Grayson B. Noley


A member of the Choctaw Nation, Grayson was born and raised in eastern Oklahoma, where he graduated from Wilburton High School. Following an honorable discharge from the Army, Grayson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Southeastern Oklahoma State College. He earned the Master of Education and the Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Educational Administration at the Pennsylvania State University.

Currently, Grayson is Academic Chair and Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Oklahoma. In addition to being Project Director for American Leadership in School Administration, he also headed the Oklahoma Native Education Network. In addition to serving on the AIGC Board of Directors, he also serves as President of the Midwest History of Education Society and is Chair of the governing board for National Native American Families Together.

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Melanie Patten Fritzsche

(Laguna Pueblo)

Melanie is a Staff Attorney with American Indian Law Center.

Prior to her current position Melanie practiced law in the areas of water law, federal Indian law and administrative law, and has both public and private practice experience. She was in private practice with a firm specializing in water law. She was an Assistant Attorney General for the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office in the Civil Division and an Attorney-Advisor for the Solicitor’s Office of the Department of the Interior Southwest Regional Office. Melanie served as a judicial law clerk for The Honorable Celia Foy Castillo of the New Mexico Court of Appeals. She also was a law clerk for the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico. Melanie continues to practice law on a contract basis.

Melanie received her B.A. in History/Government from Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado and her J.D., with a Certificate in Indian Law and Natural Resources, from the University of New Mexico School of Law.

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Rose Graham

522011164025751Secretary ~ Treasurer

Rose Graham is the Director of the Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship and Financial Assistance (ONNSFA) in Window Rock, Arizona. ONNSFA is one of 12 programs under the Department of Dine Education, the Navajo Nation’s education regulatory agency. ONNSFA serves more than 10,000 Navajo students pursuing postsecondary education. It is largely funded by a P.L. 93-638 contract with the BIA/DOI. Approximately 35 percent of its funds come from the Navajo Nation, corporate and private donations.

Prior to her work with ONNSFA, Rose worked with the Navajo Nation Council for 9 years as Legislative Services Director, Legislative Advisor and Interpreter during Council sessions.

Rose was appointed to serve on the Board of the American Indian Graduate Center because of her significant experience and dedication to education issues. Accepting the appoinment, she said, “I believe our young people will inherit a society, environment and world that will be increasingly and wonderfully challenging, competitive and complex. To meet the challenges of this future society, our young people need higher education. I am honored to be appointed to this distinguished board and I will strive to help AIGC with its mission to prepare our young Native people for this future.”

Rose received a B.A. in Humanitites from Fort Lewis College. She is also a Certified Navajo Court Interpreter.

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Michael E. Bird, MSW, MPH

(KEWA and ohkay owingeh pueblos)

Mr. Bird is a Kewa and Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo Indian from New Mexico. Mr. Bird has over 25 years of public health experience in the areas of medical social work, substance abuse prevention, health promotion and disease prevention, HIV/AIDS prevention, behavioral health, and health care administration.

Mr. Bird most recently served as the Director of Region 6 for Native Americans with ValueOptions-New Mexico (VONM), a national for-profit behavioral health company. From 2001 to 2005, he served as Executive Director of the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center (NNAAPC). At NNAAPC, he increased and strengthened the provision of technical assistance in HIV prevention programs for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities.

For 20 years, Mr. Bird was with the United States Public Health Service (USPHS), Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to leaving IHS, Mr. Bird was the Director of Preventive Health Programs for the Santa Fe Service Unit and the Albuquerque Area office. He also served with the Office of Tribal Activities and Office of Planning and Evaluation.

Mr. Bird was President of the American Public Health Association from 2000 to 2001. He is the first American Indian, and social worker, to serve as President in APHA’s history. He is also Past President of the New Mexico Public Health Association, and was a fellow in the USPHS Primary Care Policy Fellowship.

He has also been involved in numerous health disparities projects and programs on a local, tribal, national and international level. Most recently, he was named to serve on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Urban Indian Health Commission.

Mr. Bird earned his Master’s in Social Work (MSW) degree from the University of Utah, and Master’s in Public Health (MPH) at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Joel Frank

Joel Frank_webMember
(Seminole Tribe of Florida)

Joel Frank has dedicated his career to further economic prosperity and ensure the protection of stable government for American Indians. as a national figure in American Indian affairs, Mr. Frank has earned a reputation for integrity and accomplishment, as an advocate and spokesman for indigenous people around the world. Joel was one of the first American Indians to attend college, at both Dade Community College and St. Thomas University. Mr. Frank is the Big Cyprus Representative and serves on the Board of Directors for the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

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Danna R. Jackson, Esq.

(Confederated Tribes of Salish & Kootenai)

Danna Jackson received her J.D. from the University of Montana in 1996, and is a member of the bar in both Montana and Washington, DC.

Ms. Jackson is the Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Montana. She also serves as a Visiting Professor to the University of Montana Indian Law Summer Program teaching Indian Gaming, Contemporary Issues in Indian Policy and Indian Education Law.

Prior to Danna’s employment with her current firm, she served as Legislative Assistant to Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) and advised the Senator on all legislative issues relevant to the Indian Affairs and Judiciary committees. She also drafted legislation, Congressional Record Statements and oversaw the appropriations process for all tribal appropriation projects.

In the past, Danna has also worked with the National Indian Gaming Commission, serving as advisor/attorney to the Commission regarding all Indian gaming issues.

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Walter Lamar

Walt Lamar_webMember
(Blackfeet Nation of Montana)

Walter Lamar is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Lamar Associates, a professional services firm specializing in risk management, law enforcement training, drug/gang awareness and community policing, with a special focus on Indian Country. Prior to retiring and opening his own firm, Mr. Lamar spent twenty-five years in the law enforcement field, as a Special Agent for the FBI, Deputy Director of the BIA Office of Law Enforcement and Senior Advisor to the Department of Interior’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security. Walter is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana and a descendant of the Wichita Tribe of Oklahoma.

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Stacy Leeds

Stacy LeedsMember

Stacy Leeds has served as dean and professor of law at the University of Arkansas School of Law since 2001.

Dean Leeds came to Arkansas from the University of Kansas where she served as Interim Associate Dean, Professor of Law and Director of the Tribal Law and Government Center. While at KU, she received the annual teacher of the year recognition, the Howard M. and Susan Immel Award for Teaching Excellence. Prior to that, she taught at the University of North Dakota where she served as the Director of the Northern Plains Indian Law Center. She began her career in higher education at the University of Wisconsin where she was a William H. Hastie Fellow.

Among her many honors, Leeds is a 2013 recipient of the American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Award, an elected member of the American Law Institute, and a former Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellow with a 2008-2009 affiliation to the W.E.B. DuBois Institute at Harvard University.

Dean Leeds has a strong record of public service. From 2011-2013, she served on National Commission on Indian Trust Administration and Reform. The Commission conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the Department’s management and administration of nearly $4 billion in American Indian trust assets and published recommendations for systematic reform. She is currently serving a three-year term as Chairperson of the Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission. In addition to being a former Justice on the Cherokee Nation Supreme Court, Leeds has served as judge for seven Indigenous nations and was the inaugural recipient of the National American Indian Court Judges Association’s Annual Outstanding Service Award. She is frequently tapped to serve as a mediator or arbitrator to resolve conflicts in government and higher education sectors.

At Arkansas, she teaches Property and American Indian Law and contributes to projects of the Indigenous Food and Agricultural Initiative.

As a scholar, she has published more than twenty articles, essays and book chapters including the new book Mastering American Indian Law, with Professor Angelique Townsend EagleWoman.

She received her master of laws degree from the University of Wisconsin, her juris doctor from the University of Tulsa, her master of business administration from the University of Tennessee and her bachelor of arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

Leeds, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, is currently the only American Indian law school dean.

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