Board of Advisors
Although the Center for Native American Youth is governed by the Aspen Institute's board of directors, we have assembled an impressive group of prominent political figures, journalists, entrepreneurs, athletes, and Native American leaders and advocates to act as our own board of advisors. Our board also includes three Native youth because we firmly believe that young people must be directly involved in our work. We solicit the input of these board members on a variety of matters, fitting each person's area of expertise and interest.
Byron L. Dorgan Jacoby Ellsbury Jefferson Keel Gordon Smith Dave Anderson Megan Gregory
Ernie Stevens, Jr. Allison Binney Pam Gulleson
Patty Talahongva Tom Brokaw Phil Jackson
Robert McGhee W. Richard West Lucy Calautti Dana Lee Jetty
Dirk Whitebreast Tom Daschle Hattie Kauffman
US Senator Byron L. Dorgan is a Visiting Professor at two Universities lecturing on energy, economic policy and political affairs. He works part time as a Senior Policy Advisor with the Washington DC Law Firm Arent Fox, and works with the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington DC think tank, on energy issues. He served in the Senate Leadership for 16 years, first as Assistant Democratic Floor Leader and then as Chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee. He was Chairman of Senate Committees and Subcommittees on the issues of Energy, Aviation, Appropriations, Water Policy and Indian Affairs. He served as a US Congressman and Senator for North Dakota for 30 years before retiring in 2011.
Senator Dorgan is the author of four books - two non-fiction and two fiction. The first, a New York Times Bestseller book “Take this Job and Ship It,” and a second, released in 2009, “Reckless... How Debt, Deregulation and Dark Money Nearly Bankrupted America (And How We Can Fix It).” He has also co-authored two books in an "eco-thriller" series: "Blowout" in 2012 and "Gridlock" in 2013. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of North Dakota, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Denver. He is married to Kim Dorgan and has four children: Scott, Shelly (deceased), Brendon, and Haley.
Dave Anderson is best known as “Famous Dave,” founder of Famous Dave’s of American, with over 180 restaurants and growing, reaching over $400 million in sales. Dave has helped found several publicly traded companies on Wall Street, creating over 20,000 new jobs and billions in sales. Dave was confirmed in 2004 by the US Senate as Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs at the US Department of the Interior, and has served several governors in advisory positions.
In Dave’s own life, he has experienced adversity, frustration and bankruptcy, as well as tremendous success. Dave’s life story has been featured in two books on the New York Times Best Seller List. He received Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Award for his leadership work with at-risk youth. Although he finished in the bottom half of his high school class, Dave earned his Master’s Degree from Harvard University without an undergraduate degree, and an Honorary Doctorate Degree for his life’s work.
Allison Binney is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP, where she advises clients regarding American Indian law and policy. She returned to Akin Gump in 2011 after serving as staff director and chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs from late 2007 to early 2011. She served as general counsel to the committee from 2005 to late 2007.
Before originally joining Akin Gump, Ms. Binney served as an associate at a boutique law firm specializing in American Indian law, as the program coordinator for the Indian Legal Program at Arizona State University College of Law and as a law clerk for the Native American Rights Fund in Washington, DC, where she assisted with trial 1.0 in the Cobell class-action lawsuit. Ms. Binney is a member of the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians in California. She received her J.D. and Indian Law certificate in 2000 from the Arizona State University College of Law and her B.A. in political science with a minor in Native American studies from the California State University, Chico. She is a past president of the Native American Bar Association of Washington, DC.
Tom Brokaw, one of the most trusted and respected figures in broadcast journalism, is an author and special correspondent for NBC News. Hired by NBC News in 1966 he anchored the “Today” show and was the anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News” for 21 years. He has received numerous honors, has an impressive series of additional “firsts” and became a best-selling author with the publication of “The Greatest Generation.”
Lucy Calautti is a part of the legislative practice group of Baker Hostetler, where she represents Major League Baseball. She has nearly 30 years of legislative and political experience in state government, the US House of Representatives, and the U.S. Senate. During most of that time, she served as Chief of Staff to Senator Byron Dorgan.
Prior to her Capitol Hill experience, Ms. Calautti worked with then North Dakota Tax Commissioner Byron Dorgan. She also became an experienced campaign manager, shepherding several successful congressional races, including the come-from-behind U.S. Senate campaign of Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) in 1986. Ms. Calautti, a native New Yorker, is a US Navy veteran.
Tom Daschle was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota and graduated from South Dakota State University in 1969. Upon graduation, he entered the United States Air Force where he served as an intelligence officer in the Strategic Air Command until mid-1972. Following completion of his military service, Senator Daschle served on the staff of Senator James Abourezk. In 1978, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives where he served for eight years. In 1986, he was elected to the U.S. Senate and eight years later became its Democratic Leader. Senator Daschle is one of the longest serving Senate Democratic Leaders in history and the only one to serve twice as both Majority and Minority Leader.
Today, Senator Daschle is a Senior Policy Advisor to the law firm of DLA Piper where he provides clients with strategic advice on public policy issues such as climate change, energy, health care, trade, financial services and telecommunications. Since leaving the Senate, he has distinguished his expertise in health care through the publication of Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis and the recently published, GETTING IT DONE: How Obama and Congress Finally Broke the Stalemate to Make Way for Health Care Reform. He is married to Linda Hall Daschle and has three children and four grandchildren.
Jacoby Ellsbury is the starting center fielder for the Boston Red Sox. He finished third in American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2008, and led the American League in stolen bases in his first two full years. Ellsbury broke the all-time Red Sox record with 70 stolen bases in 2009, and holds several other club records. An officially enrolled member of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, Ellsbury is the first Native American of Navajo descent to reach the Major Leagues. He has raised money on behalf of the Navajo Relief Fund, among other charities.
Ellsbury attended Madras (OR) High School and Oregon State University, where he holds school records with 168 career runs scored and 99 hits in a single season, 2005. He was selected to the All-Pac-10 First Team, and in 2005 received Pac-10 Co-Player of the Year honors. Ellsbury competed for Falmouth of the Cape Cod League in 2004.
Megan Gregory, originally from Keex Kwaan (Kake, AK), from the Woosketon clan, serves as a Youth Board Member for the Center for Native American Youth. Her Tlingit name is Kootgwatl. Gregory currently works in Juneau, Alaska in the Behavioral Health Division for the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, and has been active in advocating for Native youth health issues. While serving on the Southeast Alaska Suicide Prevention Task Force, Gregory created their Youth Ambassador Program to work with high school students in the region to bridge the gap between youth and adults, and to give all youth a role and voice for positive change in their community. Megan is a member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention - Alaska Native/American Indian Task Force, is an advisory council member for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, and is a new member of the National Council of Young Leaders representing the National Congress of American Indians.
Pam Gulleson is a special projects consultant with the North Dakota Farmers Union. She worked nine years for retired US Senator Byron Dorgan as chief of staff and state director working on behalf of tribal communities in North Dakota, and among other issues, as a key developer of the highly successful Red River Valley Research Corridor, and on farm, energy and water policy. Gulleson served from 1992 to 2008 in the North Dakota House of Representatives, where she was elected assistant floor leader. She is committed to the Center’s mission of improving the lives of Native youth and was key member of the team, volunteering her time to launch the program.
Gulleson is a member of the board of directors for the Research Corridor. She received her B.S. degree from North Dakota State University, and is a proud partner in a family farm and ranch operation near Rutland, ND with her husband Bill.
Phil Jackson is widely considered one of the greatest coaches in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He holds the highest regular season and post season winning percentages of any coach in league history. 11 of the past 21 NBA Championship teams have been coached by him. His reputation was established as head coach of the Chicago Bulls from 1989 through 1998. During his tenure, Chicago won two three-peats for a total of six NBA titles. With his next team, the Los Angeles Lakers, he won five NBA titles from 2000 to 2010. His total of 11 NBA titles as a head coach surpasses the previous record of nine set by Red Auerbach. He also holds the record for the most NBA championships as a player and a head coach, after breaking the tie with Bill Russell when the Lakers won the 2009 NBA Finals. Jackson was a two time All-American at North Dakota under head coach Bill Fitch and was drafted by the New York Knicks where he played on their 1970 and 1973 NBA championship teams.
Phil has been a longtime supporter of Native American youth, especially efforts to improve educational opportunities in Indian Country.
Dana Lee Jetty, a member of the Spirit Lake Dakota Nation in North Dakota, serves as a Youth Board Member for the Center for Native American Youth. Dana tragically lost her 14-year-old sister Jami Rose Jetty to suicide in November 2008. Since then, she has become a strong advocate across the Great Plains for youth suicide prevention. She testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs at a February, 2009 oversight hearing on youth suicide in Indian Country. Jetty recently graduated from Minnewaukan Public School in Minnewaukan, ND.
Hattie Kauffman, a member of the Nez Perce Tribe, has been a CBS News correspondent for more than two decades. Before that, as a special correspondent for ABC’s Good Morning America, she became the first Native American journalist to ever file a report on a national network evening news broadcast. Her career began at KING-TV in Seattle, where she earned four Emmy Awards and became a news anchor.
From the Oklahoma City bombing to the trial of Michael Jackson, from the front lines of a California wildfire to the Red Carpet at an Oscar party, Kauffman has become a familiar face to TV news viewers. When not on assignment, she is a frequent speaker to Native American youth.
President Jefferson Keel, lieutenant governor of the Chickasaw Nation and president of the National Congress of American Indians, has consistently proven himself as an effective leader and a strong advocate for Indian people, working tirelessly on their behalf. He serves on several national boards and committees and is often called upon to provide testimony to Congress in order to assist tribes and organizations on a variety of actions and initiatives.
A retired US Army officer with over 20 years of active duty service, Keel’s service included combat duty as an infantryman in Vietnam where he earned numerous awards and decorations including two Bronze Stars with "V" device for valor and two Purple Hearts. In June 2011, president Keel was inducted into the Military Memorial Museum Hall of Honor.
Coloradas Mangas is a member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe in New Mexico and serves as a Youth Board Member for the Center for Native American Youth. Coloradas got involved in suicide prevention efforts and Native youth advocacy after he was personally touched by a tragic cluster in suicides on his reservation. Mangas testified before the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in March 2010 on youth suicide and the need for mental health care resources in Indian Country. He serves on the executive committee of the National Alliance for Suicide Prevention.
Sam McCracken, General Manager of Nike’s N7 programs and Chairman of the N7 Fund, is a member of the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes in northeastern Montana on the Ft. Peck Indian Reservation. He became the Manager of Nike’s Native American Business in 2000 and has led the development of the Nike Air Native N7 shoe, the N7 retail collection, and the N7 Fund, which helps to create access to sport for Native American and Aboriginal youth in the United States and Canada. McCracken has pursued a strategy of increasing health and wellness through physical activity in Native American communities.
McCracken has been recognized with several prestigious awards for his passion and work. He was honored in 2004 with Nike’s Bowerman Award and with the George Washington Honor Medal by the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge, for his commitment to Native communities on health promotion programs. More recently, he received the 2010 President’s "Leadership Award" from the National Indian Gaming Association. In June 2010 McCracken was appointed by President Barack Obama to the US Department of Education’s National Advisory Council on Indian Education.
Robert McGhee, an enrolled member of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, has been involved with and an advocate for, Native American youth at all levels of government. McGhee is currently serving his third term on the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Tribal Council, in which he holds the position of Treasurer. Prior to moving back home to serve on his tribe’s council, McGhee worked in Washington, DC for five years at the Department of Interior-Bureau of Indian Affairs, the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Troutman Sanders LLP-Indian Law Practice Group. Previous to his time in DC, he served in several capacities for his tribe.
McGhee currently serves on the tribe’s Governmental Affairs/Rules Legislative Committee, the Budget/Finance Committee, the Board of Directors for both the United South and Eastern Tribes and the National Indian Child Welfare Association, and he is also a member of Secretary Sebelius’ Health and Human Services Tribal Advisory Committee. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama, a BSW from the University of Alabama, and a MSW from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. McGhee currently resides in Atmore, Alabama.
US Senator Lisa Murkowski is the first Alaskan-born Senator and only the sixth United States Senator to serve the state. The state’s senior senator, Lisa Murkowski is a third generation Alaskan, born in Ketchikan and raised in towns across the state. Only the 33rd female to serve in the United States Senate since its founding in 1789, Senator Murkowski has assumed leadership roles quickly. She is the senior Republican member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and among her other committee assignments, she is a senior member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
She earned a B.A. in economics from Georgetown University in 1980 and a law degree from Willamette University in 1985. Prior to her appointment to the United States Senate, Senator Murkowski practiced commercial law in Anchorage and served three terms in the Alaska State House of Representatives. She was elected to a full six-year US Senate term in 2004, and was re-elected in 2010 in a historic write-in campaign, the first successful write-in effort to the Senate since 1954.
US Senator Gordon H. Smith joined the National Association of Broadcasters as president and CEO in November 2009. Prior to joining NAB, he served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon and later as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP. During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Gordon's committee assignments included the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, the panel that oversees all broadcast-related legislation. He also served on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Gordon's role on the Commerce Committee and as chairman of a Senate High Tech Task Force helped foster his interest in new media and new technology issues.
Born in Pendleton, Ore., Gordon attended college at Brigham Young University, received his law degree from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles, and practiced law in New Mexico and Arizona before returning to Oregon to direct the family-owned Smith Frozen Foods business in Weston, Ore. Before his election to the U.S. Senate in 1996, he was elected to the Oregon State Senate, rising to the position of president of that body after only three years. Gordon and his wife Sharon live in Bethesda, Md., and are the parents of three children and one grandchild.
Ernie Stevens, Jr. (Oneida) is the Chairman and national spokesman for the National Indian Gaming Association in Washington, DC. Stevens is currently serving his sixth two-year term as the organization's leader. NIGA, established in 1985, is a non-profit organization of 184 Indian Nations with other non-voting associate members representing tribes and businesses engaged in tribal gaming enterprises from around the country.
From 1993 to 1999 Stevens served as an elected councilman for the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. He is a former First Vice-President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). As a respected leader in Indian Country, Stevens also serves as a long-standing board member on the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development Board, on the Nike N7 Foundation Board and is Vice Chairman of the Native American Basketball Invitational (NABI) Foundation, he also serves on the Native American Advisory Board for the Boys and Girls Club of America. In 2012, Stevens was inducted into the prestigious Boys & Girls Club of American Alumni Hall of Fame.
Stevens has earned an Associate’s degree from Haskell Indian Nations University, in Lawrence, Kansas and a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Mount Senario College in Ladysmith, Wisconsin. He is an enrolled member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. He and his wife Cheryl have been together over 30 years have five children, and 10 grandchildren, soon to be 11.
Patty Talahongva (Hopi) is an award-winning producer and freelance journalist based in Phoenix, Arizona, who in 2002 became the first Native American to host a national news program. She covers education, business, politics, health and arts & culture in Indian Country. Among a number of administrative posts she has held is that of former president of the Native American Journalists Association.
Talahongva is also a founding board member and current vice president of the Hopi Education Endowment Fund, an endowed fund specifically for education. The Fund started with $10 Million in 2000 and over the last decade has nearly doubled its worth.
W. Richard West Jr. is the founding director emeritus of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), and served there as director from 2004 to 2007. Prior to NMAI, Mr. West was a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson and, subsequently, in the Indian-owned Albuquerque law firm of Gover, Stetson, Williams & West, P.C. He has also served as general counsel and special counsel to numerous Indian tribes and organizations and as present or former trustee for the American Indian Resources Institute, Bacone College, the Ford Foundation, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the National Conservation System Foundation.
Mr. West was born in San Bernardino, Calif., and grew up in Muskogee, Okla. He is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American history from the University of Redlands in California, a master's degree in American history from Harvard University and a doctor of jurisprudence degree from Stanford University.
Dirk Whitebreast, a member of the Sac & Fox of the Mississippi (Meskwaki Nation). In 2003, following the tragic suicide of his sister Darcy Jo Keahna, Dirk decided to take control of his life and become a healthier, stronger leader or his family, tribe and all of Indian Country. Dirk is an avid runner and in 2011 he ran 10 marathons in 30 days. He took the challenge of running 262 miles to both honor his sister and promote the Center for Native American Youth's mission to bring awareness to Native youth suicide.