Board of Directors

The AICAF Board of Directors is made up of American Indian leaders from across the Nation. All board members are elected through a nomination process. These individuals bring an impressive set of energy, passion, partnerships and skills that will help the foundation advance its mission. In addition, board members serve in many professional and volunteer capacities devoted to improving and strengthening American Indian communities.


Bret R. Benally Thompson, MD

White Earth Ojibwe

Vice Chairperson

Gary Ferguson, ND



Deana Jackson



Samuel A. Moose, MTAG

Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

Board Member

Mary Fairbanks, DNP

White Earth Ojibwe

Board Member

Mark Fox, JD

Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nations

Board Member

Margo Gray

Osage Nation

Board Member

Kalina Newmark

Sahtu Dene First Nations

Board Member

Jessica Pakootas, JD


Board Member

Melanie Peterson Hickey, PhD

Lac du Flambeau Chippewa

Founding Board of Directors:

October 06, 2014: Seven of the founding board of directors who successfully launched this foundation have served their maximum terms. Each helped in the election of new board members to join the AICAF board of directors and guide the next phase of the organization's development. We thank these individuals for lending their time and commitment to AICAF over the past years.

Michael A. Goze, Ho-Chunk
Laura Waterman Wittstock, Seneca
Joanna Bryant, Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota
James Lien, Sicangu Lakota Oyate, Rosebud
Jessica Ryan, Brothertown Nation
Jo-Anne E. Stately, Anishinaabe, White Earth
Howard D. Valandra, Sicangu Lakota Oyate, Rosebud