Cohort 12 Rebuilders Announced

We’re celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2021 by welcoming 16 Indigenous changemakers to the Native Nation Rebuilders program. The 16 Native leaders selected for Cohort 12 represent 10 Native nations located in Mni Sota Makoce, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Native Nation Rebuilders are emerging Indigenous leaders who are passionate about strengthening their nations. The two-year Rebuilders program helps them build leadership skills and Tribal governance knowledge. During year one, Rebuilders come together for structured learning sessions. The sessions feature facilitators and content experts from across Indian Country who are skilled in nation rebuilding and Indigenous facilitation strategies, among other topics. Rebuilders complete a “community action plan” during year two, which challenges them to implement a project that positively impacts their community. 

With the selection of the most recent cohort, Rebuilders now represent 22 of the 23 Native nations located in the three-state region. Cohort 12 trends younger than our previous cohorts: the average age of participants is 36. Cohort members have backgrounds in Tribal-state relations, health, entrepreneurship, youth development, housing, and research and policy. Native Governance Center Rebuilders Program Manager Pearl Walker-Swaney explains, “This cohort is passionate about building healthy Indigenous communities. Their potential to positively impact their nations is inspiring!” 

Native Governance Center (NGC) is launching a brand new curriculum for Cohort 12. NGC staff developed the curriculum based on feedback received from previous Rebuilders, a 10-year evaluation of the program, and organizational values. The curriculum features updated and regionally-focused case studies, new Indigenous health and wealth modules, virtual and experiential learning opportunities, and cultural match activities. 

The Cohort 12 Rebuilders’ names and Native nation affiliations are below. The next round of applications for the thirteenth cohort of Rebuilders will be announced in the summer of 2023.

Cohort 12 Rebuilders

  • Robert Blake, Red Lake Nation
  • Taneesha Dupree, Bois Forte Band of Chippewa 
  • Kathryn Eagle-Williams, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation
  • Leonard Geshick, Bois Forte Band of Chippewa 
  • Shannon Geshick, Bois Forte Band of Chippewa
  • Alexandera Houchin, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
  • Jennifer Irving, Oglala Sioux Tribe
  • Rita Karppinen, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa
  • Lexi Keckler, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
  • Marlon Kelly, Oglala Sioux Tribe
  • Brook Lafloe, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians
  • Jacob McArthur, White Earth Nation 
  • Wicahpi Means, Oglala Sioux Tribe
  • Fawn Packineau, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation 
  • Cassandra Palmier, Oglala Sioux Tribe
  • Sylvia Roy, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe
  • Ann Valandra, Rosebud Sioux Tribe
  • Diedre Whiteman, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation