Who We Are
Board of Directors
During the formation of the Native American Rights Fund, a governing board was assembled composed of Indian leaders from across the country -- wise and distinguished people who were respected by Indians nationwide. Since inception, the NARF Board of Directors has continued to provide the organization their leadership, wisdom and vision.
Gerald L. Danforth, Chairman, Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, was born and raised on the Oneida Indian Reservation in Wisconsin. Gerald served in the United States Navy from 1964 until 1994. At his retirement he was serving as Force Master Chief, Naval Surface Force for the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Gerald returned to his home on the Oneida Reservation in Wisconsin in 1994, and in 1995 he was elected to a four-year term as a Judicial Officer of the Oneida Appeals Commission where he presided over civil cases within the jurisdiction of the Oneida Tribe. Gerald served on the Oneida Appeals Commission until he was elected as Chairman of the Oneida Tribe in 1999. In 2002, semi-retired, Gerald began performing independent consulting for the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA). Working with Indian gaming regulators and gaming surveillance personnel, Gerald designed and developed an internet-based security network (eagleintel.com). Gerald was re-elected as Chairman of the Oneida Tribe in 2005 and served in that capacity until his retirement in August 2008. He has since begun consulting once again with NIGA, and with the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council and its Native American Tourism of Wisconsin Initiative.
Natasha V. Singh, Vice-Chairman, Stevens Village, serves as General Counsel to the Tanana Chiefs Conference in Fairbanks, Alaska. Previous to this, Ms. Singh was a law clerk for Justices Daniel Winfree and Diesje Steinkruger of the Alaska Supreme Court. She was also a law clerk for the Native American Rights Fund in the Summer of 2006. Ms. Singh received a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College in 2004 where she was President of Native Americans at Dartmouth and received Dartmouth’s Stacey Coverdale Academic Achievement Award. Ms. Singh received a Juris Doctor from the University of Washington in 2007 and was a member of the Native American Law Students Association. She was the Tulalip Tribes Public Defender from 2006 to 2007.
Moses K. N. Haia III, Executive Committee Member, Native Hawaiian, is the Executive Director of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC), a private, non-profit, public interest law firm. NHLC asserts, protects and defends Native Hawaiian rights to land, natural resources, and related entitlements. Moses is a 1994 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii. Prior to joining NHLC in 2001 as a staff attorney, Moses was in private practice where his work was focused on labor and employment law, civil litigation and Native Hawaiian rights. As a staff attorney with NHLC from 2001 through 2009, Moses was involved in a number of native rights cases dealing with the protection and preservation of traditional and customary native Hawaiian subsistence, religious and cultural practices, and the state and county governments’ trust duties related thereto. In 2007, he was recognized by a major Honolulu daily newspaper as one of “10 Who Made A Difference” for his work related to the protection and preservation of historic and cultural properties. Moses has been a Board member of the Native Hawaiian Advisory Council and the Native Hawaiian Bar Association. He has published numerous articles on Native Hawaiian history, culture and water rights.
Stephen R. Lewis, Alternate Executive Committee Member, Gila River Indian Community, graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelors of Science degree and pursued graduate studies at John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Mr. Lewis has long been an advocate for Native American issues nationally and locally. Stephen has served the Community as a Gaming Commissioner for the Gila River Gaming Commission, as a member of the Board of Directors for the Gila River Telecommunications, Inc., and most recently, as member of the Board of Directors for the Gila River Healthcare Corporation. In the area of Indian education, he was selected to serve as a Board member for the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), and a delegate to the White House Conference on Indian Education. Stephen was also selected to the National Indian Gaming Commission’s (NIGC) Task Force on Minimum Internal Controls for Indian Country, served as a trainer for the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), and served as a teaching assistant for the National Judicial College’s Tribal Commissioner Training. In the area of mass media, he organized and staged the first ever showing of Native films and documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and was an associate producer for the groundbreaking and critically acclaimed six-part documentary, “The Native Americans.” Currently, Stephen serves on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Action Alliance (CAA), a non-profit organization working to improve children’s health, education and security through advocacy.
Virginia Cross, Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, is an Elder of Puget Sound’s Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and currently serves as Chairman of the Tribal Council. Virginia was elected to the Native American Rights Fund Board of Directors in November 2009. She has devoted her lifetime to public service, especially in the field of education. She served for 22 years as Director of Indian Education for the Auburn, Washington public school district and played an active role in shaping many of today’s programs for Native American students in the State of Washington. The Virginia Cross Native Education Center, operated by the Auburn School District in conjunction with the Tribe, was named in her honor. Education continues to be Virginia’s top priority today as she chairs the Tribe’s Executive Committee for Education. In the three decades Virginia has served on its Tribal Council, the Muckleshoot Tribe has become one of the most progressive and prosperous tribes in the Pacific Northwest. She was serving as Tribal Council Chair a quarter-century ago when NARF joined the Tribe’s legal staff in litigating a key case involving the diversion of water from the White River to generate power for a utility company. This case was resolved in the Tribe’s favor, and in the years that have passed since then, enormous progress has been made in restoring the White River’s salmon runs.
Tex G. Hall, Three Affliated Tribes, is the longest serving chairman of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes. Hall has a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from the University of Mary, in Bismarck, North Dakota, and a Master of Education Administration degree from the University of South Dakota in Vermilion, South Dakota. Hall served two terms as president of the National Congress of American Indians, co-chair of the National Indian Education Task Force and chairman of the Great Plains Region Tribal Chairmen's Association. He was appointed to the first tribal advisory committee ever established in the history of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to recommend and advise the secretary of the service. He initiated the Keepseagle class action lawsuit that brought a historic settlement of $760 million for Native American farmers and ranchers. In 2013, he was awarded the Wendell A. Chino Humanitarian Award from the National Indian Gaming Association.
Gary Hayes, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, is an enrolled member of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and currently serves as the Chairman. The Ute Mountain Ute Tribe is located in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, comprising over 600,000 acres, with its government seat in Towaoc, Colorado. The Tribe’s membership is 2,085 and is governed by a Tribal Council consisting of seven elected officials. The Tribe’s enterprises include a casino, hotel, two travel centers, a construction company, a farm and ranch and a pottery factory. All the tribal enterprises serve to support the tribal government and fulfill public purposes, but more importantly to provide the quality of life to its membership. The Tribe also has significant coal, gas and oil reserves, and has secured substantial water rights. In December 2005, Gary retired from the United States Navy after serving 25 years. He served 11 years of sea time on board aircraft carriers, USS CONSTELLATION, USS KITTY HAWK, USS RANGER, USS INDEPENDENCE, Attach Fighter Squadron (VFA-151) embarked on board the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN and served on Staff with Commander, Carrier Group One. His shore tours included Naval Supply Depot, Naval Station Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines, Comander, U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, and Naval Air Station, Sigonella, Italy. In January 2006, Gary returned back home and was elected into the Tribal Council for an eight month term. In October 2006, he was re-elected for a three year term and was elected as Tribal Chairman in October 2010. He was appointed by the Tribal Council to serve on the following committees and organizations: Law Enforcement, Economic Development, Health Care, Tribal/Interior Budget Council (TIBC), National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), DOJ Tribal Nations Leadership Council (TNLC), Albuquerque Area Health Board (AAIHB) and HHS Secretary Tribal Advisory Committee (STAC). Gary has received numerous personal awards and military decorations, and a degree from Hawaii Pacific University.
Mark Macarro, The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, was first elected as a Councilman in 1992. He is serving his eighth consecutive two-year term on the council and is in his 14th year as Tribal Chairman. Macarro’s vision for the Pechanga people is to see the band strengthen its political self-determination and economic self-sufficiency by developing a diversified economy for the Pechanga Band while maintaining its distinct and unique cultural identity. A national leader, Macarro represents Pechanga in the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) as an alternate area Vice- President of the Pacific Region 2007-2009 and represents the Pacific Region on the board of directors for the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA). He is a member of the Electoral College 2008 US Presidential Election, 2008 Platform Committee Member of the Democratic Party and a member of the Board of Governors, Harvard Honoring Nations. In 2008 he was presented as a Pathbreaker Award Honoree at the 20th Annual IGRA Symposium. He also served as a Riverside County Board of Supervisors appointee to the County Historical Commission and served on the board of directors of Borrego Springs Bank, NA. In the 1990s as a charter board member, Chairman Macarro helped found the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival (AICLS), a nonprofit organization with the mission of funding tribal language speakers in the state. Macarro has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Chairman Macarro believes it is critical to maintain and cultivate the Pechanga tribal culture, language, and traditional life ways so that the Pechanga people can preserve their unique tribal identity. Macarro is a traditional Luiseño singer, singing ceremonial Nukwáánish funeral songs at tribal wakes throughout area Indian reservations, and is a practitioner of Cham’tééla, the Luiseño’s native language. He has also been an apprentice bird singer to Robert Levi, an elder of the Torres-Martinez Reservation; having learned hundreds of Levi’s birdsongs.
Peter M. Pino, Pueblo of Zia, Tribal Administrator and Treasurer for the Zia Pueblo of New Mexico since 1978, received a Bachelor of Arts from New Mexico Highlands University in 1970 and an M.B.A. from the University of New Mexico in 1975. Peter is tasked with the administration of all Tribal, State, and federal projects and programs. He coordinates community development projects from concept to completion; establishes management systems for the Pueblo; and is the Tribal Liaison between other Pueblos, State of New Mexico, federal agencies and commercial business firms. Peter also establishes and implements Pueblo investment policies and administers the Pueblo Tax Ordinance. Peter has been a Tribal Council member since 1967 and is currently a Board member of the Greater Sandoval County Chamber of Commerce. He has been a Board member of Futures for Children; Board of Commissioners for the New Mexico Game and Fish Department; Board member of the Mesa Verde Foundation; Board member of the Crow Canyon Archeological Center; Chairman and Board member of Education Funds, Inc.; and Vice- Chairman, Board of Commissioners, State of New Mexico Office of Indian Affairs.
Julie Roberts-Hyslop, Native Village of Tanana, was born and raised in Tanana Alaska, graduated from Tanana High School in 1973 as Valedictorian and attended Sheldon Jackson Jr. College in Sitka Alaska. Julie also attended University of Alaska Fairbanks. She has been employed as a Heavy Duty mechanic for four years in Prudhoe Bay for Atlantic Richfield. She also worked for the Village Corporation for 10 years as a Land and Office Manager and was employed by the Tanana Tribal Council for 10 years as the Executive Director. She then worked as a truck driver for the Teamsters Union for 3 years and is currently employed as a Housekeeper for the Tanana Elders Residence and the Clinic. Julie currently serves on the following boards: President of the Native Village of Tanana and has been on the Tanana Chiefs Conference Board of Directors for the past 5 years. She has also served on the local school board for over 10 years; Head Start Committee; Tanana City Council; served on the Village Corporation Board Tozitna Limited; Served on the Alaska Federation Board; Yukon River Panel , an international board that addresses Yukon River Salmon.
Buford L. Rolin, Poarch Band of Creek Indians, has served as Secretary for the Tribe and has served as the Vice-Chairman from 1991-1999. As of June 2006 he serves in the capacity of Chairman. In 1989, Chairman Rolin received a service award for improving the Health of Indian People. In 1993, he was awarded the Director’s Award for Excellence by the Indian Health Service. In 1996, he also received the Area Director’s Special Commendation Award from the Indian Health Service. Chairman Rolin has served on many national organizations including the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the Atmore Area Partnership for Youth Board of Directors, and the Florida Governor’s Council on Indian Affairs. He has held various positions involving the Northwest Florida Creek Indian Council, the National Committee on Indian Work, the Episcopal Church, The Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Creek Indians Arts Council, Creek Indian Heritage Memorial Association, and the United South & Eastern Tribes (USET) and currently as Vice-Chairman for the National Indian Health Board (NIHB). He serves on the State of Alabama Public Health Advisory Board and is a member of the USET Health Committee. During 2000, Mr. Rolin was appointed to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy by then-President Bill Clinton.
Barbara A. Smith, Chickasaw Nation, is a Supreme Court Justice for the Supreme Court of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. Justice Smith also serves as a Special Judge for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Courts. She has a law practice in Norman, Oklahoma with her brother, Michael Colbert Smith, Smith & Smith Attorneys at Law. They have a general practice with concentrations in Social Security Disability Law, Indian Law, Criminal Law, and Family Law issues, with special consultations in Tribal Sovereignty, Tribal Courts, and Peacemaking. Justice Smith earned her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education from East Central State University, Ada, Oklahoma, her master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma, and her Juris Doctor from Oklahoma City University. She has been a facilitator for the Native American Rights Fund Chautauqua Peacemaking Project and is on the Advisory Committee for their current Peacemaking Project. Justice Smith is an alumna of the National Judicial College and joined its faculty in 2004. February 2012 Justice Smith traveled to Columbia University Law School to teach Peacemaking to the Mediation students.