Les Begay







Les, an enrolled member of the Dine Nation, has spent his 30+ year career in Sales Management and Operations in the Telecommunications sector.  His experience includes working with sales teams, OEM's, distributors and wireless operators both domestically and internationally.  He is currently  involved with Business Development as a consultant for wireless operators and Native Nations' wireless system upgrades.  He is a graduate of the University of Kansas.  



Adam A. Fahey

Vice President

Caddo/Delaware Nations of Oklahoma



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Kelli Covey







Kelli Covey is a trainer, facilitator, mediator, coach and organizational development consultant with over 20 years’ experience working with both nonprofit organizations and corporations. She is the founder ofthe Covey Group, a small group of dedicated practitioners committed to reflection and dialogue as a means to build community and support equity and inclusion efforts.

Kelli is also a certified mediator through the Chicago-based Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR).  She mediates regularly in the Cook County court system and handles a variety of mediation cases, including victim-offender mediation and juvenile and family cases. She also leads conflict management workshops for a variety of organizations. She is also proud to serve as a board member and officer of the American Indian Center, one of the oldest urban-based Native community centers in the United States.





Forrest Bruce


Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe







Forrest is a new Chicago resident and  a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe. He recently graduated from Northwestern with a degree in Education & Social Policy and a minor in Psychology. He currently works as a Research Coordinator with Northwestern University. He is passionate about helping Native youth find their voice and plans to attend grad school so he can learn to develop curricula and spaces that center Indigenous knowledge and perspectives. He is a singer with RedLine and a volunteer tutor with the Native Scholars program. His hobbies include basketball, reading, chess and other board games. 




Aaron Golding

Board Member






Aaron Golding is an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation. He studied fiction writing and storytelling at Columbia College Chicago, earning a BA and MFA. Upon graduation, Aaron turned to the non-profit sector to support education-based programs at various organizations around Chicago. Recognizing the impact that writing and the arts had upon his education, Aaron pursued opportunities as a volunteer, instructor, and administrator to ensure that young people living in traditionally underserved communities had access to high-quality art instruction. He is currently working to support and enrich the Native student experience as an Assistant Director at Northwestern University. Aaron enjoys spending time with his family, writing and telling stories, playing music, listening and learning.


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Melyssa Navis

Board Member







American Indian Center Board Secretary, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Native American/Alaska Native Special Emphasis Program Manager, Illinois Indian Child Welfare Act Council Secretary, and Native News Online Contributing Writer. Served 8 years for the U.S. Army Reserves and U.S. Army National Guard.

Over 25 years volunteering with child advocacy, animal welfare and environmental justice organizations.  Bachelors in Public Policy from De Paul University, Masters in Environmental and Urban Geography from University of Illinois at Chicago. With special interests in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Indigenous Advocacy and performing as a violinist. Of Brazilian & German descent.


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Ashlee Pinto

Board Member





Ashlee Pinto has been a member of the community since her employment at the Center as a Research Assistant in the Education Department. Currently, she is an attorney at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, practicing corporate law. Ashlee graduated from DePaul University, cum laude, with her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Relations. She then went on to law school at Stanford Law School and graduated with her Juris Doctorate in 2015. She has lived in the Bay Area, New York, Washington D.C. and has finally made her way home to Chicago.


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Dorene Wiese

Board Member

White Earth Ojibwe





Dr. Dorene Wiese, White Earth Ojibwe,enrolled, is the founding president of the American Indian Association of Illinois and CEO of NAES,Inc(formerly NAES College.) Dr. Wiese has served as a professor of American Indian studies at Eastern Illinois University and NAES College.She served as an Illinois Community College administrator for over 20 years. She has spent a life time advocating for urban American Indian education and American Indian health.She was the first American Indian to be appointed to the Cook County Health and Hospital Systems board, serving as the Chair, Human Resources for this 1.5 billion dollar non-profit. She currently heads the Black Hawk Performance Company and the Chicago American Indian Museum Without Walls.



Jack Campbell

Board Member