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Our Leadership

We are committed to restoring and modeling traditional Salish values in a way that promotes success in any environment. We utilize consensus practices within our entire organization.

  • Trained and Experienced Staff

  • Professional Advisory Board

  • Elder Advisory Board

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Co-founder

STEPHEN HUNT

Stephen Hunt is Blackfeet (Amskapii Pikaanii), Nez Perce (Nimipuu), Sioux (Sisseton), Pend d’Oreille (Ql'ispé), Chippewa Cree (Ne Hiyawak), and was raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation. As part of his day job, Hunt has worked for his family’s 3rd generation family run business, Hunts Timbers Inc. In addition, he has helped with branding, marketing, websites, and SEO for other local companies. He is also a photographer with a premier exhibition at the Missoula Art Museum, in 2018. In 2020, Stephen was selected and awarded the inaugural NDN Changemaker fellowship.

However, he places his greatest efforts on his daughters, where he seeks to instill in his children the importance of land and culture. He regularly gives back to his community by volunteering, co-organizing, working with youth at cultural camps, and mentoring indigenous youth in his community.

Hunt can also be seen on the powwow circuit singing with Black Otter, an original, Blackfoot-style and champion drum group.

 

Prior to completing his Bachelor of Social Work at Salish Kootenai College, Stephen had long dreamed of creating a permanent home and working ranch for First People’s Children in the foster care system. The ranch would be traditionally based, would be fully sustainable, and would build a foundation for indigenous youth to be successful in any world. This dream is now a work in progress with the formation of Snqʷeyɫmistn and its co-founders.

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Co-founder/Board Member

APRIL CHARLO

April Iris Charlo comes from the Bitterroot Salish people and is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. She holds several degrees: a Masters in Education Leadership, a Bachelors in elementary education, and an Associates in Native American Studies. April was born and raised on the Flathead Reservation in Northwest Montana and is a key player in the arena of community wellness.

 

April has been deeply involved in the revitalization of Indigenous language and has worked in the role of Executive Director of the Salish people’s language immersion school. After a time at home with her son Chief, who is now five years old, April has worked for the Special Olympics, Hopa Mountain, and started an organization to support her community during the pandemic.

 

Somehow, she has still made time for self-healing, running, and enjoying her son on her ranch in the Mission mountains.

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Co-founder/Chief Administrator

ERIKA KOSKELA

Erika Koskela is an enrolled member of the Round Valley Tribes of California, and a descendant of the Chinook and Quinault tribes of Washington. She has lived in Montana for 16 years, mainly on the Flathead Reservation, where she attended SKC receiving degrees in Psychology and Social Work.

 

Erika became involved with Nkwusm Immersion School in 2002 as a parent, where she proceeded to engage in Salish language revitalization as a board member, substitute teacher, and student. She enjoys staying connected to the school, as it was there that she found her passion for language revitalization.

 

In 2018, Erika was certified in Equine Facilitated Learning through MontanaQuest. Working at River Pines Horse Sanctuary, Erika has developed a rites of passage program. Nyopiewtn, an equine guided rite of passage program, was launched in June of 2021. This year the program will evolve into a year-round coming-of-age ceremony for girls ages 13-16.

 

As a mother of 5 grown children, Erika understands the challenges and rewards of raising children. Passionate about cultural resilience, she is eager to co-create an intentional foster community. In 2021 Erika officially took the position of Chief Administrator.

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Co-founder/Program Coordinator

GARY WOODCOCK

Born on the Flathead Indian reservation, Gary is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. After graduating from high school, Gary began a career in the hair and beauty industry. As a stylist and instructor in one of Denver's top salons, he was presented the opportunity to acquire one of his former boss’ salons.  Gary exceeded his own expectations in his profession, committing 30 years of dedication and enjoying world travels with some of his 50 employees to hair and fashion shows around the world representing Intercoiffure USA/Canada.

 

The next chapter in Gary’s life took him to Salish Kootenai college, back in his homelands. Gary earned his Bachelor's degree in Social Work and fulfilled his internship at the Fatherhood Program.  After graduating, Gary worked for Tribal Child Protective Services.

Gary created a youth backpacking summer course that prepares a beginner for a 3-5 day trip into the Mission Range. His program focuses on areas of knowledge that include connection to ancestral lands/trails and purposes, native plant identification, survival and directional skills, fire and its uses, roles of males and females in society, and hunting and fishing skills.

As a full time father of an 8 year old foster daughter, Gary has committed to positive change for youth on the Flathead Indian reservation and is looking forward to exceeding his and his co-founders expectations of a foster care ranch/farm on our reserve through an intentional foster community.