How We Work.

For each project, MICA calls upon a diverse team of specialists in community development, government relations, grant writing, technical assistance, fundraising, project management, program development, public/private partnerships, establishing nonprofits, board development, marketing, media, strategic collaborations, and prevention campaigns. For representative projects, see Our Work below.

Our team has expertise working with American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Latino, Hispanic, and African American communities, as well as with indigenous peoples of Latin America, Southern Africa, and the Pacific.

Fiscal Responsibility

MICA was recognized as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization by the Internal Revenue Service in June 2017.

MANAGEMENT TEAM

Peggy Mainor brings 25 years of management experience to the MICA team. From 2008-2010, she was the Director of Program Development for the Office of the State’s Attorney for the City of Baltimore, with responsibility for high-level community and governmental partnerships.

She previously served as Executive Director of the Baltimore Child Abuse Center, a private nonprofit organization that coordinates Baltimore’s child abuse investigations and provides multidisciplinary services for over 1,200 children each year.  In that capacity, she reported to a 12-member Board of Directors including the Baltimore Police Commissioner, the Director of the Baltimore Department of Social Services, and the State’s Attorney for Baltimore. The Baltimore Child Abuse Center was recognized as Maryland’s most outstanding domestic violence program in 1995.

From 2001-2003, Ms. Mainor served as Senior Counsel to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), which represents 37 American Indian Tribal Colleges and Universities.

In 1999, Ms. Mainor was named the American Bar Association’s Child Advocate of the Year, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation selected her as a Child and Family Fellow. During her Fellowship, she lived and worked on the Ft. Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Reservation in Montana and worked in the White House as Fellow to President Bill Clinton’s Senior Advisor for Indian Affairs.

From 1982-1986, Ms. Mainor was Counsel and then General Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Courts (D-Minority).

She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, where she majored in Native American Studies and co-chaired the Native American Students Association (NASA). Her law degree is from Georgetown. While there, she taught legal research and writing to first year students, served as an Equal Justice Foundation Fellow, and was an editor of the Tax Lawyer law review.

Ms. Mainor and her husband were emergency foster parents for the Baltimore Department of Social Services from 1987-1994.  They have two daughters.

Linda Logan was the President/CEO of Native American Pathways, which provides training and technical assistance to Tribal communities and non-native organizations. She served on the U.S. Attorney General’s Federal Advisory Committee – Office of Victims of Crime National Coordination Committee on American Indian Alaska Native SANE-SART, National Children’s Alliance Cultural Competency Accreditation Task Force, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiians Expert Panel.  She served on the National Indian Child Welfare Association’s Board of Directors and chaired the Program Committee.

She served as a professional peer grant reviewer and conducted reviews for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Social Security Administration.

She raised over $10 million from various grant sources, and she has provided training and technical assistance in fundraising, strategic planning, program development and management, partnerships and media.

Ms. Logan formerly served as the Executive Director of the Native American Children’s Alliance, a national intertribal nonprofit that supports Tribal communities in strengthening community response to investigation and prosecution of child abuse crimes within reservations. More recently, she was with ZERO TO THREE, where she held the position of Tribal Technical Assistance (TA) Specialist, providing support to Affordable Care Act Tribal Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) tribal grantees.

Ms. Logan holds a B.A. and M.S.W. from Boston College.

Ms. Polacca, a Hopi, Havasupai, and Tewa Elder, is the Executive Director of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. She also serves as President/CEO of the Turtle Island Project, a nonprofit that promotes wellness by providing transcultural training to healthcare institutions. The focus of her work is international justice. She has worked on issues of Indigenous peoples relating to water, and social and health issues, including issues realting to Native Elders.

Ms. Polacca is a member of the World Council of Religious and Spiritual Leaders, and serves on several United Nations committees. She is a featured author, speaker and educator on Indigenous Peoples’ human rights.

Ms. Polacca holds a Masters’ Degree in Social Work.

Ms. Harper, born and raised in Cass Lake, MN,  has been a public policy researcher and advocate for 20+ years. She has testified and provided subject matter expertise to State and Federal House and Senate finance/appropriations committees, US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, US Health and Human Services Department, US Department of Education, and the US Department of the Interior. She is especially proud to consult with tribal nations in MN, WI, MI, ND, ONT, and MB regarding sovereignty in education through enactment of Native American language reclamation policies and actions.

Ms. Harper is a co-founder of an Ojibwe language immersion school and helped with teaching, curriculum development, professional development, and fundraising for ten years at the school prior to transitioning to work on tribal policy issues in the Government Relations office with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe governing body. She is the President of the National Coalition of Native American Language Schools and Programs, which advocates to uphold civil rights for education sites that provide education primarily through a Native American language.  She is a member of the American Indian Advisory Committee at the University of MN-Morris since 2013.

Jacob Manatowa-Bailey (Sauk) was the founding Director of the Sauk Language Department for the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma from 2005-2016.  Under his leadership the Sauk Language Department developed a team-based Master Apprentice model and created the first conversationally proficient Second Language Acquisition (SLA) speakers of the Sauk language.  

Concurrently, he served as founding Director of the Center for Tribal Languages at Bacone College. In partnership with participating Indigenous language programs, he created the Tribal Languages Degree Program, a Bachelor’s degree in language revitalization that provides students the opportunity to engage in intensive immersion learning while simultaneously gaining on-site internship experience working with Indigenous language programs.  

He currently coordinates the MICA Group’s Next Steps Project, providing planning and development assistance to Indigenous language programs. His primary areas of interest are grassroots organizing, leadership, and the human dynamics of creating conversationally proficient SLA speakers.

Raised in New Mexico, Eric has had a lifelong concern for, and interest in, the cultures and worldviews of American Indians. The depth of his interest ultimately led to his serving as the Executive Director of the American Indian Institute (AII) in Bozeman, Montana, where he worked for 15 years. At AII, he helped create programs to ensure the perpetuation of the ancient wisdom and cultural heritage of North America’s Native people, and to promote a greater understanding of that wisdom among all people.

Eric works with a network of grassroots traditional leaders from Indian Nations through North America. In addition to his work with the MICA Group, he works for The Nature Conservancy in its Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities initiative, and for the Sacred Fire Foundation as Elder Liaison and Events Coordinator. He currently serves on the Indigenous Task Force for the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

Prior to his work with AII, Eric served for six years as Director of Development for PERC, an environmental think tank based in Bozeman, Montana. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Eric worked in New York, London, and San Francisco for the international finance company Credit Suisse First Boston.

Eric lives in Bozeman with his wife and three middle and high school-aged children. He earned his undergraduate degree from Colgate University in 1986, and a graduate degree from the Columbia University School of Business in 1992.

Ms. Bishop is the owner and primary consultant of WOBA Consulting. She comes to the Mica Group with over 10 years of combined private sector and government administrative and office management experience. She served as Director of Human Resources for a non-profit health and human services organization for the latter 3 years of her corporate career where she focused on building organizational structure, redeveloping data management systems and bringing a mindful approach to the business.

Ms. Bishop holds a Bachelor’s degree in business administration from Frostburg State University and a Master’s Degree in Integrative Coaching from Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH).  She received a graduate certificate in Life Coaching from MUIH, and has worked with executives, office staff, and community members to optimize their personal and professional development. Ms. Bishop assists MICA in building outstanding customer service, email management, project and data management, research and development, conference production, social media, public relations, and accounting.

CONSULTANTS

Dr. Rodriguez has over 30 years experience in education. As Director of Development at the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA), she oversaw projects to increase school/family/community partnerships and strengthen diverse community networks. She was instrumental in designing and establishing Texas’s federally-funded Parent Information and Resource Center (PIRC), an information and resource center for under-served populations. She guided the process and implementation of ENLACE (Engaging Latino Communities for Education), a national initiative designed to increase opportunities for Latinos to enter and complete college through partnerships.

Dr. Rodriguez is a former Program Director for Youth Development, Education, and Higher Education at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In that capacity, she managed projects and reviewed and assessed proposals in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. She also directed the Foundation’s Department of Human Resources, where she managed recruitment, training, development, and evaluation.

Dr. Rodriguez was Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Chief Negotiator for the Grand Rapids Public Schools. She also served as the City’s Community Relations Commissioner. Dr. Rodriguez consults on strategic planning, project and program evaluation, and impact assessment. Born in Venezuela and raised in the Dominican Republic, she began her career in the United States as a teacher and writer of bilingual curricula. She has taught in elementary and secondary schools and in higher education.

Dr. Rodriguez holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Aquinas College, a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Wayne State University, and a doctorate in education from the University of Michigan. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Aleena M. Kawe is an enrolled member of the Texas Band of Yaqui Indians with cultural ties to Old Pascua Pueblo in Tucson, Arizona. As founder and Principal of Red Star International, Aleena has more than 20 years experience working with indigenous communities in the U.S., Pacific Islands, and New Zealand. Much of her work has focused on strengthening partnerships to advance shared goals in the areas of public health capacity, tribally-driven and participatory research practices, community health assessment, and improvement planning. She is a strong advocate for indigenous self-determination and healthy communities.

Aleena has a Master’s degree in Public Health, Community Health Practice Concentration, from the University of Arizona, and a Bachelor’s degree in Education. Prior to Red Star, Aleena served as Education Director for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, where she led the development of a culturally-based charter high school and tribal library. She served as the administrator for the American Indian Research Center for Health at the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, and worked in Native American student affairs at the University of Arizona and Pima Community College.

Aleena is married to Frank Te Mihinui Kawe (Ngāti Ranginui/Ngāti Kahungunu), who is active in the traditional voyaging practices of the Maori people of Aotearoa (New Zealand).

Dr. Tachine’s work at the Center for Indian Education  advances ideas and strategies to increase Native college student success. She joined the center after receiving her doctoral degree in Higher Education at the University of Arizona. Dr. Tachine received the American Educational Research Association dissertation of the year award for “Division J” and received honorable mention recognition from the International Congress Qualitative Inquiry Dissertation Award. She led innovative mentoring programs where students mentor students in a cascading format (grad students help undergrads, undergrads help high school students).

She also participated in the Op-Ed Fellowship,  published in the Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, and The Hill.  President Obama recognized  Amanda through the White House Champions of Change program.

Mr. Garet Couch, a Shawnee tribal member, is the co-founder and President of the National Tribal Geographic Information Support Center (NTGISC).  The NTGISC and its website, TribalGIS.com, serve as a communication resource for geospatial information for Indian Country. The Tribal GIS™ organization provides a platform for tribal personnel, tribal members, faculty and students of tribal colleges/universities and supporting organizations to share professional information, progressive knowledge, and continuous education within a community of active GIS users serving tribal communities.  NTGISC helps organizations share their successes in GIS and promote knowledge sharing to help other communities and programs.

 Mr. Couch serves as Business Manager/Owner of Wind Environmental Services, L.L.C, a professional GIS firm providing GIS-related management, development, and performance of industry hardware, software, training/support, and consultation.  He is also an authorized instructor in multiple Trimble and ESRI applications and technologies. Mr. Couch has multiple publications on GIS and technology issues, and he is a Certified GIS Professional (GISP) through the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI).

Ms. Spencer is a strategic communications consultant and a partner in Blue Fox Communications Group. She brings 30+ years experience working with diverse national and international programs, including as the Creative Department Manager of the US FIFA World Cup, and for the past decade as Director of Communications for the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, where she functioned as the Tribe’s public affairs and community relations liaison, leading a senior management team in developing programs and initiatives targeted to meet tribal objectives. She guided the repositioning of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation tribal brand and the development of its Séka Hills retail brand across all platforms of communications, public relations, design and marketing materials. In 2012 she was a lead on the planning team that produced the NCAI Annual Conference cultural night in Sacramento.

Ms. Spencer specializes in culturally sensitive messaging, and projecting an organization’s core identity through creative solutions that reflect its authenticity and intention. She has expertise in public affairs, public relations, branding, marketing, and design and has produced major collateral programs, websites, environmental programs and public events.

Mark Burton, CPA, is a partner is the accounting firm Mister, Burton and French, LLC.

Mark is a former revenue agent with the Internal Revenue Service. Experienced in all aspects of tax planning, research and return preparation, Mark is the partner responsible for the firm’s continuing professional education program, tax compliance, and tax research. His specialty areas include: tax planning consultation and preparation for individuals, partnerships, and corporations; tax related to trusts, estates, and tax-exempt organizations; estate and gift tax and estate tax planning; planning and structuring new business ventures; and planning for property and sales taxes. He assists clients with obtaining bank loans and applications for tax-exempt status.  Mark also represents clients in IRS examinations and tax collection matters. Mark is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants.

SENIOR ADVISOR

Dr. Harjo is an advocate for Indigenous Peoples. She is a poet, writer, curator, and policy advocate who has helped Native Peoples recover sacred places and more than one million acres of land. After co-producing with Frank Ray Harjo (Wotco Muscogee) the first Indian news and analysis program in the U.S., and serving as Director of Drama and Literature for WBAI-FM Radio Station in New York City, the Pacifica Network’s free speech flagship station, she moved to Washington, DC, in 1974, as News Director of the American Indian Press Association to work on national policy issues. She was a political appointee in the Carter Administration and served as Special Assistant – Indian Legislation & Liaison; as Legislative Liaison for the Native American Rights Fund and for the Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver Law Firm; and as Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians.

Dr. Harjo is President of The Morning Star Institute, a national Native rights organization. Since the 1960s, she has worked with myriad Native and non-Native students, scholars, families, Native Nations, and other governments, schools, churches, social justice organizations, and businesses and other private entities to remove “Indian” images, names, and symbols in American sports. By 2013, two-thirds (more than 2,000) of the race-based stereotypes in sports were eliminated due to these collective public campaigns and the anti-mascot movement from 1960 to today.

President Barack Obama awarded Dr. Harjo the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor, at a 2014 White House ceremony with 17 other awardees.

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