Judith Le Blanc (Caddo): Judith is a citizen of the Caddo Tribe of Oklahoma and director of the Native Organizers Alliance (NOA), a national Native training and organizing network. In the last 10 years, NOA has built relationships with tribes, traditional societies and grassroots community groups in Native communities and on reservations through Native community organizing training, strategic campaign planning and support.
At the core of our work is the belief that organizing a grassroots, ecosystem of Native leaders and organizers who share a common theory of change rooted in traditional values and sacred practices is the critical foundation to achieve tribal sovereignty and racial equity for all. We practice, as we say in Indian Country, being “a good relative.” Based on this principle, we pursue a spiritually directed organizing strategy rooted in total awareness of the environment, past, and future, and acting in harmony with all in the natural world and humanity, in the present.
She is honored to serve on the board of IllumiNative, and as chair of the board of NDN. She was a 2019 Roddenberry Fellow. She is a Grandma and lives in Harlem, NY with her partner. Her guilty passion is trashy TV!
Sarah Konwahahawi Rourke (Akwesasne Mohawk Nation): Sarah Konwahahawi Rourke is the Deputy Director of the Native Organizers Alliance. She is from the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation and belongs to the Deer Clan from the Herne & Laffin Families. She is the wife of Atohnwa and the mother of Teieweratenies.
Konwahahawi strives to set a good path for the future generations. Konwahahawi had an active role in supporting families and survivors in speaking their truth against systemic violence for the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls & Two Spirit. Konwahahawi was the manager of the Native North American Travelling College focusing on cultural revitalization, education, and dispelling stereotypes of Onkwehonwe. Konwahahawi has attended the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues for 2013-2014 with the Native Youth Sexual Health Network to present on Sexual Health, Environmental Violence, and Policing Injustice. Konwahahawi earned BA in Anthropology/Sociology from Wells College (2003) and her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from St. Lawrence University (2017).
Konwahahawi has always been involved in grassroots organizing, event coordination, cultural awareness, and grant writing. She has provided mentorship to the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus and is an advocate for LGBTQ as she promotes safe spaces for our youth and community. She also has worked in harm reduction and decolonizing sex education. Konwahahawi is currently enrolled at St. John Fisher College Doctoral Program in Executive Leadership in Social Justice Program.
Robert Chanate (Kiowa Nation): Robert is NOA Training Coordinator and has supported Indigenous Peoples efforts at their request for most of his adult life. At times his roles have changed but over the last 20 years he has been asked to serve in a trainer, organizer and facilitator role. Robert has worked with Indigenous grassroots groups, traditional native societies, tribal governments, and various native led non profits in the U.S and Canada. He’s also worked with People of Color and White ally led organizations in the areas of environmental, racial and social justice through the years. Robert feels its an honor to work for the Native Organizers Alliance.
Shelley Means (White Earth Ojibwe/Lakota): Shelley is an NOA Trainer & Projects Coordinator. She is a mother and indigenous-community consultant, facilitator and volunteer who lives with her family in the traditional territories of the S’Homamish (Puyallup) people, in Washington State.
Shelley’s current work includes coordinator for Native Voices Rising, a re-granting partnership between Native Americans in Philanthropy and Common Counsel Foundation; Co-Coordinator of the Native American Women’s Dialog on Infant Mortality (NAWDIM); Talking Circle Facilitator for NAWDIM’s cradleboard classes; and, she currently serves on the Board of Directors for Seattle Indian Health Board
Social and racial justice have always been central to Shelley’s work. Past organizing experience includes the Snoqualmie Falls Preservation Project, Community Coalition for Environmental Justice, and the Coalition to End Urban Indigenous Homelessness.
Nicole Anangoons Smith (Ojibwe): Nicole Smith joins the Native Organizers Alliance as the Administration and Special Projects Coordinator. Nicole is an enrolled member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior, where she resides with her children. Nicole provides administration support to the entire NOA staff. She was also the Natives Vote 2020 National Voter Engagement Coordinator.
Before coming to NOA, Nicole worked in her community organizing cultural events for tribal youth. She has also worked as the Communications Director for Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe and the Bad River Tribe. She holds a bachelor degree in Business/Communications from the University of Wisconsin and this spring will earn her Masters in Tribal Administration and Governance from University of Minnesota/Duluth.
In Nicole’s spare time, she enjoys traveling to Powwows all over Indian Country with her children and participating in marathons blazing the trails in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Crystal Cavalier (Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation): Crystal Cavalier joins the Native Organizers Alliance as the National Level Organizer. Crystal is the Chair of the Environmental Justice Committee for the NAACP, a board member of the Haw River Assembly, and a member of the 2020 Fall Cohort of the Sierra Club’s Gender Equity and Environment Program, and Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA) Accelerator for Grassroots Women Environmental Leaders. Crystal is currently working on her Doctorate at the University of Dayton and dissertation on Social Justice of Missing Murdered Indigenous Women and Gas/Oil Pipelines in frontline communities. Crystal is also an expert in her field of Strategic Intelligence, Political Campaigns, And Public Administration. She has conducted training along and around the East Coast on Coordinated Tribal/Community Response for emergency management, through natural, cyber, or man-made disasters.
Mandy Yeahpau (Comanche / Cherokee / Tarahumara): Mandy is a Communications Coordinator specializing in Social Media and Digital Marketing for NOA. Mandy is from and currently living on the traditional lands of the Takelma and Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians in Southern Oregon. Mandy’s background is in Journalism, Photography and Filmmaking. She has used these skills in activism and organizing since leaving the profession of journalism and moving into working in social justice movements.
Mandy is passionate about working to build power in Native communities and advocating for respectful and accurate representation. When she’s not working she enjoys being outdoors, camping, exploring, hiking and rafting with her husband and son.