The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition
Our Mission: To pursue truth, healing, and reconciliation to address ongoing intergenerational trauma from the U.S. Indian Boarding School policy and to support community-led healing.
How We Started
The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) was incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit in June 2012 under the laws of the Navajo Nation.
We were formed after a national symposium in 2011. Leaders from the U.S. and Canada came together to discuss the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the need for such a process in the U.S.
NABS was created to develop and implement a national strategy that increases public awareness and cultivates healing for the profound trauma experienced by individuals, families, communities, American Indian and Alaska Native Nations resulting from the U.S. adoption and implementation of the Boarding School Policy of 1869.
NABS was fiscally sponsored by the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) until it became financially independent in 2015.
Staff and Board
Our Executive Staff and Board of Directors are 100% Native American representing an array of personal experience with and national expertise about U.S. Indian Boarding Schools.
Christine Diindiisi McCleave, M.A., Turtle Mountain Ojibwe, Chief Executive Officer
Vance Blackfox, Cherokee Nation, Director of Communications
Stephen Curley, MALIS, Diné/Navajo Nation, Director of Digital Archives
Samuel B. Torres, Ed.D., Director of Research and Program
Jennifer Blevins, Operations Manager
Board of Directors
Joannie Suina Romero, Pueblo of Cochiti, President
Ruth Anna Buffalo, Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation, 1st Vice President
Rochelle Ettawageshik, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, 2nd Vice President
Maka Black Elk, Oglala Lakota Nation, Secretary
Travis Miller, Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans, Treasurer
Juana Majel-Dixon, Ph.D., Pauma-Yuima Band of Luiseño Indians
Sarah Eagle Heart, Oglala Lakota Nation
James LaBelle, Sr., Port Graham Tribe of Inupiaq
Michael Yellow Bird, Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation
Previous Board Members
We are grateful to our previous Board Members for their service and commitment to Boarding School Healing. Thank you!
Marlene Helgemo, Ho-Chunk Nation (2014-2020)
Sandy White Hawk, Sicangu Lakota (2015-2020)
Vance Blackfox, Cherokee Nation (2017-2019)
Henry Cagey, Lummi Nation (2017-2019)
Jacob Davis, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa (2016-2018)
Jerilyn DeCoteau, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa (2014-2018)
Denise Lajimodiere, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa (2012-2018)
Patricia Whitefoot, Yakama Nation (2014-2017)
Chase Iron Eyes, Standing Rock (2015-2017)
Andrea Carmen, Yaqui Nation (2014-2016)
Elicia Goodsoldier, Dine/Spirit Lake Dakota (2015-2016)
Edna Brillion, Haida/Cree
Rosemary Gibbons, Mimbres Apache/ Chicana
Don Coyhis, Mohican
The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition is a membership organization comprised of over 100 Native and Non-Native members and organizations committed to boarding school healing.
All Members of the Board of Directors are Regular Members of the Coalition. Learn how to become a Coalition Member.