Ray Aldred, TH.D [ABD] (Cree)
Th.D. [ABD], Wycliffe College, University of Toronto
Areas of specialization: Theology
Ray graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Canadian Theological Seminary with his B.Th. and his M.Div. degrees. The Former Director of the First Nations Alliance Churches in Canada, Ray currently teaches theology at Ambrose University College and Seminary. He is a contributor to and product of the NAIITS approach to theological and Biblical training. Ray is married to Elaine. They have 4 children and 3 grandchildren.
Terry LeBlanc, Ph.D., D.D. (h.c.) (Mi'kmaq-Acadian)
Ph.D. Asbury Theological Seminary, 2012
Areas of specialization: Theology, Anthropology, and Community Development
Terry has been active in full-time vocational ministry with the Native North American community since 1978. He is currently CEO and Director of Indigenous Pathways overseeing the programs of My People, iEmergence, and NAIITS. He has been the recipient of three fellowships and the Student of Highest Distinction award. He completed his Ph.D. at Asbury Theological Seminary and was awarded the D.D. honoris causa by Acadia University in 2015.
Cheryl Bear, D.Min. (Carrier Sekani)
D.Min., Masters, The King's University, 2009
Areas of specialization: Evangelism
Cheryl is a Carrier Sekani from Prince George, BC. From her work of building a street church and Bible school with First Nations people in downtown Vancouver, BC, to her award-winning music, Cheryl displays creativity in mission like few others. She is a pastor, itinerant minister, and NAIITS board member. Cheryl has 3 sons. Cheryl published Introduction to First Nations Ministry in 2013.
Jeanine LeBlanc, M.Div. (Mi'kmaq-Acadian)
M.Div., Asbury Theological Seminary, 2008
Areas of specialization: Anthropology, Indigenous Culture
Jeanine is employed in Edmonton She is currently preparing for Ph.D. work in Anthropology. Jeanine has been involved with the World Christian Gathering of Indigenous People’s movement for more than 10 years. She is one of the North American leadership team for iEmergence – an Indigenous youth movement.
Jacqueline Ottmann, Ph.D. (Saulteaux)
Ph.D., University of Saskatchewan, 2005
Areas of specialization: Native education and leadership development
In addition to a number of academic and research fellowships and an extensive publishing history, Jackie has taught on Native Leadership and education for many years. She earned her B.Ed. degree from the University of Calgary going on to complete her M.Ed. and PhD in Education at the University of Saskatchewan. She has contributed extensively to literature in the field of Native education and leadership development. She is currently full-time faculty with the University of Calgary and part-time with NAIITS.
Jennifer LeBlanc, M.Div. (Mi'kmaq-Acadian)
M.Div., Sioux Falls Seminary, Sioux Falls, 2010
Areas of specialization: Intercultural Studies
Jennifer has worked in street-level ministry for several years with the Mustard Seed in Edmonton and has been involved with the World Christian Gathering of Indigenous People’s movement for 11 years. She is one of the North American leadership team for iEmergence – an Indigenous youth movement. Jennifer is the twin sister of Jeannie LeBlanc.
Wendy Peterson, Ph.D., (Métis)
Ph.D. [ABD], Asbury Theological Seminary
Areas of specialization: Apologetics, Indigenous Social Realities, World Religions
Wendy served as Senior Instructor and adjunct faculty at Providence University College and Providence Theological Seminary from 1990 to 2009. She earned a BA from Winnipeg Bible College (now Providence University College) and an MA in Theology from Providence Theological Seminary. A Red River Métis, descended from a member of Louis Riel’s council, Wendy has been active in Native affairs in Canada for many years. Chairing the Aboriginal Ministries Council of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is one example of that work. Peterson has travelled extensively and taught in a diversity of locations such as visiting lecturer in Apologetics in Ukraine. She is a founding board member of NAIITS and editor of the NAIITS Journal. Wendy is married to Ed, has 3 children and many grandchildren.
Andy Reimer, Ph.D. (Mennonite)
Ph.D. University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England, 1999
Areas of specialization: Old and New Testament
Andy Reimer is a biblical studies specialist with a lifelong interest in how gospel and culture go hand in hand. Growing up on the Canadian prairies, Andy spent part of his childhood living beside the Peguis First Nation while his father served as part-time minister in a local reserve church. Andy's PhD studies and subsequent academic research have explored themes of Christianity and culture. Following his PhD studies, in addition to working as a full time biblical studies professor, Andy spent seven years working in an urban First Nations church context. Today, Andy splits his time between teaching/researching in biblical studies, and working on initiatives to make the Canadian oil industry safer.
Julene Pommert, PhD (Blackfeet)
Julene is an experienced teacher and public speaker. She has invested over twenty years in professional development and leadership, including volunteer work. She is also a relational counselor and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapist (EMDR). She resides in Seattle, WA.
Shari Russell, M.A. (Saulteaux)
M.A., Providence Theological Seminary, 1994
Shari is stationed in Southern Ontario and is a field training officer/instructor and the Territorial Aboriginal Liaison. She was born into the Saulteaux First Nation in Saskatchewan and was part of what is known as the ‘Sixties Scoop’ where approximately 20,000 Aboriginal children were taken from their families and put into foster care. While Shari was earning her BA in Christian Education she also met her husband, Robert Russell. Shari followed her BA with an MA in Christian education from Providence Seminary. Feeling called to full-time ministry with The Salvation Army, the Russell’s entered training college in 1997. They were commissioned in 1
Danny Zacharias, Ph.D. (Cree)
Areas of specialization: Biblical Studies and Biblical Languages
Danny is a graduate of Acadia Divinity College, with both his Master of Divinity and Master of Arts (Theology). Previous to this Danny resided in Winnipeg where he earned his Bachelor of Arts at Providence College. He currently teaches Introduction to Greek, Introduction to Hebrew, along with other classes in biblical studies, alongside his administrative responsibilities relating to technology at ADC.
More than any other achievements, Danny is most proud to call Maria his wife, Lex and Jack his sons, and Ella-Rose his little princess.
Kelsey Dayle John, PhD. Cand. (Diné)
Kelsey (Diné) is a PhD Candidate in the Cultural Foundations of Education program at Syracuse University. She is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Kelsey holds a B.A. from Colgate University in Educational Studies and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Women’s and Gender Studies from Syracuse University.
Her PhD dissertation is on Diné Tribal Colleges and Universities and the connection between community and academic knowledge’s. Kelsey’s research interests include Indigenous and decolonizing methodologies, Tribal Colleges and Universities, settler colonial studies, livestock, land, and epistemology. In her free time, she rides horses, runs, and is learning Diné Bizaad.
Andrea Smith, Ph.D (Western Cherokee-Ojibwe)
Ph.D., University of California Santa Cruz, 2002
Areas of specialization: Gender issues, Politics
Andrea is well known in Native North American scholarly circles as she has an extensive publishing history. She continually offers a coherent critique of issues in gender and politics from a Native North American woman’s perspective. Andrea earned her BA in Comparative Religions from Harvard, her M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary and her Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness from the University of California Santa Cruz. Andrea passed her bar exams and was called to the California State bar in 2013.
Cornelius Buller, Ph.D. (Mennonite)
Areas of specialization: Theology, Eastern and World Religions, and Ethics
Cornelius Buller is a founding board member of NAIITS and is the founder and Executive Director Urban Youth Adventures, which mentors and empowers youth who are impacted by poverty. Buller has initiated and organized art exhibits and prayer events, which focused on bringing to light the dignity of persons who are regularly ignored, marginalized or oppressed. Previously he served as an ethics consultant for The Salvation Army. Dr. Buller completed his Ph.D. at McMaster University (M.A. at University of Manitoba, B.R.S. at Mennonite Brethren Bible College). Cornelius is married to Vernelle and together they are the parents of 3 adult children, Stefan, Lisa and Jodi.
Casey Church, D.Miss (Potawotomi)
Areas of specialization: Intercultural Studies, Indigenous Spirituality
Casey is a Pokagon Band Potawatomi member of southwest Michigan. His Potawatomi name is Ankwawango, which means, “Hole in the Cloud”. His wife Lora, their five children and he live in Albuquerque, New Mexico where they have lived for the past fifteen years.
Casey and his wife Lora have pastored a Native church plant in Grand Rapids, Michigan from 1996 to 2000 which would become one of the first contextualized worship services in the country.
Gene Green, Ph.D. (Scottish/Lebanese)
Areas of Specialization: New Testament Studies, Biblical Interpretation
After teaching and serving in academic administration in Latin America, Gene and his wife Deborah came to Wheaton, Illinois, where Gene teaches New Testament at Wheaton College. Deborah is a Nurse Midwife who works in women’s health. They have two daughters and two grandchildren.
Gene has been instrumental in Wheaton’s engagement with Native issues over the past decade, teaching courses, leading faculty seminars and organizing events on Indigenous studies. In addition, Genes serves as Co-chair for the United Methodist Committee on Native American Ministries and sits on the leadership circle of the only Native church in Chicago, the St. Kateri Center. The respect he has earned in Native North America has been nothing short of stellar.
More important to his appointment with NAIITS, Gene and Deb have been active in the NAIITS community for a number of years, supporting and advocating for its unique programs and goals. Both of them have become well-respected non-Indigenous members of the community, demonstrating their deep commitment to the well being of the Indigenous-led initiatives of NAIITS time and again.
Gene holds a PhD in New Testament from the University of Aberdeen and teaches with a passion for understanding Scripture in its varied contexts, both ancient and contemporary. With that in mind, he will be taking up his duties with an eagerness to assist the NAIITS community – faculty, staff, students, and our partners – not simply in terms of programs and overall numbers, but in terms of its uniqueness and effectiveness. In Gene’s words, “As dean I want to make sure that this non-Indigenous person remains as far in the background as I can be in order to ensure Indigenous peoples’ imprint on this vital work is always clear and prominent.
Kyle Taylor, Ed.D. (ABD) (Pawnee)
Areas of Specialization: Indigenous Leadership Studies, Decolonization and Education
Kyle Taylor, enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma is Director of Center for American Indians and Coordinator for American Indian Ministry Program at Bacone College. Kyle is an Assistant Professor at Bacone and holds a Masters degree in Leadership and will complete his Doctorate in Organizational Leadership and Development this year. Kyle's dissertation topic is the Influence of Traditional Paradigms of America Indian leadership at Native American Serving Non Tribal Institutions. Kyle's research interests are neuroscience of leadership, emotional intelligence, missional leadership and contextual theology. Kyle resides in Muskogee, OK with his wife Marcia, four sons, daughter in law and two grandsons.
Susangeline Patrick, Ph.D. (ABD) (Chinese/American)
Areas of Specialization: History of Christianity, Theology and the Arts, World Religions
Susangeline Patrick is a PhD candidate in Intercultural Studies. She has an MA in Intercultural Studies and an MA in Theological Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky. Her cross-cultural mission experiences are twelve years in Central Asia and in the United States, and the historical theologies of the visual arts on a global scale since 2012. She authored a few articles focused on mission history, theology, and art. She is also a prolific painter and vocalist who illustrated a recently published book, Born to Fly. She enjoys hiking and traveling adventures with family and friends.
David Skene, MA-INCD (Métis)
Areas of Specialization: Cultures and Change, Community Development
Dave Skene is Métis of Scottish, French, Menominee and Cree descent. Dave is married to Liz Becker and right now they make their home in Kitchener Ontario. Dave is the founding director of Global Youth Volunteer Network, an international organization working to educate and then mobilize young people towards making a positive impact in their world. Dave has led numerous teams of Canadian youth on international volunteer and educational projects. He has taught on justice and community development across Canada as well as internationally. Dave’s current focus in GYVN is on issues of Urban Indigenous food security, Indigenous agricultural practices, and land based education. Dave was a member of the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Canadian Leadership team from 1996-2016, and is now involved in a mentorship role with several YWAM Operating Locations in North America.
John Mcneill, Ph.D. (Scottish/Irish Canadian)
Areas of Specialization: Anthropology, Intercultural Studies, Education
John, a run-of-the-mill Caucasian Canadian (Scots, Irish, German, Norwegian and some suspected Metis roots) is the husband of Christel, born in Saxony, then East Germany. Their 47 year-long marriage has produced 4 adult daughters and 11 grandchildren. John studied across the spectrum of pure sciences, psychology, theology and pedagogy before landing in the realm of anthropology (with a Ph.D. from TIU in Chicago, 1995). He and Christel have worked and taught in a variety of missionary and some semi-communal settings across North America and Central and Eastern Europe, including in many regions of the Former Soviet Union.
Kimberlee Medicine Horn Jackson, M.A. (Yankton Sioux)
Areas of Specialization: Indigenous Research and Writing, Indigenous Studies
Kimberlee teaches English Composition I and II at Kent State University Geauga Campus in Burton, Ohio. She brings Native American history to the class room as a hidden layer in American history to open a discussion between the Native and white culture. She uses rhetorical writing strategies to help students understand the complexities of intercultural intersections. She serves as the Writing Consultant for the Writing Lab at both the Burton and Regional Academic Center in Twinsburg, Ohio.
Kimberlee also teaches English Composition I for Ashland University’s Prison Outreach Program and has taught at the local community college. These experiences enrich and inform her how to move fluidly among diverse populations and to encourage the more marginalized voices of our time to emerge.
Kimberlee’s poetry and essays are both in print and online publication. Recent editing credits include a Lenten Native American Devotional and a Christian fiction book.
Kimberlee studies and writes about the intersection between Native Americans and Christianity and how that informs our process of healing and restoration from historical traumas for both people groups involved.
Beth Wood, MSW (British Canadian/Mi’kmaq)
Areas of Specialization: Social Work, Trauma Informed Care, Community Development
After working in inner city contexts in Canada for a number of years, Beth spent 7 years mentoring and training in local-church based community development ministries. She developed Projeto Equipar which brought Brazilian professionals to Angola to provide training and discipleship activities. She has been the Lead of the Rwanda Vineyard Partnership and continues her involvement in community development activities in Canada, Brazil and Africa.