Courtesy National Center
The 2015 class of the Native American 40 Under 40

National Center Names 40 Emerging Leaders in Indian Country


Forty emerging leaders under the age of 40 in Indian country have been recognized by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) for their demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication and made significant contributions in business and/or in their community.

The 2016 "Native American 40 Under 40" award winners will be presented the National Center's 41st Annual Indian Progress in Business awards Gala (INPRO) being held at RES New Mexico, November 14-17, at the Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Tickets are $100 per plate or a table, or tables, of 10 can be purchased for $900. Register for the INPRO Gala here.

The award winners are:

Bryan Bainbridge, tribal chair of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians

Tamarah Begay, the founder of IDS+A, a Navajo (Dine'), woman-owned architectural firm

Bree Black Horse, a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklaohma and an associate in the Seattle office of the Native-owned law firm Galanda Broadman

Amanda Carlow, a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation and guidance counselor at Red Cloud Middle School as well as the head girls’ basketball coach

Jessica Cree Jock, environmental project coordinator at St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and executive director of the Akwesasne Boys and Girls Club

Nicole Ducheneaux, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal member and attorney for the Tribe

Danielle Ta'Sheena Finn, the first member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to win the title of Miss Indian World at the 33rd annual Gathering of Nations Powwow in Albuquerque in April 2016.

Sarai Geary, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, program manager for the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, and a  staff attorney for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reintegration Program

Ellen Harju, a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe

Sarah Harris, Mohegan, chief of staff, assistant secretary for the Burea of Indian Affairs, Department of Interior, in Washington, D.C.

Kathryn Isom-Clause, Taos Pueblo, associate commissioner seat on the National Indian Gaming Commission

Christina Jimerson, Seneca Nation of Indians, 2nd Vice President of the Native American Finance Officers Association (NAFOA) and a councillor for her tribe

Rojer Johnson, Muscogee (Creek) Nation member and tourism and recreation manager

Thomas Jones, a member of the Cherokee Nation / Naknek Village Council

Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton, a member of the Cherokee Nation and a freelance reporter based out of Tulsa, Okla., specializing in tribal affairs

Sara LaBarge, Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, academic advisor for the American Indian Graduate Center Scholars (Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar Program)

Kishan Lara-Cooper, Yurok Tribe, a childhood education professor at Humboldt State University

Kelsey Leonard, a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, represents her tribe as the tribal co-lead on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body of the U.S. National Ocean Council, and also serves on the Shinnecock Natural Resources

RELATED: Shinnecock Member Is First Native Woman to Graduate from England’s Oxford University

Cory Littlepage, an enrolled member of Chickasaw Nation, founded Tribal Diagnostics in October 2015. As the CEO, he is responsible for strategic growth and operations of the company. He has over 15 years of experience in the healthcare field.

Ben Mallott, Tlingit and Koyukon Athabascan, vice president of the Alaska Federation of Natives

Chad Marchand, a member of the Colville Confederated Tribes, serves as the project coordinator for the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions and Haury Native Nations Climate Adaptation Programs.

Nakina Mills, Oglala Lakota Nation, is the director of Advancement and Alumni Support at Red Cloud Indian School. She began working at Red Cloud Indian School in the fall of 2012, and is also an alumna, having graduated from Red Cloud in 1998. She was also a member of the Red Cloud Board of Directors prior to accepting her current position.

Rebecca Nagle, Cherokee Nation, co-director of the National Indian Women’s Resource Center, is a nationally recognized leader in the movement to end sexual and domestic violence and is the co-director and co-founder of Force: Upsetting Rape Culture and the Monument Quilt. The Monument Quilt is an on-going collection of stories from survivors of rape and abuse.

Mindy Natt, a member of the Yurok Tribe, serves on the Yurok Tribal Council, Pecwan District

Steven Peters, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, and an author at First Light Resort & Casino

Rhonda Pitka - Koyukon Athabascan and Inupiaq Eskimo, first chief of Beaver Tribal Council for the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments

Heather Pouliot VanZil, Forest County Potawatomi Community council member

Mary Jo Pratt, a member of Osage Nation, Delaware Tribe of Indians, Cherokee Nation, studied forensic accounting at Rogers State University to obtain her CPA.

Gordon Pullar, Jr., Tangirnaq Native Village, business associate at Koniag, Inc.

Princella RedCorn, Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, producer/director/researcher at Vision Maker Media

Cary Lee Rosenbaum II, Confederated Tribes Of The Colville Reservation, journalist and regular contributor to Indian Country Today Media Network

Linda Sacks - Cherokee Nation, journalist and author at Native News Online

Cheyenne Sanders, a Yurok Tribal member and recent graduate of Cornell University Law School who now serves as a lawyer for her tribe

Stephanie Sfiridis, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and Legal Extern to Tribal Gaming Authority for her tribe, Sfiridis graduated from the Arizona State University College of LawDoctor of Law (J.D.), Indian Legal Program in 2016.

Casey Sixkiller, a member of the Cherokee Nation, founded Sixkiller Consulting, which helps clients successfully navigate the intersection of policy, regulation, and politics in the nation’s capital and beyond.

Travis Thompson, Muscogee (Creek) Nation, director of compliance at River Spirit Casino

Bryan Warner, a member of the Cherokee Nation, works at Carl Albert State College in Sallisaw as a full-time science instructor

Nicole Willis, a member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, director of tribal relations for the City of Seattle and Bernie Sanders national tribal outreach director

RELATED: Sanders Hires Native American Staffer: Nicole Willis

Tanaya Winder is a poet, writer, artist and educator who was raised on the Southern Ute reservation in Ignacio, CO. An enrolled member of the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, her background includes Southern Ute, Pyramid Lake Paiute, Navajo, and Black heritages. Tanaya writes and teaches about different expressions of love (self love, intimate love, social love, community love, and universal love).

Natalie Youngbull, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, recently received her docorate from The University of Arizona

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