Top Issues Facing Native Americans Panel Discussion
Darrell L. Felipe resides and works on the Pueblo of Acoma located 60 miles west of Albuquerque in New Mexico and has been affiliated with Acoma’s Tribal Employment Rights Office for 6 years. He has been instrumental in improving the Pueblo of Acoma’s unemployment problem and has helped well over 50 tribal members gain useful employment with Contractors and their Subs doing business on or near tribal lands. New Mexico currently has only four (4) TERO offices ands continues to advocate to other Pueblos and Tribes, the need, and advantages of establishing TERO offices. Acoma is a member of the Southwest Region Tribal Employment Offices (SWRTERO) for the past 5 years.
Darrell obtained his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix in 1997 and followed with a Master of Business Administration in 2002. He has worked with several major companies during his career such as Wells Fargo Bank, New York Life and Fidelity Investments to name a few. Darrell has raised 4 children and has 15 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. His goal for Acoma TERO is to bring Acoma’s 30% unemployment rate to under 10% in the next 4 years and plans to do this by community outreach and to provide no cost training to tribal members in various occupations such as NCCER certification in Heavy Equipment Operations, CDL Class A & B Licensing readiness, Carpentry, HVAC and other occupational careers.
Natalie Nardecchia is a Senior Trial Attorney in the Los Angeles District Office and has been with EEOC since 2018. She is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation and has daughters who are members of the Muscogee Creek Nation and Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.
He was born and raised on the EBCI reservation in Cherokee, NC. He joined the Navy at 18 and served four years. In 2007, he was deployed to the Persian gulf on the USS Enterprise. After being honorably discharged, he attended undergrad at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. He then attended law school at Charlotte School of Law and passed the NC Bar in 2017, when he also founded Crowe Law, PLLC. In the past five years, he has since focused his practice on Tribal Employment Rights (TERO), Administrative law, and government relations. Randall is also a proud father and husband.
In January 2019, Ms. Terri Henry began work in the position of TERO Director. She oversees the daily operations and administration, and, offers strategic guidance in TERO’s mission to implement the Tribe’s employment preference laws on tribal lands including program development. Terri is from the Paint Town Community and brings 25 years of experience in Cherokee Tribal government and national leadership to her position with TERO. Notably, her governance work experience includes three terms (or six years) on the Cherokee Tribal Council – serving one term as the first Chairwoman – and an appointment as the tribe’s first Secretary of State. Ms. Henry is a co-founder of the National Congress of American Indians Task Force on Violence Against Women, where she led the effort to make needed structural changes in federal law through the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 and the Violence Against Women Act of 2000, 2005 and 2013. Terri worked to bring awareness to the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and lobbying for the declaration of the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls. Ms. Henry was appointed as an Independent Expert for North America on the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 2017-2019. She also has a background in small business and nonprofit work. Terri earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Law.
Jonathan Arakawa is an enrolled member of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe. Mr. Arakawa is the Co-Vice President of the National Congress of American Indians Youth Commission (NCAI-YC) and Secretary and Northwest Regional Representative to the National UNITY Council Executive Committee (NUC-EC). Mr. Arakawa is a recent recipient of UNITY’s 25 Under 25 National Leadership Recognition Award. Outside of NCAI and UNITY, Mr. Arakawa is a student at The Evergreen State College and Peninsula College, studying for his Bachelor of Arts in Tribal Governance. He is also a Klallam Language Teacher, recently appointed to the Klallam Language Teacher Certification Board, and serves as Minister of the Lower Elwha 1910 Indian Shaker Church. Since birth, Mr. Arakawa’s family has instilled leadership qualities, cultural values, and traditional teachings into him. These qualities, values, and teachings lead Mr. Arakawa in pursuit of his work and advocacy for Indian Country.
One of Mr. Arakawa’s tireless advocacy efforts and strong platforms in his NCAI-YC Vice Presidency and NUC-EC Northwest Regional Representation is for Native American History to be taught from the Native Perspective in Washington State public schools, and public schools throughout the United States, while assuring an equitable and inclusive educational system for Native American students. These advocacy efforts have led him to work in the Port Angeles School District (PASD) for nearly two years as a Native American Specialist for the PASD AmeriCorps Program—a National Service position—working alongside strong Native American educators.
Mr. Arakawa looks forward to working with our local, regional, state, and federal counterparts to address issues that affect Native youth and Indian Country while bringing all Tribal Nations together to further amplify the strength of our ancestors that run through Indian Country’s veins and unleash our multi-generational strength, wisdom, and resiliency to be that generation of leaders our ancestors prayed for. He believes everyone has a place, every single person is a leader, and when we come together as a Native America, our collective strength is incalculable.