Tom successfully waged one the most important Native American Voting Rights efforts of the last fifty years, which will provide Native Americans on remote, poverty-stricken reservations with equal access to voting. The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union and National Congress of American Indians, intervened in this social justice issue on behalf of Native Americans who prevailed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Former US Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the Montana native voting rights “conditions are unacceptable, and they are outrageous. As a nation, we cannot - and we will not - simply stand by as the voices of Native Americans are shut out of the democratic process.” In May 2015, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch transmitted to Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House, John Boehner, a request in statutory form that the outcome sought in the Wandering Medicine litigation be enacted into federal law. Legislation introduced by Senators Jon Tester, Heidi Heitkamp, Tom Udall, and Al Franken soon followed. The forgoing federal efforts confirm that the Wandering Medicine litigation, in calling for equal access and equal resources for Native American voting, was the most far-reaching political empowerment of Native Americans since the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924.
Tom Rodgers was the key whistleblower in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, which according to the Washington Post was the largest congressional lobbying scandal in the last one hundred years. For his whistleblower efforts, Tom received an honorary Masters Scholar in Ethics award from the University of Denver Law School. He worked with Oscar winning director Alex Gibney and appeared in the documentary Casino Jack and The United States of Money released at the Sundance Film Festival. University of Denver created the “Tom C. Rodgers O-tee-paym-soo-wuk Ethics in Government Law School Scholarship’ in his honor, a full ride $160,000 scholarship awarded to a Native American student seeking to attend law school O-tee-paym-soo-wuk is a Cree word for “a person who owns himself.” Tom has supported ten Native American United States Senate internships and recently endowed two additional college scholarships. The foregoing scholarships/internships total approximately $250,000.
As Vice President of the Global Indigenous Council and an adviser to the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, Tom is presently at the forefront of legislative efforts in the US Senate to address the MMIWG tragedy. The alliance of the Global Indigenous Council, Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council and Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association, led by Tom and GIC Executive Director Rain Bear Stands Last, has seen four MMIWG bills introduced to the Senate since January 2019. The alliance is also responsible for a national MMIWG awareness, raising billboards in states with the highest incidences of MMIWG cases.
As a result of his tax expertise and leadership over the past eighteen years, Tom has secured a net positive tax credit impact specifically for his Native American clients and Indian Country generally in excess of $10 billion.
In 1994, Tom founded Carlyle Consulting, a governmental/media/public relations firm located in Alexandria, Virginia that represents the interests of Native Americans. From 1990 to 1993, Tom served as tax legislative counsel to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus. Before that, he served as tax counsel to United States Tax Court Judge Marvin F. Peterson. Tom obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics, J.D. and L.L.M in Taxation at the University of Denver. He went on to obtain a Masters in International Public Policy with an emphasis in China Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He also attended the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Executive MBA program. Tom, an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Nation, has raised over $1.2 million dollars in charity for Native American youth, tribal governments, Native American financial literacy programs, and Native American voting rights efforts. He grew up on the great plains of Eastern Montana and now resides in Alexandria, Virginia.
MEET TOM RODGERS
"Tom is the best and foremost Native American advocate, strategist and lobbyist."
Jim Messina, Former Deputy Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama
and 2012 Presidential National Campaign Director.
GLOBAL INDIGENOUS COUNCIL
Brandon is the current President of the Global Indigenous Council and three-time Chairman of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe.
Brandon Sazue is the current President of the Global Indigenous Council. Brandon has served three terms as Chairman of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, the Hunkpati Dakota Oyate of the Oceti Sakowin, the Great Sioux Nation.
Brandon is a veteran of Standing Rock, and is the subject of the acclaimed documentary, Remaking the Sacred Hoop, that is scheduled to hit the film festival circuit in 2019. As Chairman of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Brandon had a prominent role in securing legislation in the US Congress to protect tribal religious and treaty rights. The Tribal Heritage and Grizzly Bear Protection Act was introduced by Congressman and House Natural Resources Committee Chairman, Raul Grijalva, in October 2017, at which time Brandon was among the tribal leaders who spoke on Capitol Hill with Congressman Grijalva.
SAZUE PICTURED (L-R) WITH :
GIC President Brandon Sazue,
SD Governor Kristi Noem,
GPTCA Exxecutive Director Gay Kingman, SD Secretary of Indian Affairs Dave Flute
Nick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant with more than 20 years experience in affordable housing and homelessness.
Before completing a PhD in public policy from Carleton University, he did 10 years of front-line work with persons experiencing homelessness in
Toronto. More recently, he worked as Director of Research and Data at
the Calgary Homeless Foundation.
Nick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant with more than 20years experience in affordable housing & homelessness.
CHIEF JUDY WILSON
NESKONLITH BAND OF
THE SECWEPEMC NATION
Current Union of BC Indian Chiefs Executive, Judy says... “The opioid crisis is a new epidemic for our People. It’s the latest attempt to eradicate us.”
Caring for the land is a paramount principle for Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island. For Chief Judy Wilson of Neskonlith, one of the 17-member communities of the Secwépemc Nation in the interior of British Columbia, this principle is a cornerstone of her work. Chief Wilson has served as chief for a decade and on band council for 8-years. Chief Wilson believes that caring for the land goes beyond stewardship; it includes the inherent title and rights to territorial lands, the animals, plants, eco-systems, people, and a spiritual connection with all living things. In the political arena, she sees the challenge as the very survival of Indigenous Peoples. That survival requires solutions born out of our inherent, sovereign rights, solutions crafted upon self-determination and empowerment. Chief Wilson advocates for that foundation from which to fight the opioids crisis, to stem the MMIWG tragedy, and to transition to clean energy to break the dependence on fossil fuels and pipelines. Chief Wilson seeks to reevaluate consumerism, to change from conglomerates to local foods and lifestyles, and in doing so return to traditional food security and harvesting. “As Indigenous People, we must lead in reducing our footprint on the land,” she says.
SIKSIKA NATION COUNCILOR
Councilor Ruben Breaker, Siksika Nation has many years of experience in NADAP programs.
Ruben received his training through the Nechi Institution for Management in Alcohol and Drug Counselling.
He is currently an Council for Siksika First Nation where one of his portfolios is Health and Prevention Services.
MASKWACIS (HOBBEMA BAND)
JoAnn is a medical professional with personal experience of the opioids tragedy and insights offering help to all communities across Canada
Survivorship is important to JoAnn as a descendent of those who endured the residential school system, and she is both an advocate for survivorship, and a facilitator of compelling discussions regarding the relationship between personal tragedy and family violence, and the opioid crisis that is ravaging so many of our communities.
After a nursing career of nearly 30 years at Maskwacis Health Services, and as a Grandmother and member of a 17,000 strong community with many shared and individual challenges, JoAnn uses her experience to try to expand cultural awareness and provide teaching regarding historical trauma and the profound effect it still carries.
JoAnn’s extensive hands-on experience of how the current Opioid Crisis burdens First Nations people is clear within her presentation, which clarifies the strength of intergenerational trauma and its influence in growing the addiction crises many communities are facing. She will be sharing insights that can be utilized in our communities all across Canada
Jo Ann is the eldest daughter of matriarch Minnie Kenoras and grew up in Secwepemc territory, then moved to Maskwacis where she has lived for 35 years, raising her family of three children.
SIKSIKA NATION COUNCILOR
After his own recovery from drug and alcohol abuse, Councilor Wolfleg worked around the globe on community treatment programs
Francis (Butch) Wolfleg was born into a traditional family on the Blackfoot Reserve, survived Residential School and was educated at the University of Santa Cruz and Grand McEwen College, Edmonton. An avid mentor to youth and adults in both prevention and treatment programming, he helped start the Siksika Alcohol Services, then worked in addictions training and treatment programs across North America. Later he traveled as far afield as Australia and New Zealand where over a 3 year period in the 90’s he trained, developed and organized Aboriginal Treatment, Training and Community programs in Alice Springs, Melbourne, Brisbane and Darwin. After working as a Siksika Councillor for two years, Butch began a new path; starting a Traditional Conflict Resolution Agency for the Siksika Nation alongside the Siksika Justice Dept., and returned to the Siksika Chief & Council with Crime Prevention initiatives - with an emphasis on opioids.
Lance Tailfeathers Bio
Kainai First Nation
Lance Tailfeathers was born and raised on the Blood (Kainai) First Nation in Southern Alberta. His involvement in the arts and entertainment industry throughout his life gave him the opportunity to live and work in other countries. In recent years, he furthered his education and became more focused in administration and business management. He was elected to the Blood Tribe Chief and Council in 2012 and is currently serving a second term until 2020. His portfolio includes finance, economics development, and agriculture currently sitting as the chairman for the Blood Tribe Lands Management committee.
In April of 2015, the Blood Tribe witnessed a spate in deaths due to the horrific results of opioid overdoses in the community. As chairman of the Blood Tribe Department of Health board of directors and committee member of the public service portfolio as councilor, Lance learned first hand the impacts of opioids and addiction that was plaguing the Blood First Nation. His participation in the ‘core group’ strategy created awareness and prevention of overdoses that introduced the first ever harm reduction program to the Blood Reserve.
His background, education and experience are extensively in management, communications, media, and public relations. Lance gives every effort to contribute to the community and live a healthy lifestyle that inspires others.