Against the Current
Ya’at’eeh, Shi ei Eddie Sherman. Nat’oh Dine’e Tachii’nii nishlii doo [Tapa] Omaha Deer Clan ei bashishchiin. Bit’ahnii’nii ei dashicheii, nana [Tapa] Omaha Deer Clan ei dashinali. Todineeshzhee’dee ei naasha. Hello, my name is Eddie Sherman. I am Tobacco People, born for the [Tapa] Omaha Deer Clan. My maternal Grandfather’s clan is Folded Arms people and my paternal Grandfather’s clan is [Tapa] Omaha Deer Clan. I am from Kayenta, AZ.
Mr. Edmund “Eddie” Sherman is a member of the Navajo and Omaha Nations and he grew up on the Navajo Nation Reservation. Throughout his youth, Eddie watched his Cheíí (Navajo for Grandfather) embrace and practice the traditional ways of life, which included everything from daily prayers to herding sheep to ceremony. He has many memories of growing up in a hogan, participating in ceremonies, and riding horses in the wide open and beautiful lands on the reservation.
Throughout his career, Eddie has committed his efforts to social justice, serving Indian Country, and improving the quality of life of American Indian and Alaska Native people. He currently serves the community in a variety of capacities including; board member of the Energy Trust of Oregon, founding board member of Color PAC, chairman of the Native American Youth and Family Center’s board of directors, as well as leading his own consulting firm – Against the Current Consulting Group. Prior to leading his own consulting firm, Eddie worked with the Oregon Native American Chamber, ONABEN, and the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA).
Prior to moving to Oregon, Eddie served as the Development Coordinator for the Denver Indian Family Resource Center and was an engaged community leader in the Denver Native community. As a member of the Colorado Indigenous Games Society (CIGS), Eddie played a pivotal role in the resource development, planning, and execution of the 2006 North American Indigenous Games. He has had the honor of serving as an appointed commissioner for Portland Human Rights Commission and being selected for the German Marshall Memorial Fellowship, the AIO American Indian Ambassadors’ Program, and the El Pomar Foundation Fellowship.
He completed his B.A. in International Political Economy at The Colorado College in 2002. As a first-generation college student, Eddie was co-chair of the Native American Student Union and became the first Native American student to be elected as the Student Body President. Upon graduating, he was nationally selected to participate in the El Pomar Foundation Fellowship, perhaps the most creative, diverse, and effective training ground for young and emerging nonprofit leaders in America.
As an engaged member of his community, Eddie volunteers his time, resources, and knowledge to serving his community on a variety of boards, committees, and as a coach for Native youth. Eddie is driven by his passion to serve our Native community and improve the way of life for Native children and families. He’s grounded by his culture, family, friends, and community. Eddie is a father of three beautiful children – Editon (2), Kékéya (6), and Natani (7) – and he is dedicated to being a strong father and role model.
Mary Kay Eagle Staff
Lakota/Northern Arapaho/Northern CheyenneSecretary
Mary Kay Eagle Staff
Mary Kay Eagle Staff, my mother is Northern Cheyenne, and Northern Arapaho from Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, I am enrolled in the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota where my father is from. I came to Portland in the early 90’s, got involved with the Native community where I could stay connected to my culture. I have two grown children and one grandchild.
I started out as concerned parent wanting something more for my children, we attended gatherings NAYA started at the Portland Impact Center, where then director Ron True asked me to get together with several parents to start a parent committee, so we all worked together to organize the parent committee, where we did grassroots fundraising like garage sales, carwashes, Indian taco sales, concessions at different events. From there we worked to get representation on the board to implement needed changes that would enhance the program.
The job of Sports Coordinator literally landed in my lap, my brother Patrick Eagle Staff who was coordinator then was moving to South Dakota for school, he could not find a replacement. The day he left Oregon he gave me all the paperwork and said “I can’t find anyone you will have to find someone or do it yourself.” I had the same outcome as he did, there was nobody I could find that wanted the extra responsibility, so from there I took on several years of finding coaches, working with several Portland leagues, paperwork, hauling basketball players, scheduling practices, finding facilities, coordinating schedules between the six basketball teams NAYA sponsored. Most times this included keeping some of the basketball players on weekends, feeding them, for example I bought a pair of basketball shoes for a player who did not have any because we were leaving on a tournament and he would not be able to play if he didn’t have the right gear, in those days I needed to expect the unexpected.
A friend who worked for Multnomah County told me of a onetime grant that was available to Native organizations who could offer culture, education, mentors, and extra-curricular activities so I approached Charmaine Kinney a fellow student at PSU where I was a student then, I asked her if she would entertain the idea to Bow & Arrow to do the cultural piece, we then met with the student affairs coordinator to see if we could partner with AISES and UISHE to provide mentorship, educational, and cultural collaborations.
With all four organizations collaborating NAYA was voted as lead organization to administer funding. We received the first grant from Multnomah County, hired Susan Balbas as Director and continued to enhance the programming. I was nominated for board member in 1999 and have served since then seeing the ultimate vision of the parent committee, the Early College Academy and the purchase of our own property to house all our programming, creating a family center for the Native American community, the advantage of my position is knowing the history of NAYA since the revival of the program in 1994.
At Wells Fargo Bank I work with Area Presidents and District Managers to educate/strategize/develop Credit Performance for the Oregon Region. I am a member of the Native American team member Network for Wells Fargo.
I started with Wells Fargo Bank in 2003. I have been in the financial industry for more than 25 years.
I have served on the board for Southwest Washington Food Banks and the Boys & Girls club of Bainbridge Island.
Cory Freeman is currently a District Manager with U.S. Bank in Portland. He has an extensive 22 year history in banking, working at Washington Mutual Bank and Bank of the Cascades prior to joining U.S. Bank in March of 2014. For the past 13 years Cory has managed branch networks in various regions across the country including Utah, Denver, Chicago, Southern Oregon and Portland. In his current role he provides leadership and oversight for 16 retail branches with a focus on building relationships in the community, partnering with small business customers, raising the bar with customer experience and ensuring strong financial and operational performance.
Cory grew up in Southern Oregon and in 1993 earned a Bachelor’s degree in Finance and Accounting at the University of Oregon. He is married to Celina Freeman and together they have two children, Will (7) and Julian (11).
Renee Rank Ignacio
Renee Rank Ignacio
Renee is a Klamath tribal member, and she grew up in Klamath Falls, Or. She went to Arizona State University, and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Business. Currently she lives in Portland and works at McMenamins, Inc as the Director of Marketing.
Legacy Medical Group
Legacy Medical Group
I am an enrolled member of the Fort Belknap Indian Community, Montana. My maternal grandmother is Gros Ventre (Aaniiih).
I work for Legacy Health and have spent the past twelve years managing medical practices focused on primary and specialty care. In 2015, I became the Administrative Director for multiple surgical specialties located across five Legacy hospital campuses. I began my career in healthcare in 1984 as a Medical Assistant then moved into management in 1990 and continued that journey to where I am today.
At Legacy I have had the privilege of working with our Diversity Advisory Council and our Community Benefits Steering Committee. I am the executive sponsor for our Native American Employee Resource Group which we created two years ago. It has been a wonderful experience working with the various Employee Resource Groups supporting activities throughout the year.
I left school at 16 and went to work. I completed my high school education through Portland Community College and enrolled in college at Pacific University. I transferred to Portland State University to pursue a degree in Theater Arts. A little more than a year later my great grandmother become seriously ill and I decided to postpone school and care for her fulltime. During that time I fell in love with healthcare and decided to change course and pursue training to be a Medical Assistant. I have had the honor of working with several exceptional mentors who have supported me throughout my career.
I have been married to Dan for 30 years and have two beautiful kids – Emily and Brady.
Ohlone Costanoan, CA Monterey Bay
Michael Soto (retired) has 30 plus years in Public Safety and Emergency Management for Portland State University. Michael has held Director, Chief and Supervisory roles throughout his career. His management capacity includes [not limited to] operations and administration of the public safety unit, providing leadership and vision to the agency in meeting the university mission, development of education and information for community awareness of criminal activity, internal and external collaboration with other university departments and non-university agencies, preparation and monitoring of budgets, development of fiscal benchmarks and represented department as media liaison in conjunction with Marketing and Communication Office.
Michael is very active volunteer in the Portland metropolitan community as a Safety Consultant. Two key volunteer call-outs:
- NAYA Family Center and Early College Academy, March 2012 to present as a volunteer working on campus safety, security and emergency management procedure and policy development.
- Oaks Amusement Park where he is assisting in updating the current Emergency Response Manual, EMS to NIMS and ICS standards for outdoor amusement parks. These updates include working with management, customer service, security and rink teams.
Karen St. Clair
Psychotherapy Private Practice
Karen St. Clair
Psychotherapy Private Practice
I am a tribally enrolled member of the Mdewankanton Dakota of Minnesota. My family reservation is the Lower Sioux Indian Community located on the south side of the Minnesota River at the site of the U.S. Indian Agency and the Bishop Whipple Mission, a part of the original reservation established in the 1851 Treaty. My reservation was my second home as a child and adolescent, which was three hours outside of the Minneapolis metropolitan area where we lived. I received a B.A. at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota with majors in French and Sociology as well as a Philosophy minor. I have been married for 25 years and have two sons.
I am a licensed clinical social worker (L2197) in the State of Oregon since 1994, and have worked as a therapist since 1987, when I graduated from Simmons College School of Social Work in Boston, Massachusetts. There, I practiced as a candidate and then licensed independent clinical social worker (LICSW) for seven years before moving to Portland. Additionally, my work experience includes staff administration and clinical supervision in various settings which has enhanced my knowledge of systems. My therapeutic orientation is psychodynamic, influenced by psychoanalytic thinking, cognitive behavioral therapy, family systems, and existential therapy. My work is strongly influenced by cultural and spiritual aspects of Indian thinking influenced by my own traditions, and west coast tribal influences as well. Finally, I have a good deal of experience and love for working with clients who suffer both mental health and chemical addictions.
My vision for a future professional occupation began after having worked at the Native American Rehabilitation Association, where my employment moved from full-time therapeutic work to supervision and management over an almost seven year period. While I worked there as the treatment director, I learned that many Indian employees, and families of clients reported that they were not able to find Indian therapists on their insurance panels in private practice. From that time, I planned on moving into a private practice as some time in the future. In 2007, I started a position at Samaritan Counseling Centers, as the agency clinical director and grant project manager. SCC was a small hybrid agency: it had the financial traits of a mental health non-profit and a private group practice where I learned a great deal about serving the working and middle class in Portland. In February of 2009, the agency closed its doors due to the financial crisis, which gave me the opportunity to build the private practice serving Indians that I had envisioned for myself.