Board of Directors
Angelina Okuda-Jacobs, an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe, currently owns and operates a horse farm based on natural, holistic and Indian way of life. She assists horse owners in experiencing our environment, in using natural medicines and plants for healing, and in developing natural relationships with their horses. Prior to the farm, Angelina was a practicing attorney in American Indian law in Washington, D.C. representing Indian tribes across the country. She represented tribes in many significant areas of Indian law, including the federal trust responsibility, protection of cultural and historic resources, hunting, fishing and gathering rights, and issues affecting tribal livelihood, self-determination, jurisdiction and sovereignty.
Angelina grew up helping her mother and grandmother in their gardens, collecting herbal plants, and continued her education over the next 30 years studying and exploring the role of gardens, plants and diet in Native health, culture and sovereignty. Angelina earned her law degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Science degree in Land Resources from the Institute for Environmental Studies also at UW-Madison. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Native American Studies from the University of California at Berkeley.
Angelina Okuda-Jacobs, President
Barney Bush, Vice-President
Before returning full time to his Ohio River homelands, Shawnee poet/education-activist/patriot Barney Bush wrote about his homelands and the destruction of water, sky, land, forests, animals, people and became published and translated internationally. He has taught in numerous colleges and universities in the U.S. and has a B.A. in Humanities from Ft. Lewis College, Durango, Colorado, a Masters of Arts in English and Fine Arts from the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, and sixty-five hours beyond the masters. He has also taught writing and English logic classes in Native American schools all over North America including Alaska and Hawaii. He has been a guest speaker in universities of Western Europe as well as North and Central America.
Bush has served as a writer-in-residence for numerous arts councils including those in New York, North Carolina, Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Vermont and more. From 1989 through 2005, he was on contract with Nato Records in Paris, France, where he recorded numerous musical and spoken poetry albums. All lyrics were written by Bush, and music was composed by Tony Hymas, English composer and recording artist, who employed the use of Native American music and performers throughout the albums. One of their early albums, Left for Dead, was admitted to the list of the “Greatest Experimental Hits in the History of Music.” Bush is also the first indigenous poet admitted to the Society of Artists, Composers and Editors of Music, Paris, France.
During the 1960s, Bush became involved with the American Indian Movement that was just forming in Minneapolis, Minnesota. During this time, he became involved in protests over the lack of understanding about Native people in their own homelands. He was an organizer, among many, of several schools throughout Indian country and helped, in 1970, create the first Native American Studies programs for colleges, high schools and grade schools in the United States. Bush came to see that the only way to save and promote the growth of homelands and culture was through organizing and truly learning the culture of colonial America. He believes that Native peoples’ owning and sharing their own businesses and schools is a primary factor in purchasing back our homelands for future generations.
Pearl Casias, Director
Ms. Pearl Casias is a member of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. She has lived on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation her entire life and is dedicated to maintaining her Tribe’s rights, sovereignty, and the future success of her people. In 2011, Ms. Casias was elected as the first Chairwoman in the history of the Southern Ute Tribal Council. As former Chairwoman and a former Council Member, she enacted and helped pass several key pieces of legislation that have contributed to the prosperity the Tribe currently enjoys. She also served as Chief Tribal Judge for her Tribe.
Ute tribal traditions and language are enormously important to her, and it is her hope to see them last through future generations. She carefully balances this need to maintain Native traditions and language with technological adaptations into the 21st century -- trying to maintain these customs as well as continuing to move forward and thrive as a people. Ms. Casias was instrumental in establishing the Southern Ute Indian Montessori Academy on the Southern Ute Reservation. She has since retired, but Ms. Casias continues her dedication to Tribal sovereignty and traditions and does consulting work for other Tribes. She is also an avid beader.
Lucinda Long-Webb, Secretary/Treasurer
Lucinda Long-Webb is Diné/Navajo, her clans are Naakaii Diné’é, Táchii’nii, Honágháahnii, Ashiihi (Traveling Peoples/Mexican Clan, Red-Streak-in-the-Water, One-Who-Walks-Around, and Salt Clan). She grew up on the checkerboard reservation in Tsa-ya-toh (Water-Under-Rock) near Gallup, New Mexico. Living near her grandparents, she learned to speak her ancestral language fluently. Her paternal grandfather was a Beauty Way medicine man and her maternal grandparents followed the Peyote Road. Her paternal uncles continue her grandfather’s legacy as medicine men. She has lived in Durango, Colorado since 1985 and has been married to her husband, Lance Webb, for twenty-four years.
Lucinda graduated from Fort Lewis College, in Durango, Colorado with a Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities/Elementary Education in 1990. She attained her Master’s Degree in Reading from the University of Northern Colorado in 2004. Currently, she is the Outreach Educator for the Title VII Native American Education program in Durango District 9-R. She teaches Cultural Literacy Enrichment, K-5, using Native American literature. Her philosophy of teaching is based on the four sacred Lifeways of Thinking, Planning, Life, and Hope for the future, following the Corn Pollen road, encircled by the blessed rainbow.
Her educational journey consists of English Language Learners teacher for eighteen years; founded The Diné Club after-school; teacher advisor for Title VII Parent Advisory Committee; Native American culture with Durango Summer Academy; ESL Methods at Fort Lewis College; Pathkeepers of Indigenous Knowledge in July 2014! In 2013, she attended the Colorado Education Association Delegate Assembly, representing the Durango Education Association and a representative for the Ethnic Minority Advisory Council. Currently, she is a member of the Student Achievement Gap Task Force and serves on the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Team. She hopes to draft a children’s book sharing her Diné heritage.
D. Bambi Kraus is the National Tribal Affairs Advisor for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. She is the former President of the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers headquartered in Washington, D.C. Since graduating from Stanford University, she has resided in Washington, D.C. and has been committed to working with and advocating for Native rights. She has worked as a senior advisor for President Clinton’s Initiative on Race, the National Indian Policy Center, the National Advisory Council on Indian Education (U.S. Department of Education), and the National Anthropological Archives (Smithsonian Institution). Among other achievements, she completed a children’s book in 1998 with and about her mother, Frances Nannauck Kraus. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Stanford University. Ms. Kraus is a Tlingit Indian, whose family is from Kake, Alaska.
Denise Bambi Kraus, Director
Forrest Cox, Sr., Director
Currently working in Washington, DC, Forrest supports a nationwide beneficiary program called Lifeline, which provides access to phone and internet services for low income families and individuals as directed by the Federal Communications Commission. Forrest focuses on conducting program data analysis and supports engagements with Native communities across Indian Country.
Forrest is citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and holds lineage to the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Growing up around Washington, DC Forrest came to know how important it is to maintain a connection to his tribe and family despite the long distance. This guided him to playing lacrosse, a sport invented and played by various tribes across Indian Country, including his own.
Forrest was honored to be selected to play defense and experience/learn the Haudenosaunee spirituality of lacrosse on the U-19 Iroquois Nationals team that competed in the 2008 Men's U-19 World Lacrosse Championship in Coquitlam, BC, and won the bronze medal. He continued to play defense on University of Michigan Men’s Lacrosse team in 2009, where they won their third MLCA National Championship in Denver, CO.
After graduating from the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy, Forrest interned in the White House - National Economic Council supporting tribal economic development efforts. Afterwards, Forrest moved to Tulsa, OK to be closer to family and support Cherokee Nation’s government relations and economic development efforts. Forrest enjoys working with others who share a passion for improving and strengthening economic mobility for communities across the country through policy development, access to finance, business growth, and analytical research.