Six new members join NIEA Board of Directors


WASHINGTON – At the National Indian Education Association annual convention this year, six new members joined the board of directors, in what was a record number of NIEA members voting (doubling previous convention elections).

These six were elected from a list of 20 candidates from around the United States. Skaweniio Barnes, Mohawk Nation, New Haven, Conn.; Dr. Teresa Makuakane Drechsel, Native Hawaiian, Honolulu, Hawaii; Denny Hurtado, Skokomish Indian Tribe, Olympia, Wash.; Kevin Killer, Oglala Lakota, Pine Ridge, S.D.; Mary Jane Oatman Wak-Wak, Nez Perce, Boise, Idaho and Patricia Whitefoot, Yakama/Diné, Toppenish, Wash., were elected to join the National Indian Education Association Board of Directors.

The NIEA, the nation’s largest and oldest educational organization for American Indians, Alaskan Natives and Native Hawaiians held its 39th Annual Convention in Seattle, Wash. Educators from across the country joined forces to hold workshops, lead panel discussions and presentations sharing vital information and sharing of resources to ensure Native students are guaranteed academic success and equity in their schools and communities while protecting and maintaining their unique language and cultural needs.

Leaving the NIEA Board of Directors after fulfilling their terms and elected offices were; professor at Northern Arizona University Dr. Willard Sakiestewa Gilbert, Hopi, Flagstaff, Ariz., president; professor at Arizona State University Dr. Timothy Begaye, Navajo, Tempe Ariz., vice-president; director of Choctaw Nation Interlocal Cooperative School Sheri Williams, Choctaw, Oklahoma; director of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Education Department Quinton Roman Nose, Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, treasurer and student board member Desi Small-Rodriquez, Northern Cheyenne, Montana, secretary.

During the first meeting of the newly elected board members, NIEA President Robert Cook, Oglala Lakota, of Rapid City, S.D. moved to reorganize the executive committee of the board of directors.

President Cook stated, “NIEA is a great organization, and I am honored to serve with such a diverse group of educators who collectively share an enthusiastic, caring and compassionate heart in advocating for improvement and sustainability of Native education programs throughout the nation.”

NIEA Board of Directors for the 2008-2009 year are:

• President-Robert Cook, Oglala Lakota
• President-Elect Patricia Whitefoot, Yamaka/Dine
• Vice President- Robin Butterfield, Winnebago/Chippewa
• Treasurer and Student Board Member- Kevin Killer, Oglala Lakota
• Secretary- Mary Jane Oatman Wak Wak, Nez Perce
• Teresa Makuakane Drechsel, Native Hawiian
• Skawenniio Barnes, Mohawk Nation, student board member
• Denny Hurtado, Skokomish Indian Tribe
• Dr. Shawn Malia Kana’iaupuni, Native Hawaiian
• Namakaolani Rawlins, Native Hawaiian
• Shirley Tuzroyluke, Tlingit/Nisga’a
• Ryan Wilson, Oglala Lakota

As a 39 year old membership-based, nonprofit organization, NIEA registration for the convention includes a full year of member incentives, updates and a quarterly newsletter. For more information concerning registration and membership, call (202) 544-7290 or visit