Ann Marie Chischilly, Esq.
Interim Vice President, Native American Initiatives
Office of the President
Executive Director, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals
Ms. Chischilly serves in a dual capacity at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, Arizona. In May 2021, she was named Interim Vice-President for the Office of Native American Initiatives (ONAI). ONAI is tasked with advancing NAU’s strategic goal, ‘to become the nation’s leading university serving Native Americans,’ with initiatives focusing on Native American student retention, tribal leadership, environmental stewardship in Native communities, culturally responsive K-12 pedagogy and Native mentorship.
Ms. Chischilly also continues in her role as Director of the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP). For the last 10 years, she has been responsible for managing ITEP’s work with Northern Arizona University, state and federal agencies, Tribes and Alaska Native villages. In 2021, ITEP celebrates 29 years serving over 95% of all 574 Tribes and Alaska Native villages. ITEP continues to be the premier tribal environmental organization training Tribes and Indigenous Peoples.
Ms. Chischilly is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation (Diné). She earned her Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law and a Master’s in Environmental Law (LL.M) from Vermont Law School. She is licensed in Arizona and is also a member of the International Bar Association.
Ora Marek-Martinez, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Native American Cultural Center
Dr. Ora Marek-Martinez is a citizen of the Diné (Navajo) Nation, and is of the Mountain Cove clan; her father was Nez Perce from Northern Idaho. As the Executive Director of the Native American Cultural Center, Ora’s work includes supporting and ensuring the success of Northern Arizona University Native American and Indigenous students through Indigenized programming and services to meet the unique needs of our students. As an Assistant Professor in the Northern Arizona University Anthropology Department, her research interests include Indigenous archaeology and Indigenous Heritage management, including research and approaches that utilize ancestral knowledge and storytelling in the creation of archaeological knowledge. Other research interests include southwestern archaeology, Indigenous futurisms, and decolonizing and Indigenizing archaeological narratives of the cultural landscape on Indigenous homelands as a way to reaffirm Indigenous connections to land and place. Dr. Marek-Martinez is also a founding member of the Indigenous Archaeology Coalition.
Manley Begay, Ed.D.
Director, Tribal Leadership initiative
Applied Indigenous Studies and Politics and International Affairs
In addition to faculty appointments in the Departments of Applied Indigenous Studies and Politics and International Affairs, Dr. Begay (Navajo) is affiliate faculty in the W. A. Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University. Since 1997, he has also been co-director (with Professors Joseph Kalt and Stephen Cornell) of the award-winning Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, working for and with Indigenous governments, enterprises, organizations, and communities world-wide, providing research, advisory services, and executive education on issues of nation-building and economic development. Professor Begay is recognized nationally and internationally as one of the primary planners and designers of the now-accepted theory of how Indigenous nations and communities build nations that work.
Angelina Castagno, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Native- Serving Educators
Educational Leadership and Foundations
Angelina works collaboratively with the Teacher Fellows and the University Advisory Council to ensure that the Institute is serving all constituents and meeting the goals identified by key stakeholders. As an active scholar, Angelina’s teaching and research focus on issues of equity and diversity in U.S. schools, and she has been involved in Indigenous education for almost two decades. She has publications in many journals, as well as books that explore culturally responsive schooling, American Indian educational policy and practice, and teacher preparation for diverse schools.
Senior Director of Development for Native American Initiatives
As Senior Director of Development for Native American Initiatives, Ron plans to help NAU strengthen its tribal partnerships “to become the nation’s leading university serving Native Americans.” Formerly, Ron served as District Director & Intergovernmental Relations for Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick in Arizona’s First Congressional District. Ron led a congressional staff located in seven district offices to provide constituent services, district-specific policy priorities and policy recommendations. For 8 years, Ron was owner and president of Native Policy Group, an independent political consulting firm that advocated for Arizona public schools located on Indian reservations, tribal colleges and universities, telecommunications and healthcare. Ron also served 6 years as Executive Director of the Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs to help the State of Arizona build better communications and relations with Arizona’s 22 Indian tribes/nations. Ron has 19 years of experience in public affairs, government and tribal relations, public policy and administration. Ron holds a BS from Arizona State University and an MPA from Northern Arizona University. He also served two-terms as Chairman of the Native American Advisory Board to NAU Presidents Cheng and John Haeger. Ron is Dine’ from the Navajo Nation and resides in Flagstaff with his family.
Shirley comes from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories in northern Canada (also known as Land of the Midnight Sun in the summer months and the most spectacular Northern Lights in the winter months). Shirley is Denesuline (Chipewyan) from the Yellowknives Dene First Nations. As the new Administrative Associate for the ONAI team she is also enthusiastic to provide ongoing support and assistance to the rest of the NACC team. Shirley’s post-secondary education includes a Masters Degree in Professional Communication (Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC), Bachelor’s Degree (Anthropology/Art/Management, University of Lethbridge), Certificates in Human Resources, Public Relations & Communications, Contract Administration (Mount Royal University, Calgary, AB). Prior to moving to Flagstaff, Shirley spent 16 years in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, working in various provincial and government sectors. Her last role was with Indigenous Services Canada for Indian Oil and Gas Canada as the Communications Officer located on the Tsuut’ina Nation Reserve, in the SW corridor of the city of Calgary. Students, peer mentors and staff, feel free to stop by and chat with Shirley on anything relating to the Dene way of life in Canada’s north to post-secondary studies and anything regarding Indigenous cultural values.