Staff

Norine Hill, Oneida Nation of the Thames
Chief Executive Officer/Founder – Mother Nation

Norine Hill, Founder of Mother Nation created the vision to support the success of Native Sisters by way of cultural prayers and Sisterhood during times of crisis.  The vision created a Sisterhood of Native women with Haudenosaunee (People of the Longhouse) teachings of Respect, Friendship, and trust.  Elders came forward to support the vision and became the Board of Directors.  Norine was appointed by the Board as the Chief Executive Officer months later. Within a year, Native Women In Need became a non-profit charitable 501 (C) (3) organization later changing its name to reflect its growth to Mother Nation.  Norine has over 25 years of Executive Management experience building non-profits, cultural programs, networking and collaborations with various Tribal entities while managing and building infrastructure.  Norine is a survivor of multi-abuse trauma, homelessness, and alcoholism.  Her strong leadership, faith and love for her Native Sisters elevated the volunteer group to a non-profit charitable organization covering Washington and beyond. Norine lives a traditional lifestyle in recovery for 13 years free from drugs and alcohol.   She continues to create partnerships, collaborations and networking to ensure Native women have the support necessary to fulfill their goals. 

Elder Ramona Ahto, CDP, BAS – Yakama Nation,  Board Chair

Elder Ramona Ahto’s thirty-seven years of work in the addictions field with 35 years in recovery, a strong cultural background and exemplary facilitation skills are an asset to Mother Nation.  She is treasured and highly respected in the Native AA Community and Native American community of Seattle.  Elder “Mona” maintains her Chemical Dependency license, and with her BAS, and 35 years of cultural teachings, her experience and knowledge are a true blessing of leadership to the Mother Nation Board.  Mona also appeared in the television series “Northern Exposure,” and was honored the 2014 Enduring Spirit Award.

Henry M. Cagey, Councilman – Lummi Nation, Board Treasurer
Henry Cagey is a strong leader known across Indian Country for his dedication towards changing policy and accessing funds to strengthen health and wellness for Indian people serving as Board Member and Chair for several non-profits.  His commitment to the Lummi Nation for 28 years resulted in Directors of TERO, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Economic Development Director, with 19 years’ on the Lummi Indian Business Council, 12 years of which were spent serving as Tribal Chairman.  Henry has shaped many federal policies including health, housing, natural resources, transportation, and education.  His funding accomplishments include federal Departments of Transportation, Labor, the Interior, Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service, Veterans Administration, Department of Agriculture, Education, and Commerce with $25 million in support to Lummi Nation priorities.

Sister Julie Codd, Sisters of Saint Joseph of Peace –  Board Secretary

Sister Julie Codd is a treasure to have join the Mother Nation leadership Team months after its creation.  She has been integral to garner support in the faith communities of Western Washington for awareness and participants needs.  Her soft spoken words, commitment and sweet spirit is a blessing to the leadership.  Born February 1962 entered the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Peace in Bellingham, WA.  She was a catalyst in the evolution of the Chief Seattle Club and has maintained an active and vibrant ministry with Native American communities before, during and since her time as Director of the Center. Sister Julie began her work in the Native American community 38 years ago with the Swinomish Tribe.  She received the Gertrude Apel 2012 Pioneering Spirit Award.

Elder Alma Goddard, Mexican/Native American –  Board of Directors

Elder Alma Goddard is an active member for over 35 years in the movement to end violence against women.  Her work at the Seattle Indian Health Board has created several collaborations, DV programs on and off-reserve.  Alma’s work with the Women Spirit Coalition in outreach, facilitation of many workshops and training in areas of domestic violence and sexual assault is highly respected amongst the Pacific Northwest Tribes.  Alma’s work in Indian Country also includes presentations and workshops on internalized oppression, historical and intergenerational trauma, and healing.  Alma’s personal experience and knowledge as a cancer survivor, survivor of domestic violence, foster child and compassion to continue in the movement to end violence against women is a definite asset to the Leadership Team! Alma also volunteers her time providing Domestic Violence Advocacy Training to the Mother Nation Mentees and Staff.  She is a treasure and blessing and contributes to the organization’s success!

Deborah Parker, Tulalip Tribes – Volunteer Policy Analyst

Deborah joined the Mother Nation Team as Policy Analyst in February 2016.  Prior to her new role, Deborah was an Honorary Board Member since 2013, after eight months of supporting Mother Nation through advocacy, donation of funds and house items along with clothing. She is known nationally in advocating the passage of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Her work in D.C. with the Obama Administration amongst many other environmental roles protecting the Salish Sea, Board Member on the Native Indigenous Women’s Resource Council, and former Vice-Chair of Tulalip Tribes.  Her public speaking engagements travel across the U.S. with recent work in Paris at World Indigenous Environmental events.  Deborah volunteers her time to support Native women rights in multi-abuse trauma. She is a true blessing to Indian Country representing and protecting Mother Earth and the rights of Indigenous Native Sisters of Turtle Island. 

Elder Arlene Red Elk, MA – Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Circle of Life Workshop Series Master Designer and Facilitator

Elder Arlene Red Elk is a member of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and Lead Facilitator and master designer of the Circle of Life workshop series.  Her four decades of experience serving thousands of women is known across Indian Country due to her creative talents to design such services such as the original Ina Maka program at United Indians of All Tribes Foundation. With 33 years in recovery, a Masters, Elder Arlene specializes in multi-abuse trauma of violence against women.  She has mastered the skills of combining culture to clinical practice.  Her work as a survivor of multi-abuse trauma provide her the compassion impacting the lives of hundreds of Native women.

Velma Wyena, “Umtahloot,”Yakama Nation/Muckleshoot – Cultural Services Support

Velma is a candidate in the Chemical Dependency Program at Northwest Indian College, Muckleshoot Campus.  She gains internship hours with lead Mother Nation facilitators in cultural services and Native Chemical Dependency classes.  She received her Recovery Coach Training through Northwest Indian Treatment Center and joined the Mother Nation Mentorship program in January 2014.  Velma’s leadership and compassion for Native women as a survivor and four years of sobriety, promoted her to leadership in Gathering of Women sweats.  Velma conducts and supports Elders at the Gathering of Women community sweats from the surrounding Tribes and works with Circle of Life Series Facilitator as the Cultural Services Support.  We are very blessed to have her join the Mother Nation family!

Lydia Juarez, Blackfeet – Homeless Prevention Case Manager

Lydia Juarez is a member of the Blackfeet Nation. She has over 25 years of experience serving disenfranchised communities, including 12 years of direct service work with Native American children, youth and families. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Washington (Seattle) and Evergreen State College, with a focus on Social Welfare. She also has a Paralegal Certificate from Bates Vocational College. Lydia has been a Homeless Prevention Case Manager for Mother Nation, since November 2017.

Michelle Comeau, Standing Rock Hunkapapa Lakota – Housing Specialist

Michelle joined Mother Nation in March of 2018.  Prior to this new position, she both earned her A.A.S degree in Health and Human Services, and served as an intern with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe.  She brings her passion and strong voice for grassroots advocacy and empowerment into her case management role as Housing Specialist.  Michelle is one who will always follow the call in her desire to serve and strengthen Native communities.

 

Yvette Pinkham, So. Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes – Cultural Services Coordinator

Yvette is a member of the So. Cheyenne tribe and has a wealth of 19+ year’s working experience with underrepresented and diverse youth/families and Elders. She is a life-long student of Traditional teachings, Holistic practices, and Wellness education. With her background as a Chemical Dependency Professional, an Indian Child Welfare foster care social worker, and as a Wellness coach, Yvette brings enthusiasm, patience, positive attitude, serene personality to her role as Cultural Services Coordinator at Mother Nation. She is dedicated to giving back to the Native community and is honored to serve as a Red Eagle Soaring board member and volunteer/mentor with Clear Sky Native Youth Council for the past 8 years. She is an Adult Child of Alcoholics (ACA) and overcame with a miraculous recovery from a paralysis injury. We feel blessed to have her join the Mother Nation family.

 

Corinna Stasso, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes/ Spokane – Mother Nation Cultural Support – Circle of Life Workshop Series/ Mantee/ Administration

Raised in Seattle and Spokane, Corinna enjoys crafts and learning new projects.  She loves supporting the Circle of Life craft activities, traditional foods and meeting a lot of strong woman along the way.   Corinna believes in conservation and helping the environment and has her own sweet grass and organic veggies garden with the “three sisters” corn, beans and squash.  Her goal is to teach crafts, run sweats and grow healthy Native traditional foods to future generations to promote a healthier way of living.
 
“I always want to improve myself and learn from others and I am thankful to Mother Nation Mentorship Program.  It helps keep me going on a better path and positive mindset in an urban environment.  It’s a struggle to hang on to this simple luxury of sweat.  Living in a city isn’t always easy for these things and this program helps with urban Native woman who otherwise couldn’t have a place to sweat to potluck to pray together or to empower one another.  Thanks for inviting me to be a part of the Mother Nation community.”

 

 

Megan Ireland, Oneida – Summer Intern

Megan began her internship at Mother Nation during the summer of 2018 after moving to the Seattle area from the Oneida Nation of the Thames, in Ontario.   Megan brings a strong and grounded voice in her advocacy for First Nation communities across Canada and the US.