2000 years to strengthen and rediscover our cultural identity.
Eric Blyth is receiving his Master of Architecture from the University of Utah. He is a designer, builder, and artist who is interested in the social elements of the built environment, collaborative processes, and interactive installations. He is an alum of DesignBuildBLUF.
Claire is the AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Coordinator for Community Rebuilds – a Moab-based organization committed to building energy efficient housing, providing education on sustainability, and improving the housing conditions of the workforce through an affordable program. Community Rebuilds offers a 5-month natural building internship, in which 16 young professionals learn straw bale construction by building multiple homes from foundation to finish. Each home is built for a low/very-low income resident of the community. Having completed Community Rebuilds' natural building internship in 2016, Claire now finds herself on the administrative end, handling the recruitment of interns for their 5-month internship program.
Julia Warner is a rural community designer working with the Blue Sky Center in New Cuyama, California. She is passionate about bringing people, plants, and animals together through well designed spaces, and the power of communicating through graphics. She is an alum of DesignBuildBLUFF.
Rebecca Sobel is the Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner at WildEarth Guardians and the Principal of the non-profit strategic consulting firm Action Oriented. Currently, Rebecca is working on the national Keep It in the Ground campaign to end federal fossil fuel leasing and supporting frontline and Indigenous activist networks across New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana. With more than a decade of organizing experience, Rebecca has worked with Greenpeace, 350.org, and a variety of local and regional environmental and social justice groups including a stint as the Executive Director of the New Mexico Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy. Originally from Philadelphia, Rebecca has moved to the Southwest three times, gratefully calling Santa Fe, New Mexico home.
William (Bill) Anderegg is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Utah. He grew up in southwestern Colorado, camping, fishing, backpacking, and hunting across the ecosystems of the Colorado Plateau. He did a B.A. in Human Biology and a Ph.D. in Biology at Stanford University and was a National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University. His research focuses on the impacts of climate change on forests, especially in the western United States.
Kate Savage is a writer and organizer from southern Utah. She cares about: connecting social justice work with care for the land; fostering anti-authoritarian and consensus-based culture; and learning about small and uncharismatic animals.
Natascha lives in Salt Lake City and has been involved in community organizing for the last eight years, focusing on land and water defense.
Easton lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he splits his time between writing, community organizing, and being in the outdoors with his dear friends.
Nadine Narindrankura is a Diné woman who resides on Black Mesa where she is a dry land farmer and helps her grandmother care for Navajo Churro sheep and horses. She recently birthed her first child in her grandmother’s hogan. Nadine has been a member of Tó Nizhóní Ání since 2000 and is currently the community organizer for TNA.
Brooke grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, and romped around the Wasatch Mountains and deserts of Southern Utah throughout her childhood. As a current student in the University of Utah's Environmental Humanities Graduate Program, Brooke is exploring the role of storytelling in building climate justice movements across the Colorado Plateau. She is the publicist for Torrey House Press, a nonprofit dedicated to elevating voices for the land. Brooke graduated from Colorado College with a degree in environmental policy and spent two years researching conservation and water issues in the American West with the State of the Rockies Project. With a deep love for Colorado Plateau, Brooke finds hope in the community of young agitators, visionaries, storytellers, and artists who call the red rock region home.
Kayla (Shawnee/Anishinaabe) presents herself as part of the Ats'oos Dine'é clan in Navajo. She grew up predominantly in Appalachia, but her family also spent a lot of living on the road, from Oklahoma to Canada. Currently, she is studying Diné Studies at Diné College and a Masters of Mechanical Engineering at Arizona State University, degrees to accompany her undergraduate studies in Civil (Geo-Environmental) Engineering and French. Kayla, an AISES Sequoyah Fellow and Gen-I Youth Ambassador, focuses on renewable energy feasibility, energy efficiency, and tribal policy. She is especially interested in how to uplift traditional knowledge and promote sovereignty through the reformation of laws and structures that oversee activities on tribal lands. Kayla was a SustainUs COP22 delegate who traveled to Morocco and Standing Rock to gain solidarity between indigenous communities. Recently, she accepted a Board Member position with the National Peace Academy to address issues of cultural loss and damage, such as those encountered in the ongoing #NoLoop202 issue in Phoenix. In her spare time, she writes for the Good Men Project and conducts research with the Diné Policy Institute.
Roberto Nutlouis is Diné (Navajo) from Pinon, Navajo Nation. He is of the Tódích’ií’nii (Bitter Water) clan, born for the Tótsohnii (Big Water) clan. Roberto received his Bachelors of Science in Applied Indigenous Studies from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in 2005, and he is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Sustainable Communities from NAU. Through his involvement with Native Movement, the Indigenous Youth Coalition of Pinon, Indigenous Community Enterprises, and BMWC Roberto Nutlouis has been actively involved in the sustainable evolution of Black Mesa and the Navajo Nation for several years. His experience and expertise includes work in environmental justice, food security, energy efficiency, housing, and youth leadership development. In his spare time he likes to work on food security issues and traditional knowledge in agriculture with local Native youth, and he enjoys hiking, river rafting, camping, and reading.
Anahi Naranjo recently graduated from Middlebury College with an Environmental Studies degree and is an ambassador for Latino Outdoors in NYC. Diana Martinez is from Southern California and attends school at Humboldt State University where she studies Environmental Management and Protection with a focus on interpretation and education. Marshall Kim is a sophomore at Western Michigan University studying Environmental and sustainability studies and geography, interested in natural resource management. Sara Sirk is a junior at the University of Wyoming, and majoring in Zoology, with a minor in Creative Writing. Together, this group will be facilitating our "Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in Conservation and the Outdoors" workshop as members of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program.