Ancestral Lands Staff
Ryan (he/him/his) comes from Zuni and Santo Domingo Pueblos of New Mexico. In 2016, he was hired as the Ancestral Lands (AL) Field Coordinator for Zuni Pueblo. Ryan started out with Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) in May 2015 as a summer intern based out of El Morro National Monument, NM. This was his first ever corps experience of any kind and quickly realized the magnitude of positive impact that SCC gives to the communities they serve. With the direct mentorship of SCC and El Morro’s Heritage Preservation Division, Ryan was able to convince Zuni’s Tribal Administration to start an AL program for its people. As an active member of the Zuni traditional lifestyle, he feels that it is personal responsibility to learn in every way, in order to pass that knowledge down.
Prior to joining SCC, he worked as an archeology laborer. He was raised into a traditional home, and gives credit to all his grandparents for teaching him his cultural identity. An outdoorsman by heart, in his spare time he loves hunting, fishing, hiking, bird watching, or just being outside. Truly believes he found his calling in Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps!
Aeon W. Albert (She/her/hers) is Nuvawungwa (snow clan) from the village of Shungopavi on the Hopi Reservation. She grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, until 2010, when her family moved home to the Hopi Reservation. After graduating from Hopi Jr/Sr High School, Aeon moved to Seattle, Washington. In 2018 she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. Aeon joined Ancestral Lands Hopi as the Assistant Crew Leader for one season after graduating from Seattle University. Before returning to Ancestral Lands, she worked as the Program Associate for the Hopi Opportunity Youth Initiative and the Administrative Assistant for Native Public Media. She serves Ancestral Lands as the Program Coordinator. In her free time, she enjoys photography, hanging out with her dog, and road trips to national parks
Glen Catlin Ami (he/him) was born in Silver Spring, Maryland. He spent his years as a toddler and young childhood exploring the Washington, D.C. Metro Area, and spending much of that time on the Georgetown University campus. He moved with his family in 1996 to Billings, MT, where most of his formative years were spent hiking, climbing and conversing with the nature, rimrocks and mountains surrounding the area. He spent much of this time traveling with his parents to his home reservation: Ft. Berthold, The Three Affiliated Tribes: Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara, located along the Little Missouri River called Lake Sakakawea. Among his other tribes are Hopi, Tewa, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Hunkpapa.
In 2006, G. Catlin moved to Rio Rancho, NM to begin high school where he was a part of the SciMatics academy at Rio Rancho High School. During this attendance, Catlin discovered a passion for science and mathematics, and was enrolled in the CNM Dual Credit Program in 2007-2009. He entered UNM as an engineering student in 2009 via the Summer Bridge Program, which featured the transition of Native, Hispanic and other minority groups to the UNM Engineering Program. Although he did not pursue engineering, he found an aptitude for Biology and Psychology. He assisted in experimentation in the UNM Psychology Clinical Neurosciences Center for Navigation in a Virtual experiment. He learned skills associated with Electroencephalography.
He graduated from the UNM Arts & Sciences Biology Department in 2017, with a primary study in Biology and a psychology minor. His field of study was Evolutionary Psychology, where he learned how the human mind evolved to its current state from a social, psychological and biological point of view. He spent years afterwards ranching at the Hopi Reservation and practicing his religion at Southern Cheyenne. In the Spring of 2021, G. Catlin was hired with Ancestral Lands as a Crew Leader for the Albuquerque office. He demonstrated his skills as a strong leader with hitches to Bear’s Ears, Grand Tetons, El Morro, and Aztec Ruins. He has entered the Program Coordinator position at the Albuquerque office.
Amber (she/her/hers) is Diné (Navajo) from To'hajiilee, NM. As cliché as it sounds, from a young age the outdoors has been calling her. She started her corps journey in 2017 when she joined Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. After completing her first season, she joined ALCC as an Assistant Crew Leader. From there, she led many crews for the Albuquerque office. Two notable crews were the HSED crews, where crew members worked on conservation projects while pursuing their high school equivalency degree. In 2022, she transitioned into a program coordinator.
In her free time she enjoys playing basketball, baking, gardening, road tripping, and working on unfinished hobbies.
Kevin Cooeyate (he/him/his) comes from the Pueblo of Zuni and represents the Sun and Child of Corn Clan. He first joined the AL movement back in 2016 as a crew member. Since the establishment of the AL Zuni office, he has dedicated his time and service towards the introduction and development of the Ancestral Lands operations in the Pueblo. With continued support, Kevin has worked his way up to fulfill the duties of a Crew Leader, Field Supervisor, Program Coordinator, and now humbly holds the position as a Program Manager.
Kevin is blessed to have the opportunity to welcome in hopeful participants to help better their path through the service work ALCC has to offer.
As a recovering alcoholic, he understands the many struggles community members may go through while trying to create a meaningful path to be proud of. All he would wish to ask for is a chance, a chance to create a positive impact for others.
On his spare time he enjoys Reading, Hunting/Hiking, Cooking, Music (you may catch him singing a sing or few on a good day), Photography, Farming, Learning to be a better Mentor, being the best relative as can be to Self and others.
Emerald Craig (she/her) joined Ancestral Lands Conservation Corp as the Director of Administration in March 2023. Emerald is Navajo and her clanship is Bit’ahnii (Folded Arms Clan) born for Hashk’anhadzohi (Yucca Fruit Clan). Her maternal grandmother is Dibe Lizhini (Black Sheep Clan) and her paternal grandparents are of the Ashiihi (Salt People Clan).
She received her B.A. from Colorado Christian University, attended the University of New Mexico and is currently working on her MLS at Arizona State University. Emerald is passionate about tangible sustainability through the intersection of natural resource, policy, economic impact, and Indigeneity. Emerald loves being home with her husband, four-year-old son, dog Butter and cat Betty. Emerald shares that she doesn’t know where her name came from, the ‘d’ is silent at the end of the name and May is not her birthstone.
Ticika (she/her/hers) is mixed Melanesian with her father being indigenous Fijian and her mother’s ancestry unknown due to her maternal grandparents being young orphans. In 2018 Ticika earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with a minor in Education and Social Justice from Western Washington University, which ultimately laid the groundwork for her passion and knowledge in environmental justice. Her first experience with the outdoor industry began as an AmeriCorps Education & Interpretation intern with Olympic National Park in 2019. Originally from Ancestral and Living Coast Salish, Stillaguamish, Sauk Suiattle, and Skagit lands in western Washington, Ticika moved to Pueblo, Ute, and Diné lands in SW Colorado to serve as a Community Volunteer Ambassador at Mesa Verde National Park in 2020. In 2021 she joined the Western Region of Conservation Legacy as an AmeriCorps VISTA to help programs in the area write and edit grants, aiding in applying for over $1.5 million to ensure that their amazing work could continue. In her free time she enjoys reading, hiking with friends, and spending time with her four dogs. Ticika is humbled and honored to be invited to join Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps in 2022 to continue as their Grants Writer and see their vision of “bringing our Nations to ecological and cultural well-being” to reality.
Kiana Etsate-Gashytewa (she/her) is from the Pueblo of Zuni and Hopi tribes. Her clans are Mula bitchi:kwe (Parrot) and child of Dona:kwe (Turkey).
Kiana was raised by her grandparents and family in Zuni. She draws and holds a profound value to the traditional Zuni cultural values and ecological knowledge of the land. Etsate-Gashytewa holds two Bachelor of Science degrees from Northern Arizona University in Applied Indigenous Studies and Political Science. Kiana’s previous experience varies working with youth of diverse backgrounds with the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project, NAU’s Office of Inclusion Multicultural LGBTQIA Student Services and NAU’s Upward Bound Math/Science.
Kiana is also an AmeriCorp alumna serving two terms in 2022 with ALCC’s Individual placement program. She served as the project coordinator on the Native Lands, National Trails project under the Partnership for the National Trails System. This project sought to bring awareness and to inspire meaningful engagement between Indigenous communities and various national trail organizations.
Etsate-Gashytewa now joins the ALCC Individual Placements team as a coordinator, where she is eager to provide support. Catch Kiana lifting heavy weights, cooking a good meal or spending time outside with the rez pups–Emmett Sweetie and Marlo.
Cody Fetty (They, Them, Theirs) Is originally from the lands known for respect existence or expect resistance. The great lands of Black Mesa/Big Mountain, AZ. They are stepping into 2022 as one of our Navajo Program Coordinators in the Gallup, NM office. Cody started their Conservation journey with AZZC. Their first corps experience was in 2019 with a Ancestral Lands crew working at the Grand Canyon installing and refurbishing cattle guard fence line. They enjoyed their experience with the corps network and returned for three more seasons. Throughout their work and time spent with AZCC, Cody gained multiple skills such as, chainsaw and fuels reduction while gaining leadership skills on the CLD program, constructing elk enclosure fencing to protect the AZ willow, trail maintenance and cultural preservation in various locations in their home state Arizona. After being denied a leadership position, Cody applied to Montana Conservation Corps in 2021. They packed up their life in Fern Nez (Jeep) and set out to be on a fire crew for their next season, but things didn’t go as planned. After being told they wouldn’t be able to take part in the program as a crew member, Cody was bumped up to a crew leader for the season. They co lead a crew and continued doing trails, gained carpentry skills and became familiar with Stihl chainsaw. After an amazing summer spent in Montana, Cody missed the Southwest and Navajo Land. They traveled back home and applied to the position they hold today. In their new role, they hope to reconnect with their community and past organizing life back home in Black Mesa, Big Mountain, AZ. In their teens and early twenties, Cody took part in community organizing. Friends and they would travel around BM and there, built relationships with elders and intergenerational homesites. They hope to make moves and mobilize crews out that way, so the existence of Indigenous youth is present and organically reestablishes the generational gap of Indigenous youth and elders.
Shonto Greyeyes (He, Him) Is Diné (Navajo) and comes from Northeastern Arizona from the communities of Flagstaff, and Shonto. He has been involved in Conservation Corps programs since 2012. Traveling the intermountain west for the better part of the last decade doing conservation work and group facilitation. Outside of his role as an Individual Placement Program Coordinator, Shonto instructs wilderness first aid courses (WFA, and WFR). He sees the important role programs (like ALCC) play in engaging communities that have difficulty accessing resources dedicated to conservation and land stewardship. He believes in providing valuable training opportunities to cultivate more confident individuals, that will inevitably inherit the lands we share. When not at work, you can find him honing new skills, and hobbies or outside enjoying nature with his dog Bella.
James Him (He/Him/His) first joined Southwest Conservation Corps in 2015 as an individual placement intern. He helped established the Zuni Ancestral Lands Office in 2016. He continued working as a crew leader, then a field supervisor position. In 2019 he transferred to Acoma Ancestral Lands office as a Prehistoric Preservation Field Coordinator/Field Supervisor. In 2020 he then transferred to the Albuquerque office as a Field Supervisor, later turned into a Field Coordinator and finally is the Logistic Coordinator.
Cecilia Huizar (she/her/they/them) is a Chicana and Caxcan descendant of Pueblo de Mascua, Jalisco, Mexico. She joined ALCC in March 2023 as an Administrative Specialist. In 2017, she graduated with an Animal Science B.S. from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She began working with wildlife conducting butterfly surveys, banding migratory waterfowl, and monitoring endangered shorebird and raptor species. While seed scouting for the first time in the dunes of the California Central Coast, Cecilia transitioned her focus to native plant restoration. From there on, she worked on restoration projects as a member and a crew lead in the states of NV and WA. Most recently, Cecilia was involved in the movement to protect Peehee Mu’huh, the sacred ancestral lands of the Paiute-Shoshone that are under threat due to a proposed lithium mine in Thacker Pass, NV. She supported People of the Red Mountain/ Atsa Koodakuh wyh Nuwu (Paiute-Shoshone) spread awareness of protecting sacred sites by the virtue of cultural-spiritual preservation and environmental protection. She keeps busy as an active member in intersectional communities rooted in mutual liberation of human and non-human kin. You will likely find her getting her hands deep in food sovereignty at the local community garden, foraging in the mountains somewhere, or taking a dip in the hot springs.
Marshall (he/him/his) is Paaqapwungwu (Reed) Clan from the village of Bacavi on the Hopi Reservation. Marshall started conservation work in 2007 with the Coconino Rural Environment Corps, moved to Southwest Conservation Corps, spent a season with Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, then settled with Ancestral Lands for the long haul.
He enjoys serving his community by providing opportunities through recreation and service. He enjoys long cold walks in canyons wearing a wetsuit and being bogged down with wet ropes.
James (he/him/his) comes from the Pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico. James had become interested in the conservation field after joining a New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps crew based in Zuni in 2015. Then in 2017 he joined AL Zuni office as a crew member, then each year after he progressed into new roles, such as assistant crew leader, crew leader, Field Supervisor for the Dine’ office, Historic Preservation Coordinator, and now 2023, Program Coordinator for the Zuni office.
Majority of James’s field experience has evolved around Historic Preservation, stabilizing ancestral structures throughout the southwest and he also has significant trail work experience. Restoration, erosion mitigation, and Invasive Species Removal are all knowledge James wants to transfer back into the Zuni community.
Chas (he/him/his) began with Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) in April 2012. He began as a Field Supervisor, then co-led a Disaster Relief Crew in New York in November 2012 after Hurricane Sandy. In January 2013, he began as Ancestral Lands Program Coordinator, working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Acoma Pueblo to support existing programs and bring new conservation opportunities to Tribal Lands in the Southwest. Chas became the SCC Four Corners Program Director in January 2014 and the Ancestral Lands Program Director in 2015.
Before joining SCC, Chas spent 3 ½ years with the Student Conservation Association’s (SCA) Desert Restoration Corps, working to restore and protect desert ecosystems in the Mojave Desert. He worked in Mount Rainier National Park with the SCA and led high school crews throughout Colorado with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. When not working, Chas can be found climbing in the mountains or desert, canyoneering in Red Rock country, or falling off his bike on beginner mountain bike trails.
My name is Josh Sidney and I will be serving as the program coordinator for Ancestral Lands Hopi office. My clan is Bear and I come from the village of Shungopavi on Second Mesa.
I grew up mostly a rez kid on the Hopi reservation. I attended elementary on the reservation except for one year when I went to school in Flagstaff, AZ as at that time my mom was near completing her degree in elementary education. I also attended our local high school Hopi Jr./Sr. High School and last year in May 2022 I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in forestry from Northern Arizona University.
During my summers in college, I volunteered with Coconino National Forest as a resource assistant and after graduating worked with BIA Forestry at Fort Apache in Whiteriver, AZ until coming here to Ancestral Lands. I came to Ancestral Lands in hopes of filling a part of me that wants to give back to our community and guide our youth so that they can grow and prosper. I look forward to meeting and working with everyone who is a part of Conservation Legacy.
Some of the things I enjoy doing are long distance running, hiking with friends, photography, watching The Office, dry farming and participating in our Hopi culture.
Red Thunder is an enrolled Northern Arapaho, Hiinono’ei and Oglala Lakota from the Wind River Indian Reservation and Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He has spent the past 6 year as an Intern, AmeriCorps VISTA, Crew Leader, Tribal Liaison, Field coordinator, Field supervisor, and Program Coordinator. Where he has worked for Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC), Wind River Native Advocacy Center (WRNAC), Montana Conservation Corps (MCC), Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC) at Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, Grand Canyon National Parks and the Battle of Little Bighorn National Monument. Through his Ancestral Lands VISTA program, he was hired as a Field Coordinator with the Montana Conservation Corps (MCC). At MCC he led tribal conservation crews in surrounding states, National Parks, and National Forests. Prior to his conservation work, he served as a mentor for the ESCAPE mentorship and Juvenile Services program on the Wind River Indian Reservation. As well with WRNAC, Help push the Native American Education House bill 76 through the State of Wyoming Legislation. He is a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) alumnus, completing 5 courses and expiditions. Red Thunder studies are in outdoor education and leadership, with a key focus in mountain environmental sciences at Central Wyoming College. Through NOLS, Central Wyoming College, and University of Wyoming, Red Thunder was selected to be a part of the Tanzania Scientific Research (TSR) Expedition. During the TSR expedition, the team Summit Mount Kilimanjaro. Earning him the distinction of the first to summit from Wind River Indian Reservation and Northern Arapaho Tribal Nation. Red Thunder also serves as an advisory board member for the Wind River Foundation. Red Thunder started as an Ancestral Lands Individual Placement Intern at Grand Teton National Park Service in June 2015. Red thunder enjoys powwows, hunting, camping, hiking, fishing, Kayaking and Sky diving.
Kyle (he/him/his) began working with Conservation Legacy as a crew member with Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC) in the summer of 2014. Since then, he's worked in various capacities within the organization as Crew Supervisor, Program Coordinator, and Program Manager of AZCC’s White Mountains office. In the fall of 2019, Kyle moved to Albuquerque to assume the role of Program Director with Ancestral Lands, then Associate Director in 2021.
In his spare time, he enjoys writing, playing guitar, and internally debating on whether the overwhelming emphasis of sabermetrics is healthy for the game of baseball.
Arden (he/him/his) is from the Pueblo of Zuni. Since his introduction to conservation work circa 2015 as a Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crew member helping to build trails around Zuni. That summer became the spark that ignited his purpose of caretaking the land and connecting with people. Upon hearing about the newly established Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps (ALCC)- Zuni in the following year. He took a chance and applied to AL-Zuni office as a member of some the first roving crews there. As years passed, Arden would eagerly step into his trusty boots to help lead crews, working primarily around the Southwest conducting Saw work, Trail work, Historic Preservation and much more.
Since taking the left turn at Albuquerque after completing a rewarding season there, he has since found his way back home in Zuni. In his current role, Arden is incredibly blessed and appreciative to join the AL staff as the program’s Communications Coordinator. He now strives to represent and honor the amazing collective work of the program by storytelling through various mediums. His goals have now grown to the document the successes and challenges of this field while being inclusive and welcoming to all. He hopes his continued contributions can inspire those in and out of the program. When not pursuing new creative projects, Arden always enjoys catching a live show of his favorite bands or can be found hanging out with his family.