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Natali Segovia, Quechua

Natali Segovia (Quechua) is an international human rights attorney who currently serves as Executive Director of the Water Protector Legal Collective, an Indigenous-led legal organization that grew out of the #NoDAPL resistance at Standing Rock and today, continues to provide legal support and advocacy for Indigenous Peoples, the Earth, and climate justice movements in defense of Water Protectors and human rights defenders facing repression for their resistance and activism. As a litigator and advocate, Natali’s work focuses on the protection of the Earth and the rights of Indigenous Peoples affected by forced displacement, desecration of sacred lands, and human rights violations as a result of extractive industry and mass development projects. Over the past 15 years, her international work has focused on addressing human rights violations as a result of extractive industry and mass development projects in rural, “unseen” areas in countries including Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. Natali also frequently lectures and teaches at law schools across the United States. In 2022, Natali was the Fall Givelber Distinguished Public Interest Lecturer at Northeastern University School of Law, where she taught “In Defense of the Sacred: Human Rights, Earth Justice, and the Law.” Natali holds a law degree from Arizona State University and dual degrees in Political Science and Latin American Studies from Columbia University.

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Sandra Freeman

Staff Attorney

Sandra Freeman is an attorney, counselor, and abolitionist dedicated to defense of the Earth and of all peoples impacted by the corruption and human rights violations inherent in borders, policing, and extractive industry. A zealous trial lawyer, Sandra is a graduate of the National Criminal Defense College and has tried cases to judges and juries in courts across Turtle Island. Sandra specializes in trauma-informed representation of Black, Brown and Indigenous LGBTQ2S+ clients investigated, imprisoned, sued, and targeted for acts of sovereignty, protest and political activism. In 2016-2017 Sandra helped WPLC to coordinate the criminal defense of hundreds of water protectors arrested during the historic #NoDAPL movement. As an anti-racist facilitator and educator Sandra supports community-based legal initiatives, healing, and justice for movements seeking collective liberation. Sandra graduated with a B.S. from Louisiana State University and earned a law degree from the American University, Washington College of Law. Sandra is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Virginia Mountain Valley Lawyers Association, the Colorado LGBTQ Bar Association, the Federal Faculty of Advocates, and National Lawyers Guild (NLG); Sandra is a member of the Steering Committee for the NLG Mass Defense Committee.

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Summer Aubrey, Cherokee

Staff Attorney

Summer Blaze Aubrey is Citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a Descendant of the Blackfeet Nation. Summer graduated from the University of Arizona College of Law in 2020 and 2021 with her J.D. and LL.M. respectively, with certificates in Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy. Summer was the first legal intern at the International Indian Treaty Council during her second year in law school. Her article: Violence Against the Earth Begets Violence Against Women was published in the Arizona Journal for Environmental Law & Policy in 2019. Currently, Summer is Staff Attorney at Water Protector Legal Collective.

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Kyra Blas, CHamoru

Yale Bernstein Fellow

Kyra Blas is a CHamoru woman born and raised on the island of Guåhan (Guam). A recent graduate of Yale Law School, Blas is joining the WPLC team as a 2023-2024 Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Fellow. During this fellowship, Blas and WPLC will work together to document the U.S. military’s adverse impacts on waters and surrounding communities throughout Turtle Island, occupied Hawai'i, and the U.S. colonies (unincorporated territories). Having experienced these harms first-hand, Blas is deeply grateful to work with WPLC to execute this project and meaningfully contribute to grassroots movements and the protection of our peoples, waters, non-human neighbors, and generations to come.

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Nizhoni Begay, Diné/Quechua

Communications and Development Coordinator

Nizhoni Begay is the Communications  and Development Coordinator at the Water Protector Legal Collective. Alongside her work at WPLC, she is co-editor on the To-Be-Named Graphic Anthology by Red Planet Books & Comics featuring Water Protectors. Nizhoni graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Political Science and minors in Music and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Her previous experience includes doing research at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, cultivating community at Stanford’s Native American Cultural Center as president of Diné Club, and staffing at Stanford’s Native American themed residence, Muwekma-Tah-Ruk. Nizhoni has ties to several organizations internationally who she works with from time to time. These include Ayudando Latinos A Soñar in Half Moon Bay, Students for Workers’ Rights, and the Justice 4 Black Lives Fund in collaboration with Stanford Alpha Kappa Alpha. In 2020, Nizhoni was awarded the Award of Excellence, an award designed to recognize the top 10% of the class who have demonstrated a sincere commitment through involvement and leadership, from the Stanford Alumni Association.

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Delfina Roybal, Diné

Communications Intern

Delfina Roybal was born and raised in Lenapehoking territory aka New York City and is currently working on a degree in history and pre-law at Borough of Manhattan Community College. She has strong ties to the urban Indigenous community in the city and she is working locally with Redhawk Nation as their social media coordinator and alongside local Indigenous organizations for upcoming Indigenous Peoples Day 2022. She has also worked outside of the city with Seeding Sovereignty on virtual voting campaigns to get out the vote in Indian Country. Currently, Delfina works at WPLC as a communications intern and also does communications at Urban Indigenous Collective in NYC. Most recently, Delfina was accepted to Columbia University.

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Mia Montoya Hammersley,
Piro-Manso-Tiwa/Yoeme

Board Co-Chair

Mia Montoya Hammersley is the Director of the Environmental Justice Clinic and an Assistant Professor of Law at the Vermont Law & Graduate School. She is a member of the Piro-Manso-Tiwa Indian Tribe, Pueblo of San Juan de Guadalupe, and a Yoeme (Yaqui) descendant. In her work, Mia has represented conservation organizations in protecting land from extractive industries, Tribes in defending and asserting their land and water rights, and communities experiencing disproportionate environmental health harms. In addition to completing her J.D. with dual certificates in Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy and Environmental Law, Science, and Policy, Mia holds a Master of Science in Water Policy from the University of Arizona. Her chapter, "The Water-Energy Nexus and Environmental Justice: the Missing Link Between Water Rights and Energy Production on Tribal Lands" was published in the UA Press Series, Indigenous Environmental Justice, in 2020. In 2021, she was a recipient of the Young, Gifted, and Green 40 Under 40 Award by Black Millennials for Flint for her work in the field of environmental justice.

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Carolina Martin Ramos, Mexica/Cherokee

Board Co-Chair

Carolina Martin Ramos is a human rights attorney with experience working in the trenches, shoulder-to-shoulder with community members. Carolina is Mexica/Cherokee descent, two-spirit woman. Carolina is recognized as a fierce advocate and guerrera for land defenders and water protectors. Carolina is the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) and Executive Director of Justicia Digna where she focuses on human rights, environmental justice, and international Indigenous people’s rights. Carolina advocates before local, state, federal, and international bodies including the United Nations on environmental justice issues such as green colonialism. Carolina’s work is inherently liberatory, transformational, cross-jurisdictional, cross border, decolonizing, and anti-colonial. Carolina believes that “otro mundo es possible” and works on developing cultures of belonging. As an attorney, Carolina has responded to multiple legal and humanitarian crises related to gender violence and forced displacement, including responding to the family separations under Zero Tolerance Policies in the border region. She worked with teams of attorneys on federal litigation suing the federal government for human rights and civil rights violations including Matter of Ms. L and the Aleman-Gonzalez case challenging prolonged detention. Carolina is a true movement attorney and has volunteered at the Red Owl Legal Collective, now Water Protector Legal Collective (aka Legal Tent), at Oceti Sakowin, Standing Rock Sioux Nation, worked with asylum seekers at the U.S. – Mexico border region during “the surge” in 2014 and many subsequent events where caravans of asylum seekers faced human rights violations, family separations, and refoulement under Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP). She is widely recognized for her work with Maya and Indigenous migrants, survivors of human trafficking, and asylum seekers fleeing gender violence, and TSLGBTQ communities.

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Monaeka Flores, CHamoru

Board Co-Treasurer

Monaeka “Naek” Flores is a queer CHamoru artist and activist from Guåhan (Guam). Naek is the lead organizer of Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian,  a direct action group dedicated to the protection of natural and cultural resources in all sites identified for DOD live-fire firing training on Guam. Naek is also a core member of Mariånas for Palestine and Independent Guåhan.

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Emily Uruchima, Kichwa Kañari

Board Co-Treasurer

Emily Uruchima is a Kichwa Kañari archivist, researcher, and storyteller born and raised on Lenapehoking territory (New York City). Emily received her M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (2020) and a B.A. in Social and Cultural Analysis with focus on Native American and Indigenous Studies (2021), both from New York University. Throughout her time at NYU, Emily worked as a Special Collections Assistant, archiving and digitizing the Native and Indigenous Media Collection, while bridging connections and facilitating collaborations between Indigenous elders and storytellers across Turtle Island.  Since 2015, Emily Uruchima has been organizing with Kichwa youth across Turtle Island working in language revitalization, climate change efforts, and moving image archiving and preservation work.  Much of Emily’s research and work revolves around uplifting Indigenous communities, historically silenced in large public institutions. Currently, at the New York Public Library, she works directly with digital archives and holdings to develop curricula for NYC public school educators. Through an indigenous historical lens, Emily has been developing curricula with topics/themes ranging from the realities and traumas of Native American Residential Boarding Schools to findings and interpretations of 19th Century treaties with Indigenous nations across Turtle Island/Abya Yala. 

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Sandra Creamer, Waanyi/Kalkadoon

Board Secretary

Sandra is a Waanyi/Kalkadoon Indigenous woman from Australia. She is the CEO of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance, Lawyer and Adjunct Professor in Public Health at the University of Queensland. She was awarded a Member of the Order Of Australia (AM) award on the Queens Birthday 2019 by the Attorney General of Australia for her work with Indigenous women and peoples.
Sandra is an advisor for the Seventh Generation Board Fund, on the Board of the International Indigenous Women’s Forum and on the Advisory team for the Queensland Human Rights Commissioner.
Sandra advocates on human rights for Indigenous women and peoples. Some of her work has been: lecturing, writing submissions, writing articles, writing programs, Short film clips, as well as workshop in providing information on how to film and advocate your rights and violations with WITNESS Human Rights.
Sandra has been involved with the international arena for many years and in particular working with Indigenous women globally. Sandra has attended the United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous peoples and was the co-chair for the Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus.

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Daniel T'seleie, Dene

At-Large Board Member

Daniel is K’asho Got’ine Dene from Radili Ko (also known as Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories). As K’asho Got’ine Chief Negotiator he manages his community’s self-government negotiations with Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories. Daniel holds a J.D. from the University of Victoria and a B.Sc. in mathematical sciences from McMaster University. Daniel has worked in the areas of education, journalism, government policy, unskilled labour, and lands and environmental management in Dene communities with a focus on climate change adaptation and mitigation. In his free time Daniel is a practitioner and trainer of non-violent direct action tactics and strategy, with a focus on environmental and climate justice and assertions of Indigenous sovereignty. He is also a founding member of Dene Nahjo, a northern non-profit dedicated to advancing social and environmental justice for northern peoples while promoting Indigenous leadership by fostering emerging leaders.

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Ozawa Bineshi Albert, Yuchi/Annishinaabe

At-Large Board Member

Bineshi Albert grew up in the movement and remembers her family organizing for community and Indigenous Rights throughout her upbringing. Her work over the last 30 years has primarily focused on environmental justice and Native/Indigenous rights. She has also been part of many pivotal movement building and multicultural spaces throughout her career. She is Co-Executive Director at Climate Justice Alliance. She was a founding board member of Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), served on their three person Leadership Team alongside the Executive Director and was their Movement Building Coordinator and Co-Coordinator for Indigenous Feminisms. She is proud to have contributed to the work of It Takes Roots, the Rising Majority and international movement spaces. While at IEN, Bineshi supported the creation and development of both an Indigenous Feminist Organizing School and an International Feminist Organizing School. Before that, she held many positions including the Interim Co-Director at SAGE Council, one of the founders of the Native American Voters Alliance; Regional Director (West) for the Center for Community Change, Co-Director of the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP), and she served as a lobbyist for a number of initiatives including Strong Families in New Mexico. Bineshi began her organizing work with the Coalition for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Native Lands’ Toxics Campaign at Greenpeace. She holds a degree in Indigenous Liberal Studies from the Institute of American Indian Art with minors in Performing Arts and Creative Writing. She is the proud mother of three: a daughter and two sons, and recently became a grandmother. She makes her home in relocated Yuchi & Muscogee territory in Oklahoma, also known as Tulsa.

King Downing, Afro-Indigenous/Eastern Cherokee kin

At-Large Board Member

King Downing is a lawyer and founder of the Human Rights-Racial Justice Center (H2RJ), which advocates and organizes for criminal and economic justice. Previously, he was the Mass Defense Director for the National Lawyers Guild, directed the Healing Justice Program of the American Friends Service Committee, and was National Coordinator of the ACLU’s Campaign Against Racial Profiling. King was also part of the Ferguson Legal Defense Committee and was an early organizer in Jena, Louisiana supporting the Jena 6, Black high school students charged with attempted murder for a fistfight with a white student.

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