EVENT SPEAKERS

Keynote Speaker

Anna M. Rondon, who is Kinya aa aanii Clan and born for Nakai Dine and whose grandparents are Tabaaha and Nakai, is a dedicated life-time advocate for the rights of Indigenous people, which began from elementary school. Her late mother, who is Kinya’aa’aanii, was involved in many community events and Indigenous gathering in the California Bay Area because like so many other Dine’ people, her mother left her home community of Chichiltah, New Mexico, to seek work on the railroad in 1943, which resulted in the family traveling each summer to Two Wells, the place where her mother and siblings were born.

 

Anna Rondon experienced first-hand this diaspora of Indigenous women and their families from their ancestral homelands to urban cities to work for the railroad, which naturally resulted in negative cultural impacts but which also strengthened the endurance of the Indigenous people to continue successful nurturing of the survival of their cultural roots.

 

For the past 50 years, Anna Rondon has worked alongside many influential Indigenous leaders and her own spiritual advisors, which has deeply rooted her, educated her in how to navigate movement building at the various levels of organizing for change and justice. And for the past 30  years, she has worked in various leadership positions. Today she serves as the Project Director of the New Mexico Social Justice and Equity Institute and the McKinley Collaborative for Health Equity coordinator, a management position she currently holds. She has also worked for the Navajo Nation government as a Navajo Nation, Land Use planner across the vast Navajo reservation and for the Eastern Navajo Agency-Local Governance Office and as an office manager for the Navajo Nation Chichiltah Chapter, New Mexico.

 

Her work with the Navajo government also involved employment with the Navajo Nation Department of Health, where she was the Project Director and Co-Principal Investigator for the Navajo Birth Cohort Study, which was conducted in partnership with the University of New Mexico-Community Environmental Health, the Navajo Area U.S. Indian Health Services, and the Southwest Research and Information Center.

 

And since the focus of her work is Indigenous rights, she has also worked as the Native Outreach Director for the Southwest Research and Information Center and with New Energy Economy, the  New Mexico, Installation of Solar unit at the Crownpoint, New Mexico, Chapter, as an advocacy for the closure of San Juan Generating Station, and supporting environmental public health protections through pressuring the New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission and Public Service Company of New Mexico.

Panel 1: How we got here

Krissy J. Bergen is a member of the White Mountain Apache Nation born of the Bizsaha’ clan. Krissy graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelors in Science in Psychology and Masters Degree in Counseling. Today she is a Licensed Associate Counselor at Apache Behavioral Health Services and has reached her lifelong goal of helping the White Mountain Apache People. Krissy is an advocate for Indigenous Resurgence by reclaiming healing practices and Indigenous foods. She spends her time learning & practicing Apache culture & lifeways. Professionally Krissy has dedicated her career to bring awareness of the roots of community violence and developing culturally specific interventions for the White Mountain Apache People to prevent intimate partner violence/ sexual assault and to promote community healing.

Alida Quiroz-Montiel is an enrolled member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and resides at the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. As the Director of Health & Human Services at the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA), her principle responsibility since 1990 has been to provide Tribal Leaders in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah analysis on Federal and State health policies and budgetary issues that affect the American Indian health care system. In January 2019, she began to manage the ITCA Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country (CDC) project and supervises all ITCA health and human services related projects.

 

Ms. Montiel has an Associate’s Degree in Native American Studies from DQ University in Davis, California and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Arizona State University. Ceremonial responsibilities encompass Yaqui/Mayo life ways and as a teacher of traditional Aztec (Mexica) Dance, a designation received in 1986, from her elders. 

Dr. Lian BigHorse is the proud mother of three children, who are her greatest blessings and motivation to decolonize the American educational curriculums, protect indigenous sacred sites, and preserve cultural identity for future generations. Lian is an enrolled tribal member of the Navajo Nation, however she grew up on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Southeastern Arizona. She is from the Bitter Water clan on her mother’s side and was raised in the Stiniyah clan of the Bedonkah band of Chiricahua Apaches. Lian has been blessed with three goddaughters through the traditional Apache Sunrise dance ceremony and is currently preparing her own daughter spiritually, mentally, and physically for her womanhood ceremony that will take place on their sacred ancestral homelands at Oak Flat.

 

Lian received her Bachelors of Science degree in American Indian Studies for Arizona State University and her Master’s in Bioethics and Global Public Health from the American University of Sovereign Nations. She completed her doctoral dissertation in 2018 entitled, “The Holy Fight: Awakenings of Apache Identity from Oak Flat to Transgenerational Justice and Decolonization”, earning a Ph.D. in Bioethics, Sustainability, and Global Public Health. Lian is a Spirit of the Mountain Runner, a group of traditional runners who fight for our inherent right of religious freedom and has participated in the annual Mount Graham Sacred Run since she was a child. Lian is also a member of the Apache Stronghold, who have taken on the fight to protect Oak Flat and all traditional homelands against foreign mining companies, corporations, and the corruption of United States government. Lian is the Youth Resiliency, Tribal Practices, and Circles of Care Program Manager for Native Health, where she enables a trauma informed ancestral minded environment to promote the prevention of substance abuse and suicide among urban indigenous youth. Lian is passionate about working with indigenous youth emphasizing the importance of personal identity and decolonizing the current American educational curriculums.

Kianna Joe is sister to five siblings and is Dine from St. Michaels Arizona. Her work is in Social Justice and Indigenous Youth Advocacy. She is an ambassador and is on the youth board for the United Nations, where her work consists of coming up with strategies for social transformation and community organizing. She is also the Youth Representative for Mennonite, where they speak to religious personal on the effects Christianity has had on Indigenous People. 

She started in advocacy work when she was nine years old by attending water rights meetings, by attending sessions with her mom. At age 16 she fought a battle on behalf of her friends when her high school teacher cut her friends hair in class. The teacher eventually resigned but Kianna had to overcome many obstacles put in her away for standing up against the racism experienced. She is currently a first year student at Arizona State University where she is majoring in Global Health with an interest in journalism. Her research interest consists of healing from historical trauma, dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery, and social transformation. 

Panel 2: Attacks on the people

Vanessa Nosie, a dedicated loving mother of 3 daughters, employed with the San Carlos Apache Tribe Historic Preservation and Archaeology Department as the NAGPRA Project Director and Archaeology-Aide. She is a matriarch in protection of her tribe's ancestral home and sacred places and community organizer. Vanessa has always been active and present for her community and people, hold positions such as the Co-Chair of Baase Sacred Organization, Member of the Mountain of the Spirit Runners protecting and conducting sacred ceremony upon Mt Graham and a founding member and youth advisor of Native Youth Unite, organizing member of Apache Stronghold and organize member of the Poor Peoples Campaign, A National Call for Moral Revival.  Vanessa has spoken before Congress and in a multitude of conferences, Vanessa still humbly returns to the lands in which she was raised, to continue to honor and protect the place and culture of home. That home being where her grandmother was born and raised, by her example Vanessa continues to be at service.

Parris Wallace mother of two, married to an amazing partner, living in Phoenix, Arizona. Originally a chef by trade, and an activist by night she started showing up in organizing spaces like Puente and eventually was recruited to work on the 2016 Bazta Arpaio campaign. As the field director for the far west valley, there she saw the harm that was being done to communities of color by racist policies. Following the win of the campaign she began to imagine what a future based on respect and dignity of people could look like. After a few months of recovering from the campaign, Poder In Action had recruited her to be the community college organizer. She was able to develop her analysis and develop further as a leader, she wanted to create a space for Black people like the one she was a part of at Poder In Action. So with a long time thought partner she launched Black Phoenix Organizing Collective, a political home for Black people to build Black power. There they organize the community, develop leaders, and create better living conditions for the Black community. 

Six years ago Monica Jones was arrested while walking to her neighbhorhood bar in Phoenix, Arizona for "manifesting prostitution," a discriminatory ordinance that allows police to profile and arrest suspected sex workers on the grounds of, well, nothing. Monica's arrest came shortly after she spoke against an anti-prostitution "rescue" program run out of Arizona State University, Project ROSE, which had already led to the arrest or detainment of hundreds of people in Phoenix. Monica continues her trans rights and sex workers' rights activism through her organizaton, The Outlaw Project. The project works on the following priority areas: economic justice for self sufficiency; harm reduction and health promotion; community-led solutions to violence and to mitigate the impact of oppression because of criminalization; decriminalization of sex work and removal of other repressive laws and policies. She is also a founding member of the US Human Rights Network Sex Workers' Rights Working Group and has traveled to the United Nations to advocate for sex workers' human rights.       

Isabel Garcia was born to Mexican immigrant parents and raised in south Phoenix, Arizona. Isabel has been actively involved in community-based, non-profit work in south and west Phoenix since 2014. Currently, Isabel serves as Operations and Finance Director at Poder In Action, a youth and womxn-of-color led organization that builds power and leaders to determine a new future free from systemic injustice and violence. Isabel is honored to serve in her beloved Phoenix community, where she works directly with other residents to claim decision-making power over community safety, health, education, and local resources.

Diane Ovalle is a Mexica/Yoeme/Xicana human rights activist and organizer born in California raised in West Phoenix. Co Founder of Puente Human Rights Movement focused on media and documentary photography. 15 years social service provider overseeing housing crisis in Maricopa county. Co facilitated reentry classes in Perryville State Prison. Currently working with a private funder to streamline funding resources in Maricopa county for formerly incarcerated individually ensuring everyone has a right to housing.

Sarra Tekola is a PhD student in the School of Sustainability. Tekola is both an academic and anti-colonial climate justice & Black Lives Matter activist.  She is a co-founder and minister of activism for Black Lives Matter Phoenix Metro and cofounder of Women of Color Speak Out, a group that worked to help the environmental movement become more accessible to people of color. She was a lead organizer in Divest University of Washington, where after a 3-year struggle they divested from coal. She helped to start a movement in Seattle that blocked another police station from being built in a community of color. Her activism has been featured in Democracy Now, CNN, Rolling Stone and was named by Outside Magazine as one of the “30 under 30” in 2016. Her undergraduate research was on the physical elements of climate change, where she interned and researched for EPA, NOAA and the Washington State Department of Ecology. She also has worked as a legislative aide in the Seattle city council working on sustainability and justice policy.  Her dissertation research focuses on creating the cultural change needed to successfully implement climate solutions, through organizing and decoloniality.

Karla Bautista is Trans Queer Pueblo’s Liberation coordinator. Originally from Petén, Guatemala, she fled transphobic and homophobic violence in her country in 2005 and migrated to the United States. She is the descendent of indigenous cakchiquel women who survived the US-backed Guatemalan genocide and draws inspiration and power from their resistance. 

 

Panel 3 - Future generations

 

Jovana Renteria is the Co-Executive Director for Puente Human Rights Movement. Jovana is an advocate for civil and human rights; she has worked on issues including the immigration streamline, domestic violence, SB1070, and family detention and separation. Jovana founded Puente’s Uno Por Uno legal clinic in 2012. Uno Por Uno (One by One) gives free services to Phoenix community members as well as fights to stop the deportation of immigrants. Since 2012, Jovana has helped keep over 450 families together by stopping their deportation. Jovana also fights to get people out of prison and fights to dismantle adverse criminal justice laws and policy  in Arizona. 

 

Michelle Ruiz was born and raised in Phoenix,A . She is a first generation college student at Phoenix College, and the daughter of migrant/ undocumented parents. At the age of 11, she was able to witness the impacts of SB1070 in her community, which ignited her activism. She has been a part of civic engagement campaigns and is currently a youth organizer, and arts culture coordinator at Puente Human Rights Movement. Michelle continues to fight with her community, in hopes that her family is someday able to be reunited. 

 

Adrianna Gonzales was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. Since young, Adrianna and her family have experienced unjust altercations with the criminal justice system; including many times she witnessed her dad brutalized by police. Adrianna started organizing with Poder in Action at the age of 16 and quickly moved her way up from volunteer to team lead. She organized around several issues, including participatory budgeting and police accountability. At 19, she is currently a Policy Intern at Councilmember Carlos Garcia's office, and is involved with Poder in Action as well as other police accountability work. Adrianna is committed to long-term organizing. She also plans to someday run for public office to continue to build power to disrupt and dismantle oppressive systems and fight white supremacy within local government.

 

Makayla Coronado is a 16 year old student at Compadre High School. She is also a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe from Guadalupe Arizona. She served three years as a cultural participant for Yaqui ceremonies serving her community and family members in a spiritual and physically challenging role. She has been a part of the Lutu’uria Youth Group (LYG) in Guadalupe since 2016. Some of the work she does with LYG is community services at various events, garden and community clean ups, collaboration with coalitions and programs to bring education and awareness on various topics to the community. She has served as a consultant for strategic planning to other youth groups along with her fellow LYG members and is helping spearhead a Native Youth Network connection of tribal youth groups around the state. Her group is also working on a film about gang violence and drug misuse in their community. Their goal is to create awareness of some of the issues and prevent kids from taking a dangerous path. Makayla’s is an aspiring healer and has learned much in her own path to healing that she wants to share with her people. Her goals include furthering her journey into self-healing and spiritual work and healing those around her. She wants to share her gifts with her community and the world.

 

Veronica Torres is a Chicana from Tucson Arizona. Veronica was recently released from Perryville Women's Prison (ADOC) after serving 25 years of a life sentence. She was her own greatest ally and advocate in getting the state of Arizona to acknowledge her illegal sentence. Veronica was fourteen when detained. She was the youngest juvenile to be convicted to life without the eligibility of parole (LWOP). Veronica is an inspirational speaker and connects with youth and women entering prison about the importance of education, self-love and human kindness. She tells her story not only through her but also expresses her experience through poetry and rapping. She is currently attending the University of Arizona for Web Coding with plans to complete her bachelor’s degree for Social and Behavioral Sciences – Information Science and E-Society. Veronica is a strong supporter of criminal justice and prison reform and works tirelessly to help other women fight their cases so they too can come home.

 

Tasha Rene is a formerly incarcerated woman who fights for criminal justice rights in Arizona. Tasha was convicted to life without the eligibility of parole  at age 17 and served 25 years at Perryville Women’s prison (ADOC).  During her time inPerryville, Tasha earned two associates degrees and was a core member of Humanity Behind the Walls (ASU). Tasha has spent the last two years connecting with her family and friends and is working to transfer to ASU to earn her bachelor's degree. Tasha is committed to fighting the system that kept her and others like her behind bars, she works tirelessly to help others learn more about the realities in prison. 

 

Pershlie “Perci” Ami is a member of the Hopi/Tewa Tribe, from the Village of Walpi, Az. Pershlie is an ambassador for Grandmothers who are educators, wisdom gathers/sharers, guides, messengers, and earth protectors. She has traveled internationally and nationally to visit with and learn from people of different nations, and religion. Pershlie assist individuals to heal broken spirits and minds by sharing her life’s journey, her traditional beliefs, and her stories.. As a Hopi/Tewa Grandmother she has travel to support all grandmothers and grandfathers. It is her vision to create a healthy world for all grandchildren. Her most recent endeavors includes; her writings on suicide prevention, dealing with the death of a love one, and her motivation cards. Pershlie continues to be active in her community by her work with, MMIW awareness, No Fracking AZ. Arizona Legislative Day, Domestic Violence, and Partnership with Native Americans. She also continues to teach her classes on Self care and Self awareness, Lateral Violence in Native Communities, GONA, I am Sacred, and her Pathway classes. She has been a feature speaker for Intertribal Council, Native Women Conference, and National Lactation Conference.