Join us for a Q&A with members of the American Indian Community House. Meet with Native American/First Nations/Indigenous Activists & Leaders who have been on the ground participating in social justice actions and Native activism movements.
The American Indian Community House (AICH) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization serving the health, social service, and cultural needs of Native Americans residing in New York City. AICH was founded in 1969, by Native American volunteers as a community-based organization, mandated to improve the status of Native Americans, and to foster inter-cultural understanding. Since its inception, AICH has grown into a multi-faceted social support agency and cultural center with a staff of 35 that serves the estimated 27,000 Native Americans in New York City.
"For us, warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take another life. The warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who can not provide for themselves, and above all, the children, the future of humanity."
-Chief Sitting Bull (Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux)
Ben Geboe is executive director of the American Indian Community House and is an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. He is pursuing his PhD in Social Work at McGill University in Montreal.
Rick Chavolla (Kumeyaay/Chicano) was born and raised in Arizona. He earned his B.A. from Boston University and his M.A. from Boston College. Since his first appointments in higher education at Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University, Rick has taught classes and directed various initiatives to advance multiculturalism, social justice and institutional decolonization. Rick served as an Assistant Dean at Yale University, directing the Native American Cultural Center and the Latina/o Cultural Center. Following Yale, Rick was Associate Director for the Center for Racial and Ethnic Equity at the American Council on Education in Washington D.C. More recently, Rick directed New York University’s Center for Multicultural Education and Programs. Since his departure full-time with NYU, Rick has been an educational consultant, which has included work with the College of Arts & Sciences and A/P/A Institute of NYU, the University of South Dakota, Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Ivy League Project. He currently serves as Board Chair for the American Indian Community House of New York and on the Board for the NGO Committee of the UN on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Rick also advises the Native American and Indigenous Student Group of NYU, the Native American Alumni Association of Yale and works closely with a number of other Native student organizations in the New York area.
Iako:wihe`ne/Melissa Oakes: Fashion Activist Melissa Oakes is a Mohawk woman known as Iako:wihe`ne of the Snipe-clan family, she resides in Akwesasne Mohawk Territory and New York City. She was born and raised on an Iroquois reservation bordering Canada and the United States. Iako:wihe`ne has always pursued and in depth cultural exploration of Northern and Southern Tribal Art and Design. However, her studies were never limited to Native American Culture, she also studied and accomplished various degree’s and certifications in Fashion Design, Business and Leadership. Through her tribe and sheer determination Iakowihe`ne had the opportunity to study in Montreal, New York City, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. With such immense opportunity, and acquired knowledge through her education she finds inspiration reflective of her global perspective through art, fashion and business. She beading workshops at the American Indian Community House in NYC and is long established activist for Indigenous issues.
More panelists TBA.
Shared charity: American Indian Community House
Presider: Anne Klaeysen