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.
Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt
Molly Washington is a Deputy City Attorney for the City of Portland. Her practice focuses on construction and litigation. Prior to working at the Portland City Attorney’s Office, Molly practiced for over seven years as a construction defect litigator. In addition to litigation, Molly’s construction background includes transactional work and insurance coverage analysis and she currently serves on the OSB Construction Law Section Executive Committee.
Molly graduated from Lewis and Clark Law School in 2008, along with her husband Rakeem. Molly earned her B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa.
The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde
The Confederated Tribes of the Grand RondeSecretary
National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA)
I am enrolled member of the Navajo/Diné Nation. I was born in Portland and have lived almost all my life here. I have been actively involved in the Native community since birth with Bow and Arrow and have participated in the NAYA activities, including being a graduate of the LEAD cohort program.
I graduated from Portland State University with a bachelor of science degree in psychology with a minor in community health. Recently, I completed a post-baccalaureate program in accounting.
I worked as a research assistant for two years with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board. I left Portland for a short time to work as an administrative assistant for the College of Letters and Science at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. I currently work at the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) and I have been with NICWA for the past 12 years. I started as event support and have been the fiscal manager for the past five years.
I firmly believe in the mission of NAYA and am committed to utilizing my skills for the betterment of our Native community.
Mary Kay Eagle Staff
Lakota/Northern Arapaho/Northern Cheyenne
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).
Comcast Cable-Oregon/SW Washington Region
Comcast Cable-Oregon/SW Washington Region
Tim Goodman is the Senior Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs for Comcast and oversees the Company’s local government relations, regulatory affairs and franchising in Oregon and SW Washington. Tim has been with Comcast since 2011 and has extensive experience in City and County government and served as the Director of Resource Development for Klamath Community College. Tim’s Tribal experience comes from serving 4 ½ years as the CEO of the Elk Valley Rancheria – a Federally Recognized Tribe in NW California – where he oversaw the first placements of land into Trust on behalf the Tribe. Tim is a graduate of George Fox University.
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.
Robin Rabiroff was born in East Los Angeles and went to school in Northern California before moving to Oregon in 1995. The son and grandson of Union electricians, he spent forty years in the construction trade as a journeyman electrician, and served as the Business Development Director of the IBEW Local 48 before retiring in 2018. Robin is a strong advocate for sustainability in construction and has sat on the Board of Directors for the Oregon Solar Energy Industry Association, as well as various state committees on environmental issues, solar code and renewable energy. He and his wife have two grown sons of whom they are enormously proud, two teenage Poodles with whom they are constantly aggravated and a summer garden that produces more tomatoes, basil and bok choy than the two of them can ever eat.
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.
Zeke Smith is currently Vice President of Programs at FoodCorps, a national nonprofit that serves to connect kids to healthy food in school. With a strong commitment to equity and community activism, he oversees the strategic direction of FoodCorps’ service in schools—a program that spans 350 schools across 18 states and Washington, D.C. His experience draws on 25 years of leadership in strategic planning, community engagement, and social justice in public education and health.
Prior to joining FoodCorps, Zeke was the Chief Impact Officer of the United Way of the Columbia Willamette, where he led the effort to address childhood poverty and systemic inequities across the Portland Metropolitan region. In his role he brought diverse community partners together through increased funding, volunteerism, and shared expertise to better the lives of children and families. Previously he served as Chief of Staff at Portland Public Schools, a district of almost 50,000 students, where he supported PK-12 strategic planning that led to an increase in graduation rates and a decrease in achievement gaps for students of color. He has worked with a variety of community-based organizations to improve the lives of kids, particularly those of color and living in poverty. Organizations he has supported include the Northwest Health Foundation, Oregon Chief Education Office, National Indian Child Welfare Association, National Urban Indian Family Coalition, and the Native American Youth & Family Center. He has been a Governor-appointed member of the Oregon Health Policy Board since 2013 and serves on the boards of the Native American Youth & Family Center and the Lowenstein Trust.
Zeke earned his bachelor’s degree in international affairs from Lewis & Clark College. He is proud of his Dutch, Indonesian, Oneida, and Osage heritage and lives with his partner, Mari, with whom he has two daughters.