The many variations of mica minerals come from the diverse ways in which they are formed. Easily recognizable by the brilliant shine of its crystalline layers, mica is responsible for the flashes of light seen in many composite rocks. When combined with other minerals, mica forms the strongest of rocks.
Every culture has its own unique brilliance and strength. MICA Group brings other “minerals” – in the form of partners – to our projects so that, when combined, cultures and nations form the strongest of rocks.
In 2006, Wilma Mankiller (Cherokee) and Della Warrior (Otoe-Missouria) established the MICA Group as a vehicle to share their fundraising and programmatic expertise with underserved Indigenous communities. The founders recognized that Indigenous communities need greater access to public and philanthropic support and sustainable partnerships. They understood that, in Indigenous communities, only community-driven approaches would be effective and sustainable. Incubated for three years under the umbrella of Chief Mankiller’s nonprofit, One Fire, MICA was a fiscally sponsored project of the Tides Foundation from 2009-2017.
In 2017, MICA became a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization in its own right. Although Chief Mankiller passed away in 2010, MICA President and CEO Della Warrior ensures that the Founders’ vision of strong, culturally rich, sovereign Native communities guides MICA today.
With working relationships with over 300 Tribal Nations, federal agencies, NGOs, mission-aligned corporations, and private philanthropy, MICA is well-positioned to encourage tribes and tribal communities to dream big for their people and to support them in mobilizing resources to make these dreams achievable.
Della Warrior, M.A. (Otoe-Missouria) President and CEO
MICA’s President and CEO is a woman of firsts: First woman Chair of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, first woman President of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), and first woman Director of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, NM. Warrior is a member of the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame.
Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee) Senior Advisor
Dr. Harjo is President of The Morning Star Institute, a national Native rights organization. President Barack Obama awarded Dr. Harjo the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor in 2014.
W. Richard West, Jr., M.A., J.D. (Southern Cheyenne) Board Member Rick West is the founding Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.
Walter Echo-Hawk, J.D. (Pawnee Nation) Board Member
A committed culture bearer. Walter Echo-Hawk is the immediate past president of the Pawnee Nation.
Valorie Johnson, PhD (Seneca/Cayuga and Eastern Cherokee) Board Member
Dr. Johnson was a program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for 24 years.
Sam Cata (Ohkay Owingeh) Board Member
Sam Cata is the former Director of the State Historic Preservation Division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.
Tishmall Turner, MBA (Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians) Board Member Tishmall Turner currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Rincon Band.
Richard Trudell, J.D. (Santee Sioux) Advisory Board, Cultural Resources Fund
Peggy Mainor, J.D. Executive Director, MICA Group and Cultural Resource Fund Administrator
Peggy Mainor has been Executive Director of the MICA Group since 2014. During her tenure, MICA has raised $40 million for tribal communities. She previously served as Senior Advisor to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC).
Mona Polacca, MSW (Havasupai/Hopi/Tewa) Senior Tribal Liaison
Mona is a long time active participant in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues.
Jacob Manatowa-Bailey (Sauk) Director, Language Program
Marshall McKay (Pomo/Wintun) (1952 – 2020) Board Member, CRF
Wilma Mankiller (Cherokee) (1945 – 2010) MICA Founder
First woman Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Ford Foundation Trustee, and Congressional Medal of Freedom recipient, Chief Mankiller’s vision and spirit imbue MICA today.