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
Hello, my name is Kevin Ashley. I am the Ancestral Lands Program Coordinator out of the Navajo Office. I am originally from Cross Canyon, Arizona. I graduated high school in 2009 from Gallup High School. After high school I joined the military and served 4 years. I was honorably discharged in 2013.
Up until 2018 I started working for Southwest Conservation Corps-Ancestral Lands as a Navajo Crew member. I served a season on a back country chainsaw crew. There I learned how to formally operate a chainsaw and conduct invasive species removal and treatment. I did this up until completion of my term.
After the off season, I returned to SCC-AL for another season as Veterans Fire Corps crew leader. Here I sharpened my skills on chainsaw operations, herbicide application, GIS mapping and recording. I also developed my leadership skills on a managing conservation projects. I successfully lead a crew for an entire season. Upon completion and returning for another season, I applied for the Program Coordinator.
Present day, I am found developing my managing skill, broadening my knowledge on conservation type projects through my present role as program coordinator.
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.
Aaron Lowden (he/him/his), Ancestral Lands Acoma Program Manager, is from the Pueblo of Acoma and has been leading the program in his Pueblo since 2011. Prior to working with Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps he was a National Park Service Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program Fellow leading work on trail feasibility studies with the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail and the Zuni Mountain Trails Partnership.
Aaron first came on board Ancestral Lands developing and initiating programs such as the Acoma Hiking Club where he led excursion with local youth to reconnect them to ancestral homelands through recreation and teaching Acoma stories and land-based knowledge.
He is also a traditional farmer, land-based skills instructor, seed caretaker, and has been leading efforts in Acoma Pueblo to restore the traditional food systems of the community. In other program models such as the Acoma Farm Corps, Aaron teaches local youth preparation and design; dryland, irrigated, and drip irrigation techniques; seed selection, saving, and banking; and traditional food preparation.
Robert (Rob, he/him/his) is the Logistics Manager for the Ancestral Lands Program . He is a member of the Isleta Pueblo Tribe. He graduated from New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, NM in 2016 with his B.S in Forestry with a concentration in Wildland Fire. This will be his fifth year with Ancestral Lands. Rob enjoys working with Indigenous youth to complete meaningful conservation projects throughout the Southwest and strives to ensure this program will be around for generations to come. “ma’m wahwea e beh kum” Life and the spirits within are precious. - Isleta Tewa language
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.
Shandiin (she/her/hers) originally joined Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) in 2013 out of the Durango office, followed by two more seasons, ending in 2015 leading a trail crew. She moved to Washington to work with Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, leading a professional trail crew in the Cascade Mountains. While working for SCC (by way of CFI collaborations) and Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, she gained valuable skills in stonework that translated into her next endeavor. Shandiin began working for a local landscaping company, in Durango, CO, that specialized in dry stone masonry. While working in the private sector she felt a lack of indigenous community and involvement. So, she became a work skills instructor for the Student Conservation Association and plotted her next move.
Time and time again, the sacred geography of Dinetah called her back to the stronghold, ultimately leading her to the Diné Program Coordinator, then Program Manager, and now Associate Director position in Ancestral Lands Navajo office. She can be found looking for stones to chisel and place, propagating plants or hiking around McGaffey.
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.
Rosie Thunderchief (she/her/they) originally Grayson/Shawnee, Patricia Chamisa Rose a.k.a. “Rosie” (and sometimes “P.rose”) is a five-fingered Earth-surface person, ceremonial practitioner, community educator, and mommy-Heart. Born Diné (Navajo); born for Pawnee, Cheyenne & Arapaho; adopted Ho-Chunk and raised Lakota strong. Rosie lives, works, plays, prays and learns between the Mountains, Rivers and wide-open Skies of Tiwa, Piru, Genizaro, Xicano, Diné, and Lakota territories. This multi-cultural upbringing cultivates a deep reverence for Mother Earth, Father Sky and the Circle Way of Life.
Before joining Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps Albuquerque office as Administrative Manager in March 2021, Rosie served as AmeriCorps VISTA at La Plazita Institute in March 2012-2013 and volunteered in Loving Service with Native Health Initiative 2014-2015. In December 2018, Rosie graduated from University of New Mexico with a B.A. in Native American Studies (concentration: Leadership and Building Native Nations) and Psychology. In 2019 Rosie joined Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge as AmeriCorps Tribal VISTA in partnership with Conservation Legacy through Stewards and Southwest Conservation Corps – Ancestral Lands program.
When not working, Rosie can be found with her daughter Emerson, singing, playing, painting, rock hunting, adventuring, and raising the next generation of Indigenous matriarchs. A’He/A’Ho!
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.
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.
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.
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.