Dr. Charlotte Coté grew up in her close-knit community of Tseshaht/Nuu-chah-nulth on Vancouver Island. Driven by both her passion to learn and the desire to share her cultural knowledge with others, Dr. Coté was attracted to a career in education, completing her PhD at UC Berkeley and then moving to Seattle in 2001 for a job at the University of Washington where she is currently associate professor in the Department of American Indian Studies. While at UW Dr. Coté made it a mission to work with others to create a space on campus that would recognize, respect, and honor Indigenous cultural and intellectual traditions and pay homage to Coast Salish architecture. In 2015, their dream was realized and UW opened the doors to the wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Intellectual House, a space that has become a hub of activity and a welcoming place for Native students and others to come together in a spirit of sharing, cooperation, and respectful engagement.
Dr. Coté is the author of “Spirits of Our Whaling Ancestors,” a book that examines issues around Indigenous self-determination, eco-colonialism, and food sovereignty. She has been striving to create awareness around Indigenous health and wellness issues and is currently writing a book that focuses on revitalizing traditional foods systems and honoring ancestral ecological knowledge.
Since 2007, Dr. Coté has been serving on the Potlatch Fund board and for the last three years she has served as president. Serving on this board has been one of her most rewarding and enjoyable experiences, working with passionate board members and staff, who are committed to fulfilling the organization’s mission to inspire and build upon the coastal tradition of giving, and to support and empower Native peoples and communities in the Northwest. Dr. Coté grew up in the potlatch culture, and to give, share, and strengthen community is at the core of her Indigeneity, and what has made her a strong and proud Tseshaht woman.
Meredith Parker, Vice President
Meredith is President of Ozett Associates LLC, a Makah Indian, Woman-owned , cultural, natural resources and management consulting company specializing in tribal affairs, since 2007. Her executive and policy-level management experience has spanned 30+ years serving: as General Manager overseeing all departments, programs, projects and business enterprises of the Makah Tribe; providing overall policy direction as a member of the Makah Tribal Council; and overseeing a successful forest-land management and log marketing operations as Chief Executive Officer of the Makah Forestry Enterprise. She is active in her community and the Olympic Peninsula and serves as President to the Makah Cultural and Research Center Board of Trustees, founding President of the Neah Bay Chamber of Commerce and has participated on numerous for and not-for-profit boards of directors regionally and nationally. She has provided consultation during cultural exchanges and as a delegate of the US on various international excursions focusing on living cultures in modern society and ancestral links to the natural environment. Meredith is an avid photographer and has exhibited her work locally, regionally and internationally. She participates regularly in family and tribal singing, dancing and ensuring the traditional culture is a relevant part of everyday life. She is the mother of two fine sons and has been blessed with two handsome grandsons and one beautiful granddaughter. She makes her home in Neah Bay.
Antone Minthorn, Secretary
Antone serves on the boards of the Northwest Area Foundation and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation. He has been actively involved in salmon issues and watershed restoration and is a nationally recognized leader on economic development and tribal sovereignty issues in Indian Country.
Douglas Coleman, CPA, Treasurer
Biography coming soon.
Susan Balbas, Compliance Officer
Cherokee / Yaqui
Susan Balbas is the co-founder and Executive Director of Na’ah Illahee Fund, a Native-led nonprofit organization advancing sustainable Indigenous cultures through innovative programming, grantmaking and events production in the Pacific Northwest. As a consultant, Susan has provided technical assistance including development/fundraising, marketing, strategic planning and event production to tribes, artists and nonprofit organizations throughout the country. She was recently a technical assistance specialist in strategic planning, program design, evaluation, sustainability, marketing, communications for tribal youth programs for Education Development Center, Inc., an international nonprofit organization based out of Boston. Susan holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (Economics) and a Master of Science in Teaching (Education and Native American History). She has held several corporate management positions, as well as Chief Development Officer at United Indians of All Tribes Foundation in Seattle; Development and Donor Education Coordinator at Changemakers Foundation in San Francisco; Executive Director at the Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland; and Outreach Director at Western Water Alliance in Seattle. Susan is active within the philanthropic sector and has served on boards and committees locally, nationally and internationally.
Celilo / Yakama
Amber Schulz-Oliver is an American Indian Oregonian with established firm roots in Portland. Embracing a liberal arts education, she graduated from Oberlin College and soon after joined the Peace Corps. Upon her return, she landed an internship with a Native American owned Engineering firm (Akana) where she worked in various capacities (most recently as a project manager) for nine years. As a project manager, she managed projects in and for the benefit of Indian Country. In September 2013, she earned an MBA from Willamette University, and graduated with honors. In 2015, she began working for the non-profit organization, Ecotrust, where she learned about the economic development needs, goals, and priorities of ATNI member tribes, and evaluated the feasibility of a fellowship model to meet some of those goals.
In her current capacity as Executive Director of Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation, she is dedicated to assisting ATNI Member fulfill their economic development goals and priorities. The corporation is in the process of advancing their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), which will form the base of ATNI-EDC, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), and provides loans to Native American entrepreneurs that may not otherwise be able to obtain financing.
Amber is committed to environmental stewardship, sustainability, and service to her community. In her off time, she enjoys trying new Portland restaurants, frequenting the theater, traveling internationally, and scaling small mountains. She keeps her eyes open to opportunities: by seizing opportunities, the world will open adventures and experiences beyond what one could imagine for oneself.
Brian Myers directs the Empire Health Foundation's Rural Aging Services Program, which is aimed at supporting seniors to remain healthy and independent in their homes or communities of choice. He also oversees the design and implementation of the Capacity Building Program, helping bring over $210 million of outside funding to Eastern Washington and catalyzing partnerships to address social determinants of health. Brian earned his B.A. from San Francisco State University. His past experience includes education and nonprofits. Prior to moving to Spokane, he was with TechSoup, a nonprofit social enterprise that increases capacity of other nonprofits. He is an avid ultra-marathon runner, often competing in mountain trail races of 100 miles and longer.
Assiniboine / Blackfeet
Dustin Monroe is the founder and CEO of Native Generational Change a grassroots organization that is working to change intergenerational mobility for all Native Americans in all communities in Montana. For 13 years he has worked in the nonprofit realm in various capacities, always with a focus on helping underserved populations. He has worked for national nonprofits such as the Wounded Warrior Project and grassroots projects such as the Chief Mountain Coalition. He served as the Executive Director for Montana United Indian Association and as the Outreach Coordinator for the Wounded Warrior Brigade in Washington, DC at Walter Reed Army Hospital. In his previous job with Native American Development Corporation, Dustin worked on all seven reservations in Montana promoting economic development and job creation. Dustin, also worked as the Executive Director for Western Native Voice in the 2012 State and Federal Elections ensuring a record number of registrations and turnout of Native Americans in Montana, which swung some important national races for the US Senate. Dustin Monroe is a member of the Assiniboine tribe of Fort Belknap & Blackfeet Tribe of Montana. Dustin is the proud father of Isaiah and Tatum Monroe. He also served over 8 years’ active duty in the US Army with multiple combat deployments. Academically, Dustin has a Business degree with an emphasis in Management from the University of Montana and a Masters in Public Administration. Currently, Dustin is working on his Masters in Data Analytics at the University of Montana while working full-time.
Jim has served more than 100 Tribes, Nations and Alaska Native Corporations since 1971, when he opened the first American Indian consulting firm in Washington D.C. He is widely known for his involvement in the restoration of lands to the Tribes. Jim was PR Director and Board Member of the Alaska Federation of Natives when it championed and won the Alaska Native Land Claims Settlement Act of 1971. He is currently the chairman of the TANF Committee of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI).
Gros Ventre / Little Shell
Jordann Lankford was born in Great Falls, Montana. Her tribal affiliation is A’aniiih (Gros Ventre) and Little Shell.
She graduated from the University of Montana with degrees in Native American Studies and a teaching certificate in Broad Field Social Studies. After teaching for three years, she worked for the Office of Public Instruction of Montana. She is currently working in Great Falls Montana as the American Indian Academic Achievement Coach were she focuses on Youth Development, increasing the graduation rates, and lowering the dropout rates for American Indian Students. She is the advisor for her local interTribal Strong group which is a student lead volunteer group. She also run an alternative education program for American Indian Students in Great Falls.
renée holt, PhD.
Diné / NiMiiPuu
renee holt is Diné from the With the Rock clan and an enrolled member of NiMiiPuu Nation. A doctoral candidate at Washington State University, she is enrolled in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Cultural Studies and Social Thought in Education program, with a research focus in decolonization through culturally responsive pedagogies. While at WSU, she works with the Clearinghouse on Native Teaching & Learning and the Center for Mestizo and Indigenous Research and Engagement.