NIWRC Welcomes New Staff Members
Strengthening Our Efforts to Support Tribes and Grassroots Advocates
Planting seeds for change, the staff of National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) is pleased to share the hiring of additional staff to support the organization’s ongoing efforts to offer culturally based technical assistance and training, advocacy, and programmatic and policy development for Tribes and grassroots advocates. The new members of the NIWRC team include Jovita Belgarde (Ohkay Owingeh and Isleta Pueblos of New Mexico and the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Nation of North Dakota) as the organization’s first Youth Program Specialist; Carolyn Gresham as Grant Management Specialist; Kelsey Foote (Tlingit) as Communications Specialist; and the first ARP Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence Technical Assistance and Training Specialist, Lisa Marie Iyotte (A’aninin).
Jovita Beldarde is from the Ohkay Owingeh and Isleta Pueblos of New Mexico and the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Nation of North Dakota. She is passionate about working with Native youth and making positive social change in Native communities. Jovita received her B.A. in Criminology from the University of New Mexico and received her Prevention Specialist Certification from the New Mexico Credentialing Board for Behavioral Health Professionals. She has worked in the prevention field for seven years prior to coming to NIWRC, working with Native youth doing violence prevention, suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention, and experiential education. As our new Youth Program Specialist, Jovita will continue to work from a strength-based perspective that encourages growth, healing, and intentionality. She believes that youth engagement is key to creating strong healthy communities.
“Native youth are our future leaders and they deserve caring support,” Belgarde said. “We should uplift their voices to advocate for their communities and eliminate violence against all of our relatives. NativeLove should be a vehicle for Indigenous youth-led advocacy that can drive solidarity, kinship, and anti-violence work for future generations.”
“Native youth are our future leaders and they deserve caring support.”
—Jovita Belgarde, Ohkay Owingeh and Isleta Pueblos of New Mexico and the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Nation of North Dakota, Youth Program Specialist
Carolyn Gresham joins NIWRC as the Grant Management Specialist. Carolyn has 15 years of grant management experience working with State government, Tribal government, and nonprofit organizations. She has a B.A. in Accounting as well as a M.A. in International Forensic Accounting. Carolyn looks forward to helping NIWRC grow their grant portfolio to further the mission of providing national leadership to end violence against Indigenous women.
The organization’s newest Communications Specialist, Kelsey Foote, is Raven, Taakw.aaneidí. Kelsey grew up in Southeast Alaska, learning about her Tlingit culture through the Johnson O’Malley Program and the Sitka Native Education Program. Before earning her degree in English from the University of Alaska Anchorage, Kelsey completed an internship within her department, revising the curriculum of ENGL A434: Rhetoric and Composition Research to include Indigenous methodologies and ways of knowing.
Most recently, Kelsey completed a project as a children’s book illustrator for Baby Raven Reads, an award-winning program through Sealaska that promotes early literacy, language development, and school readiness for Alaska Native families. Kelsey’s work focuses on cultural preservation, educational materials, and the representation of Indigenous peoples in media.
“The representation of Indigenous peoples in media is critical in addressing issues—crises that are lacking national recognition,” Foote said. “As a Communications Specialist, I am hoping to support NIWRC publications and media in lifting up the collective voices of advocates and survivors, bringing such issues to light.”
Lisa Marie Iyotte is NIWRC’s first ARP Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence Technical Assistance and Training Specialist joining the Technical Assistance and Training team. Lisa has advocated for ending violence against Indigenous women for more than 19 years. She applies her personal experience and knowledge of healing through spirituality to provide culturally responsive services to individuals, Tribes, and nonprofits.
Before joining the NIWRC, Lisa volunteered and worked for a number of nonprofits serving Indigenous cultures across the Upper Midwest. She has received several awards and spoken nationally including at The White House to advance the rights of Indigenous women and their children.
Lisa grew up on the Sicangu Makoce, the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota where her mother, Roseanne Cochran (Packard), is an enrolled Tribal member. Lisa is an enrolled Tribal member as A’aninin of the Fort Belknap Gros Ventre Tribe in Montana where her father, Ruben Cochran, is from.