- Shalene JobinShalene Jobin
Shalene Jobin Vandervelde is Cree on her mother's side and Métis on her father's. She is a member of the Red Pheasant Cree First Nation, a signatory to Treaty Six in Saskatchewan, Canada. Shalene holds a B.Com and a M.A. in Indigenous Governance and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in an interdisciplinary program in Political Science and Native Studies at the University of Alberta.
Active in the Native community both at the University of Alberta and in the wider central Alberta region, Shalene is married to Will Vandervelde and lives in Sturgeon County, Alberta.
- Mike RyniewichMike Rynkiewich
Mike is husband to Theresa and father of five children, three of them adults. Mike graduated Magna Cum Laude from Bethel College with a BA in Anthropology. Completing his MA (Chippewa Pow-wows) and Ph.D. (Land Tenure among Arno Marshallese) in Anthropology at the University of Minnesota, Mike spent many years teaching in the field of Anthropology, He returned to school to complete an MDiv at Asbury Theological Seminary where he is currently faculty. Mike has held various faculty positions including Director of Post-Graduate studies at Asbury. He has retired from Ashbury and became faculty for NAIITS at that time.
- Michael OleksaMichael Oleksa
Father Michael Oleksa, Ph.D., was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He came to Alaska in 1970 from St. Vladimir's Seminary in New York at the invitation of the Alutiiq village of Old Harbor on Kodiak Island. Over the next three decades he served as a Russian Orthodox priest in over a dozen Alaska Native villages. In 1988 he completed his doctoral degree at the Orthodox Theological Faculty in Presov, Slovakia, with an emphasis in Native Alaskan History during the Alaska Russian period (1741-1867). Recognized as an "Elder" by the Alaska Federation of Natives, a Distinguished Public Servant by the Board of Regents of the University of Alaska, and honored by the Alaska State Legislature and the National Governors Association, Dr. Oleksa is a storyteller who seeks to foster greater understanding across boundaries of race and culture. Father Oleksa is a leader in the development of cross-cultural education in Alaska, an educator of Alaskan teachers, and a student of Alaska Native languages and cultures. He recently has published a book in collaboration with the Association of Alaska School Boards entitled Another Culture/Another World that explores the great diversity and common humanity of Alaska's cultural mosaic.
- Richard TwissRichard Twiss
Richard Twiss is an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate from the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. He has been married to Katherine since 1976. They co-founded Wiconi International in 1997 and Richard serves as president. Before founding Wiconi International, he was a local business owner, served as a local pastor for thirteen years, and worked as National Director of Native Ministries for the International Bible Society. Altogether, in the past fifteen years, he has spoken in several hundred venues including conferences and schools/universities, churches, businesses, government agencies as well as lectured in and led Native cultural performing arts teams to Pakistan, China, Israel, France, Peru, Australia, Tibet, South Africa and more than a dozen others, addressing issues of spirituality, justice and the hope for a better world to tens of thousands.
He is committed to introducing innovative approaches to higher education in the Western world born out of an indigenous worldview framework and has numerous articles published in scholarly journals, magazines and books. He teaches as an adjunct professor at Portland State University, Sioux Falls Seminary and George Fox University, also conducting diversity awareness training seminars. His great passion is actively serving the local native community in the Portland, Oregon region as a respected spiritual leader.
- Vincent Yellow Old WomanVincent Yellow Old Woman
Vincent Yellow Old Woman was born and raised on the Siksika Nation (formerly known as the Blackfoot Indian Reserve) in Alberta, Canada, just an hour east of Calgary. He speaks fluent Blackfoot.
Vincent is a warrior for Christ, a consultant, elder, an itinerant speaker, motivational speaker, champion of causes, politician, an innovator and a visionary. He is An Advocate/Facilitator of Multi-Cultural groups of both Traditional and Contemporary Ministries (multi-denominational) and Societies. He also works as a consultant with an expertise in First Nations governance. He has sat on many Boards and Committees too numerous to mention. He has been invited to several different countries around the world to participate.
Vincent and his wife, Vicki, currently reside at Siksika. The have a son, Stephen and his wife, Vanessa who reside at Siksika, and a daughter, Nicole and her husband Jason who reside in Calgary, Alberta. They have a total of 12 grandchildren. They also have numerous traditional adopted daughters, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
- Andrea SmithAndrea Smith
Well- known in Native North American scholarly circles, Andrea continually offers a coherent critique of issues in gender and politics from a Native North American woman’s perspective. Andrea earned her M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing her JD at University of California Irvine. Andrea has an extensive publishing history.