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Western Native Voice is a 501(c)3 Native non-profit organization. Contributions are deductable as allowed by law.

About Us

Established in 2011, Western Native Voice  is a non-profit, non-partisan social justice organization working to inspire Native leadership through community organizing, education, leadership, and advocacy. With 7% of Montana’s population being Native American living almost evenly split between reservation and urban areas, WNV organizes in both rural and urban communities using a culturally tailored community organizing and citizen education model to build Native leadership.

Today, we work in seven Montana tribal communities and three urban centers-- Billings, Missoula, and Great Falls.

Our Purpose:  We inspire Native leadership so our communities flourish.

 

Our Mission: To foster sustainable positive social change in our communities through community organizing and mobilization, leadership development, education, civic engagement, and public policy advocacy.  

Our Vision:  We strive for a world absent of discrimination and inequality, where every human has equal access to safety and success. Building on the successes of our ancestors, we equip community members with the tools to address local community needs, and enhance political and personal power.

“What guides our work is the direct action of tribal community members to create and implement change from their families to the policy level.”

“The community change that is desired needs to come from the voices of those who are directly impacted by the policies.” 

2018 WNV Annual Report Online-1.png

The 2018 WNV Annual Report is now available!

Meet Our Staff

Marci McLean

Executive Director (Piikuni)

Following service in the Army National Guard, Marci studied at Montana State University-College of Technology where she earned an A.A.S. in Physical Therapy. Marci then attended the University of Montana and earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Biology with a minor in Native American Studies. In the 2012 Election, Marci co-managed field operations for the Western Native Voice voter mobilization campaign.

You can reach Marci at marci@westernnativevoice.org

Ta'jin Perez

Program Manager (Tutunacu)

Ta'jin joined Western Native Voice as the Program Manager in March 2017 after organizing local efforts in solidarity to the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. Ta'jin has a B.A. in History from Austin College in Sherman, TX. Ta'jin is interested in issues surrounding poverty, food security, feminism and tribal sovereignty. Ta'jin grew up in Wyoming, is a first generation American, and a first generation college graduate. Ta'jin stays active in the Billings community by serving on the city's Human Relations Commission, participating in the Billings Parks community garden project, and recently ran for Billings City Council. Ta'jin is married to his wife, Bailey, and is the father of 2 children, Rowan & Elio.

You can reach Ta'jin at tperez@westernnativevoice.org

Leah Berry

Development Manager

Leah Berry is the Development Manager with Western Native Voice. She was born and raised in rural Central Montana and has a Bachelors of Arts in History and Political Science from Montana State University Billings. She has vast experience getting out the vote and directing field operations across urban, rural, and reservation areas in Montana. She has a particular interest in environmental issues and protecting voting rights. When Leah is not organizing voters and advocating for issues she cares about you can find her revitalizing on a river with her fly rod.  

You can reach Leah at lberry@westernnativevoice.org

Krystal Hill

Financial Controller (Tsétsêhéstâhese/Apsáalooke)

Krystal Hill is the Financial Controller with Western Native Voice. She was born and raised in Southeastern Montana. Krystal joins the team with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Management from Rocky Mountain College, bringing experience in Accounting for Tribal Governments and Federal Grant Management. Prior to her work with Western Native Voice, she worked in marketing and public relations for a rural telecommunications cooperative in Montana and North Dakota.


Krystal is an avid long distance runner, competing in many local and regional runs, and she enjoys spending time with her husband Paul and her children.

You can reach Krystal at khill@westernnativevoice.org

John Old Elk

Campaign Coordinator (Apsaalooke)

You can reach John at joldelk@westernnativevoice.org

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Meet Our Board

Norma Bixby

Board Vice Chair (Northern Cheyenne)

Possessing an extensive career in education and politics, Norma's experience includes service as a State Representative from 2000-2008; Chair of the Montana Advisory Council for Indian Education; and Chair of the Montana Committee on Civil Rights. Norma has a M.A. in Education from the University of New Mexico. Norma is currently the Director of Tribal Education for the Northern Cheyenne tribe.

Pat Smith

Board Member (Assiniboine)

Pat Smith holds an undergraduate degree in history and political science and a juris doctor degree from the University of Montana.  His law practice specialized in Indian law where he represented Indian tribes for 31 years, based out of Montana.  In 2013, he was appointed by Montana Governor Steve Bullock to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, and also to represent Montana on the Columbia River Treaty’s Sovereign Review Team.   He has also served:  on the 2010 Montana Redistricting Commission as an appointee of the Democratic leader of the Montana Senate; on the University of Montana School of Law’s Board of Visitors; and as Chief Judge of  the Appellate Court of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.  He is an enrolled member of the Assiniboine Tribe on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, where his family has operated a wheat farm.  He and his wife Michelle live near Missoula, Montana.

Lea Whitford

Board Member (Piikuni)

Lea is currently working for the Blackfeet Planning & Development Office and is a Montana State Senator for Senate District 8, and also formerly served in the Montana House of Representatives. She has been involved in education and worked on conservation issues for over 20 years. She was raised on the Blackfeet reservation and has resided there all her life. She has 3 children; one in college, her oldest son works for a livestock feed company, and the youngest is in middle school.

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Devi Cole

Missoula Organizer

You can reach Devi at missoula@westernnativevoice.org

Rikki Horn

Fort Belknap Organizer

You can reach Rikki at ftbelknap@westernnativevoice.org

Lauri Kindness

Crow Organizer

You can reach Lauri at crow@westernnativevoice.org

BethYana Pease

Crow Organizer

You can reach BethYana at bpease@westernnativevoice.org

Joe Running Crane

Blackfeet Organizer

You can reach Joe at blackfeet@westernnativevoice.org

Jade Sooktis

Northern Cheyenne Organizer

You can reach Jade at jsooktis@westernnativevoice.org

Lailani Upham

Flathead Organizer

You can reach Lailani at cskt@westernnativevoice.org

Arielle Wolf Chief

Rocky Boy Organizer

You can reach out to Arielle at rockyboy@westernnativevoice.org

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Meet Our Community Organizers