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Rise, Resist, Reclaim and Unify at 2nd Annual Summit

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2019-01-03T10:39:15+00:00 April 22, 2017|News, Previous Event|
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Rise, Resist, Reclaim and Unify at 2nd Annual Summit

  • Highline College Native Student Success Summit 2017

Free and Open to All

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
8:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
Highline’s main campus, Building 2 and Building 7

Theme: #Rise, #Resist, #Reclaim, #Unify

The Native Student Success Summit is designed to inspire and empower high school* and college students to be successful in higher education and beyond.

During the summit, participants will

  • Be encouraged and supported with tools and resources that support Native Student Success and leadership development.
  • Gain an increased awareness of ways to identify, articulate and work toward actionable goals for personal and communal success in culturally rooted ways.
  • Make meaningful connections and gain a deeper sense of community with other Native student leaders in Western Washington.

See below for the full agenda and learn about the summit’s master of ceremonies, Tommy Segundo.

The summit for American Indian and Alaska Native students is the result of a partnership between Highline Public Schools and Highline College. Participating as presenters and organizers are Native educators, professionals and community leaders from Auburn, Federal Way, Kent, Renton and Seattle School Districts; Green River College; and Seattle Indian Health Board.

Sara Marie Ortiz

Sara Marie Ortiz

Sara Marie Ortiz and Tanya Powers are the founders and lead organizers of the summit, which is now in its second year.

Ortiz is a member of Pueblo of Acoma, a tribal community in New Mexico, and manages Highline Public Schools’ Native Education Program.

“There’s nothing quite like the Native Student Success Summit. We’ve worked hard to create an opportunity that isn’t just about college or career access and success for Native students alone,” said Ortiz.

“We see it as an expansive, immersive, challenging, intergenerational learning opportunity; a chance to connect with each other, ask tough questions, challenge norms, have critical conversations and feel truly supported at the summit and far beyond by a powerful network of Native scholars, professionals, artists, advocates and visionary Native change-makers … this has never been more urgently needed in these very complex times.”

 Tanya Powers

Tanya Powers

Powers is mixed heritage St. Lawrence Island/Siberian Yupik and Irish and is the director of Workforce and Baccalaureate Education at Highline College.

“This is our second annual Native Student Success Summit and we are pleased to have this event where we can nurture culture, identity and community,” said Powers.

According to Powers, the two were inspired by other successful Highline College events for students of color, such as the Black and Brown Male Summit, the Y.E.L.L. Female Summit and the Latinx Summit. Approximately 100 students are expected to attend.


Tanya Powers: tpowers@highline.edu or (206) 592-3662
Sara Marie Ortiz: sara.ortiz@highlineschools.org or (206) 631-3162

*For high school students, lunch will be provided and local transportation assistance is available. Call for details. High school student should download and have a parent sign the photo release form and bring it to the summit.


(See speaker biographies below.)

8:30-8:50 a.m.: Registration

8:50-9:05 a.m.: Welcome

9:05-9:45 a.m.: Morning Keynote Speaker: Swil Kanim (Lummi)

“Oh. Be. Have. Take Ownership of Your Life: Empowerment and Connection Through Music and Storytelling”

9:45-9:55 a.m.: Break

9:55-10:55 a.m.: Round 1 Sessions

#Rise: Career and College: What Should I Do?
Howie Echohawk, UW Student Ambassadors and Adam Lane of Northwest Indian College
Facilitator: Faith Kebekol

#Resist: Social Justice and Leadership
Matt Remle (Standing Rock Lakota) and allies

#Reclaim: Native Student Leader Roundtable/Fishbowl Discussion on Critical Issues in Native Communities
Facilitators: Sara Marie Ortiz, Juvi Schierbeck

#Unify: Career, Community Development and Leadership

10:55-11:25 a.m.: Lunch and Elders Panel

Elders Panel: Patsy Whitefoot (Yakama), Jackie Swanson (Muckleshoot) and others to be announced

11:35 a.m.-12:10 p.m.: Round 2 Sessions

#Rise: Career and College: What Should I Do?
Howie Echohawk, UW Student Ambassadors, Jim LaRoche and Adam Lane of Northwest Indian College
Facilitator: Faith Kebekol

#Resist: Social Justice and Leadership
Matt Remle (Standing Rock Lakota) and allies

#Reclaim: Native Student Leader Roundtable/Fishbowl Discussion on Critical Issues in Native Communities
Facilitators: Sara Marie Ortiz, Juvi Schierbeck

#Unify: Career, Community Development and Leadership

12:10-12:45 p.m.: Afternoon Keynote Speaker: Matt Remle (Standing Rock Lakota)

“#Resist: A Call to Action — Native Protectors, Creative Resistance for Environmental Justice and Community”

12:45-1 p.m.: Validation and Closing

Master of Ceremonies: Tommy Segundo (Haida/Katzie)

Tommy Segundo
Tommy Segundo was born and raised in South Seattle. He comes from the Haida Nation of Southeast Alaska on his mother’s side and Katzie First Nation/Filipino on his father’s side. He considers himself very much an “Urban Native.” His Haida name is Glaadaay (Big Man Inside). He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington (Seattle campus), and is an educator, formline artist, published author, and most importantly, a father and husband. He has dedicated his professional career to working with Native youth for more than 10 years in the areas of education and culture, two thing he believes would have the most impact on helping our people rise up. He currently works as the Native Education Program Liaison for the Renton School District and works at the high school in which he graduated from.

Speaker Biographies (Alphabetical Order)

Geneva Alfonso-Mendez
#Rise: Career and College: What Should I Do?
Geneva Alfonso-Mendez identifies as Indigenous, being Mexican and Crow (Apsaalooke). She was born on the Crow Reservation in Montana, but raised near Seattle. After graduating from Kent-Meridian High School, she started her first year of college at Washington State University. She transferred to Highline College, where she is in her second year taking classes. She is currently taking prerequisite classes for the Nursing program. Apart from her studies, she started the Latinx Student Association club last fall, for which she is the president.

Jalyssa AtualevaoJalyssa Atualevao
#Reclaim: Native Student Roundtable
Jalyssa Atualevao was born and raised in Washington and Nanakuli, Hawai’i. Atualevao’s mother’s side is of Hawaiian, Portuguese and Chinese descent, and father’s side Samoan. Atualevao is a Pathway and AANAPISI student at Highline College. After she completes her associate degree at Highline, she plans to transfer to university to double major in English and anthropology.

Andrew D. Guillen
#Unify: Career, Community Development & Leadership
Andrew Guillen has spent the last two decades working as an advocate for indigenous peoples and urban-dwelling, underrepresented populations in the areas of behavioral health, epidemiology and health education and promotion. A descendant of the Cahuilla and Luiseno tribes of Southern California and a fourth-generation urban American Indian who grew up among the culturally diverse landscape of Los Angeles, he is well versed in issues facing indigenous peoples living in urban environments.

For the past 11 years he has been employed with the Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB) during which time he has managed health promotion and education projects that focused on improving outcomes in substance abuse treatment, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, obesity and youth behavioral health systems. During this time he has had a role in developing, coordinating and implementing projects funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Indian Health Service, National Institutes of Health, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Before joining SIHB, past work included developing evidence-based smoking cessation programs and as a mental health clinician in a variety of health settings. Guillen received a Master of Science degree in clinical psychology from Washington State University. Previous research efforts sought to examine and explain how important and relevant cultural differences are in regards to when and why Natives seek out contemporary health services. This work also examined the significance of traditional medicine and the role that the patient plays in non-Western treatment modalities. Work with Dr. Steven Meier, at the University of Idaho, helped to establish a comprehensive, statewide, baseline report of American Indian substance use in Idaho.

Rachel Heaton
#Resist Session: Social Justice & Leadership
Rachel Heaton is a member of the Muckleshoot Tribe and a descendant of the Duwamish People. She has traveled several times back and forth to support the efforts at Standing Rock, whether through fundraising efforts, holding ceremonies, bringing her children to camp or providing help and support to other water protectors at camp and locally. She is a member of the Seattle Action No DAPL Coalition, the group that led the victory to get the City of Seattle to divest its $3 billion from Wells Fargo, one of the many banks invested in the Dakota Access Pipeline. She is also one of the co-founders of Mazaska Talks, an online resource for those interested in divesting their cities and communities founded by her, Matt Remle, Gyasi Ross and Edwin Lindo. When her activities aren’t involving being a mother and activist, she and friend/fellow tribal member Angelica Roberts also run a fitness and nutrition consulting business that specializes working with women, youth and her tribal communities. She also works for her tribe in education. Her mission is to empower individuals to be a voice and show that we are devoted to making this world a better place for us and future generations.

Swil KanimSwil Kanim
Keynote Speaker (Morning)
Swil Kanim is a U.S. Army veteran, storyteller, actor and classically trained violinist who grew up in Washington state. For many years he has traveled up and down the West Coast, playing violin and telling stories at schools, community events and festivals. He plays his own compositions, which incorporate classical influences but are infused with his own life and musical influences. Kanim has been a featured performer at the American Indian Film Awards in San Francisco since 2003. The recipient of many awards and honors, Kanim performed at the West Coast American Indian Music Awards in 2008, where he was presented with both the classical and traditional instrument awards. That same year he was invited to perform for the Dalai Lama at Key Arena in Seattle for the Seeds of Compassion event. He passionately encourages and inspires people of all walks of life to honor their vision and follow their passion.

 Raymond L KingfisherRaymond L. Kingfisher
#Resist Session: Social Justice & Leadership
Raymond L. Kingfisher is an American Indian community activist and member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana. Fluent in Cheyenne language, he resides in Federal Way. He was first exposed to civil disobedience at the age of 15 in October-November 1972 during the Bureau of Indian Affairs take over in Washington, D.C. He is former owner of the American Indian Entertainment and Dance Co. of Desert Hot Springs, Calif. He participates in Native American song, dance and way of life. He was a supply runner and occupant of Oceti Sakowin Resistance Camp at Standing Rock, N.D. He believe in the power of prayer, Native American prayer, the original form of prayer on these Native lands. For more information, contact cuatda49@yahoo.com.

Sara Marie OrtizSara Marie Ortiz
#Reclaim: Native Student Roundtable
Sara Marie Ortiz (Pueblo of Acoma) is a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts and Antioch University Los Angeles’ MFA program with a concentration in creative nonfiction. She’s formally studied law, Indigenous education, global self-determination in Indigenous communities, journalism, radio, theater, critical theory and film. Ortiz has worked in the realm of Native arts, education and culture advocacy for over 16 years, from her first days as a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts to present day. She has published widely and has been featured in such publications as the Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, the Florida Review, the American Indian Graduate, Indian Country Today Media Network, and has presented widely at tribal schools, tribal colleges, conferences, universities, cultural centers and community hubs from New Mexico to Johannesburg, South Africa. She lives in Burien, is a former board member of the Washington State Indian Education Association and is currently the Native Student Success Program Manager for Highline Public Schools.

Dallas Pinkham
#Rise: Career and College: What Should I Do?
Dallas Pinkham is an enrolled Yakama tribal member and is of Southern Cheyenne descent. He has lived on the Yakama reservation in central Washington, as well as the Puget Sound area centered around Seattle. For the past 10 years, he has been teaching, advocating, mentoring and facilitating urban and tribal youth in multi-media film. Through Red Eagle Soaring youth theater group, he has facilitated acting, directing, producing, public speaking and empowering youth. He has been recognized nationally by UNITY as 25 Under 25 Outstanding youth, accepted in Vision Maker Media and a Producer at KCTS 9 creating two films: “Indigenous Peoples Day” and “Visions from the 7th Generation.” Hibulb Film Festival has awarded the “3rd Best Documentary,” Best Youth Advocate Film, “Recognition,” and “Runner-Up Best Acting/Male” for his two films: “Clear Sky Basketball Camp 2010 Documentary” and “Honoring Lily.” He is a proud founding member of the local Clear Sky Native Youth Council and United Native Education Alliance. Pinkham has a strong belief in empowering youth through film, digital storytelling and performance. Through his work he promotes strength-based, positive programming for Native youth in the realm of nonprofits and local and national organizations.

Dayne PostDayne Post
#Reclaim: Native Student Roundtable
Dayne Paul Post is currently a student at Highline College. He is actively pursuing a double minor in network security engineering and data recovery forensics, with hopes of becoming a cybersecurity architect.

Matt RemleMatt Remle
Keynote Speaker (Afternoon)
Matt Remle (Hunkpapa Lakota) lives in Seattle and works for the Office of Indian Education in the Marysville/Tulalip school district. He is a writer and editor for Last Real Indians. He’s the author of Seattle’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day resolution, Seattle’s resolution calling on Congress to engage in reconciliation with Tribes over the Boarding School Era policies and Seattle’s resolution to oppose the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. He recently organized Seattle’s campaign to divest from Wells Fargo. In 2014, Remle was awarded Seattle’s Individual Human Rights Leader award.

Kyle-SchierbeckKyle Schierbeck
#Unify: Career, Community Development & Leadership
Kyle Schierbeck has been married 23 years and has three children, all attended schools in the Highline School District. He is a shareholder and project executive at a prominent Seattle mechanical contracting company, Holaday Parks, for the past 15 years. He has successfully negotiated hundreds of local projects, including high-rise residential, medical office buildings, student dorms, offices, museums and schools. Specializing in HVAC and plumbing, he went through a five-year apprenticeship program 28 years ago, with Local 66 Sheet Metal Workers, learning fabrication, AutoCAD and installation. Recognized in the HVAC industry as an expert, he has taught estimating, foremen and project management training, seminars at Washington State University and at many local general contractors’ offices. In sales now, he specializes in contract negotiations.

As enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, he actively brings together Native People to celebrate life and culture through drum group and ceremony. Currently his nonprofit is sponsoring a powwow on Memorial Day weekend under the Space Needle as an extension of the Folklife Festival.

 Juvalee-TwissJuvalee Twiss
#Reclaim: Native Student Roundtable
Juvalee Twiss is enrolled with the Yankton Sioux Tribe. She is 21, lives in Auburn and is attending Highline College to obtain a degree in chemical dependency. Twiss attended the Muckleshoot Career Day as a college panelist and is an active participant in the Native Student Success Seminar program at Highline College. While attending Highline, Twiss has received her high school diploma through the Gateway to College program, became certified in CPR/First AID, and has a GPA of 3.5. Twiss plans to continue at Highline College for her applied bachelor’s degree in Youth Development. She moved here from South Dakota two years ago and looks forward to the many opportunities presented to her and is proud to represent her tribe.