The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition

In July of 2015, leaders from the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe , Pueblo of Zuni, and Ute Indian Tribe founded the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. Each Coalition Tribe exercises its inherent right to self-determination by appointing a delegate to represent its interests in the Coalition’s work, in tandem with an MOU signed by all five Tribal councils that invests power in and ascribes limits to Coalition activities. In this way, we are distinct from a typical non-profit or grassroots organization because we are an extension of each Tribe’s sovereign authority. The Coalition Tribes are unified in the effort to protect this landscape we call Hoon’Naqvut, Shash Jáa, Kwiyagatu Nukavachi, Ansh An Lashokdiwe, in our Native languages, all of which mean “Bears Ears.” Today, a total of 30 Tribes have expressed support for protecting the Bears Ears landscape for all future generations. We are pursuing this goal by working collaboratively with our partners to immediately address needs on the landscape and by developing a land management plan for the greater Bears Ears landscape (1.9 million+ acres) that is rooted in our Indigenous perspectives and place-based conservation strategies, developed over centuries. This land has been occupied before the United States was a country and we continue to exercise our political sovereignty in our advocacy for Bears Ears and use of Traditional Ecological Knowledge to improve management of this sacred place in a manner that promotes its resilience for all to enjoy. Please note, the Coalition does not directly handle any inquiries or questions about the Hopi Tribe et al., v. Donald J Trump et al., lawsuit nor does the organization collectively deal with the case.

Convening Tribes gather below the Bears Ears buttes. Photo credit Tim Peterson

Coalition Leadership

Craig Andrews

Hopi Tribe

Mr. Andrews is Vice Chairman of the Hopi Tribe, a Bear Clan from the Village of Mishongnovi, and has previously served as Co-Chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and the Bears Ears Commission. Craig is a Marine Corp Veteran. He has also served previously as a Tribal Council Representative.

Mr. Tabbee - Ute Indian Tribe

Christopher Tabbee

Ute Indian Tribe

Mr. Tabbee is the Vice Chairman of the Ute Indian Tribe Business Committee and an Uncompahgre Band Representative. He has previously served as Co-Chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and the Bears Ears Commission. Christopher was born, raised, and currently lives on the Tribe’s 4.5 million-acre Uintah and Ouray Reservation. He is working to promote economic development opportunities on the Reservation and is directly involved in promoting community health and wellness through cultural and physical activities. Christopher is also actively involved in the Ute Indian Tribe’s efforts to restore and protect its land base.

Malcolm Lehi

Ute Mountain Ute Tribe

Mr. Lehi is a councilman for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and has served as Co-Chair for the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. He was part of the group that worked to establish the original Bears Ears National Monument in 2016.

Anthony Sanchez - Head Councilman for the Pueblo of Zuni

Anthony Sanchez 

Zuni Pueblo

Mr. Sanchez’s clans are Eagle and Child of Crow, and he is the Head Councilman for the Pueblo of Zuni. He currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Bears Ears Commission and the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. He has 19 years of experience in Public Safety. He started his career in 2002 with the Zuni Correctional Center, where he served for four years before joining the Zuni Police Department as a 911 Telecommunicator. He worked as a 911 Telecommunicator from 2006 to 2008 with the Zuni Police Department and the McKinley Metro Dispatch Center in Gallup, NM. Starting in 2008, he began his career as a police officer with the Zuni Police Department and also spent two years with the Isleta Police Department. From 2017 until present he moved into the Criminal Investigations Division as a Criminal Investigator with the Zuni Police Department.

Davina Smith BEITC Rep. Navajo Nation

Davina Smith

Navajo Nation 

Davina Smith is a member of the Navajo Nation, originally from Monument Valley, Utah. Appointed to the Coalition by President Buu Nygren to represent the Navajo Nation’s perspectives, she currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition. She belongs to the Ta’chii’ nii (Red Running into the Water) clan and is born to the Ta’ baa ha’ (Edgewater) clan.

Davina is with the National Parks Conservation Association as the Organizer/Tribal Coordinator, focusing on assisting with the protection of cultural landscapes in southwestern to southeastern Utah. Her efforts also support the development of a proposal to protect the area between Hovenweep, Canyons of the Ancients, Bears Ears, and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments.

Davina’s personal mission is to advocate for Native families in both her rural and urban communities and to preserve and protect the cultural and natural resources of ancestral Native American lands to benefit and bring healing to people and the Earth. She holds board positions with Grand Staircase-Escalante Partners and KUER and is the CEO of Haseya Native Initiatives LLC.

Curtis Yanito, Navajo Nation Council Delegate and Co-Chair of the Bears Ears Commission

Curtis Yanito

Navajo Nation 

Curtis Yanito grew up near Bluff, Utah, and is a Navajo Nation Council Delegate representing the communities of Mexican Water, To’likan, Teesnospos, Aneth, and Red Mesa. He currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Bears Ears Commission and has long been a proponent for the protection of Bears Ears. His clans are Tł’ááshchí’í  nishłį́ (Red Bottom Anasazi People) born for Tódich’ii’nii bashishchiin (Bitter all Water People), Hashk’aan Hadzohi dashicheii (The Yucca Fruit Strung Out in a Line medicine People are my Maternal Grandfathers), Tábąąhá dashinalí (The Water’s Edge People of Bear Ears are my Paternal Grandfathers).

Coalition Staff

The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition is staffed by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition Project of Resources Legacy Fund. BEITC staff also provide support to the Bears Ears Commission on behalf of BEITC.

Charissa Miijessepe-Wilson

Prairie Band Potawatomi/Kickapoo


Charissa Miijessepe-Wilson manages Tribal Leadership directives and daily operations, leads Strategic Planning and Visioning, and oversees the ramp up and creation of the Bears Ears Commission. She also leads Strategic Partnerships, cultivating and strengthening partnerships with funders and allies to identify areas of collaboration and capacity-building. Additionally, she is the Project Lead and Manager over organizational projects and priorities, and assists in Fundraising and Development. Prior to joining the Coalition, Charissa was a Project Coordinator and Executive Management Trainee at Norterre, a first-of-its-kind multigenerational community in Liberty, Missouri, assisting in the ramp-up and opening of a 17-acre health and wellness campus. While there, she supported the creation and implementation of organizational policies and procedures and also co-led community acquisitions and compliance control for other Action Pact properties. Prior to that she was a City Management Fellow with the City of Topeka, gaining experience in strategic planning, project management, and community engagement while working in the City Manager’s Office and Finance and Utilities Departments. Charissa was also a Legislative Fellow at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in Washington, D.C. assisting in advocacy and policy efforts for Native Hawaiians and greater indigenous communities. She has a BS in cultural anthropology from Wichita State University and an MPA from the University of Kansas. Charissa is a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe in Northeast, Kansas. Email Charissa:

Hillary Hoffman Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition

Hillary Hoffmann


Hillary Hoffmann supervises the intergovernmental land management planning effort for the advancement and realization of the collaborative management relationship at the Bears Ears National Monument as well as oversees implementation of the Project’s Land Management Plan. Additionally, she manages the Coalition’s external relationships with nongovernmental entity allies and partners and conducts review, analysis, and research on legislation and policy to assess implications and effects to issues pertinent to Bears Ears and its Tribal affiliates. For over a decade prior, Hillary was a law professor and consultant on several indigenous environmental governance projects and initiatives involving tribal lands, tribal resources, and federal and state public lands. She published a book on cultural resource protection:  A Third Way: Decolonizing the Laws of Indigenous Cultural Protection (Cambridge U. Press, 2020) (with Monte Mills) and serves as a commissioner on a state Native American Affairs commission.  Prior to her academic career, Hillary was in private practice in Salt Lake City, where she focused on natural resources and public lands management. Hillary received her B.A. from Middlebury College and her J.D. from the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah.  She was elected into the American Law Institute in 2020, but likes to spend most of her free time away from the worlds of law and policy, hiking and exploring the hidden wonders of the Bears Ears National Monument and other public lands with her husband and their four children. Email Hillary: 

Ruben Pacheco

Communications and Partnerships Director

Ruben Pacheco is a digital storyteller and oversees media and communications for the Coalition’s dynamic audience. He was born and raised in Albuquerque, where he graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BA in Political Science. He has lived in D.C. and Austin where he worked as a policy analyst but only feels at home in the Rio Grande Valley. His policy experience includes immigration policy, criminal justice policy, and American Indian federal policy. Ruben has extensive experience as a copy-editor and has subject matter expertise in digital media and communications. His work is motivated by a deep commitment to inclusive institutions that promote well-being and community health. Email Ruben:

Lauren Henson

Collaborative Management & Tribal Support Specialist

Lauren Henson leads the Bears Ears Cultural Resources Subcommittee for land management and facilitates communication among Tribal departments, Traditional Practitioners, Cultural Advisors, and Leadership within and between Tribes involved in the co-management of Bears Ears National Monument. Lauren also works to provide opportunities for communities to re-connect with the land and organizes conservation programs for Elders and Youth at Bears Ears. As a wildlife biologist with experience weaving western science and Indigenous knowledge to inform land stewardship, Lauren is committed to collaborative management that recognizes, respects, and advances Traditional knowledge. Lauren has previously supported Indigenous-led monitoring and stewardship of grizzly and black bears for five First Nation Stewardship Departments in what is now known as British Columbia. She specializes in applied conservation science, specifically focusing on predator population dynamics, health, and connectivity across large landscapes. Lauren is committed to stewardship that addresses the needs and interests of Indigenous communities and advances Tribal sovereignty. Lauren has a B.A. in Biology from Oberlin College, a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from George Mason University and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and a Ph.D. from the University of Victoria in partnership with Raincoast Conservation Foundation. Email Lauren at:

Michael Garlid Operations Manager

Michael Garlid


Operations Manager

Michael Garlid’s responsibilities include ensuring that the Coalition staff function with maximum effectiveness and efficiency. He also oversees and manages the administrative, financial, programmatic, and organizational activities to ensure consistency with and adherence to the mission and vision of Tribal Leadership and the Coalition’s Co-Directors. Before joining the Coalition, Michael supported citizen to citizen diplomacy as the Programs Officer at Global Ties ABQ, working on Department of State exchange programs. Michael is a commissioner on the City of Albuquerque’s Citizens’ Independent Salary Commission and supports data-driven positive change as a member of the Global Shapers Hub ABQ. Michael is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and grew up in Tempe, Arizona. He received a Masters of Science in International Management from Franklin University Switzerland where he focused on project management and community driven change. He studied at Arizona State University where earned a Bachelors of Arts in Global Studies. Email Michael:

Liberty Kinsel Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition

Liberty Kinsel


Operations and Donor Relations Coordinator

Liberty Kinsel (She/Her), Operations and Donor Relations Coordinator is an enrolled member of the Diné (Navajo) tribe, originally from Brimhall Nizhóní, NM. Liberty comes from the Black Streak Wood People (Tsi’naajinii) born for the Charcoal Streaked Division of the Red Running Into the Water clan (Naaneesht’ ézhi Táchii’nii). She resides in Albuquerque, NM on traditional Tiwa and Piro Pueblo land. In her role, Liberty specializes in operational support in coordinating Coalition/Commission activities, leading event logistics, assisting with programmatic finances and accounts payable. She is the lead coordinator for merchandise and digital donations initiatives, and involved in the distribution of merchandise and community outreach projects. She oversees product design, inventory, and budgets, contributing to the organization’s fundraising campaigns. Her responsibilities include community and donor engagement, updating listservs, maintaining correspondence, and developing engagement strategies. She attended Central New Mexico Community College and New Mexico Highlands University, progressing towards earning her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Outside of work, she volunteers as a part-time graphics and social media consultant for a local official and is a passionate photographer. She enjoys spending time with her family and two feline companions. Email Liberty:

Harrenson Gorman Tribal Stewardship and Engagement Coordinator

Harrenson Gorman


Tribal Stewardship and Engagement Coordinator

Harrenson Gorman supports the five Tribal Nations of the Coalition in their realization of the Tribal vision of collaborative management by helping to develop, inform, and implement community engagement programming and Indigenous stewardship practices within the Bears Ears National Monument. Harrenson serves as a local engagement liaison to each of the five Tribal Nations of the Coalition and attends collaborative management meetings where they document, retain, and synthesize traditional Indigenous knowledge. Harrenson is Diné and is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. They come from the Water Flows Together Clan (Tó’aheedlíinii) and are born for the Towering House Clan (Kinyaa’áanii). Their maternal grandfather’s clan is Honey Combed Rock People (Tsé Ńjíkiní) and their paternal grandfather’s clan is Black Streaked Wood People (Tsi’naajinii). They are from Crownpoint, NM. Prior to joining the coalition, Harrenson gained extensive experience working within Tribal Communities by providing training and certification services to Tribal water and wastewater utilities throughout the country, by facilitating GONA workshops for the Urban Native population in (so-called) Phoenix, AZ, and by serving as mentor for the Eco-Truths for Indigenous Youths learning lab. They hope to utilize their experiences and knowledge to foster healthy relationality between the Tribal Communities and the Bears Ears landscape. Harrenson earned their B.A. in Government from Dartmouth College. Email Harrenson at 

Jenny Rosas Ethnographic Advisor

Jenny Rosas


Cultural Resources Coordinator

Jenny Rosas supports the Bear Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition by documenting Tribal Object and Values. Her work will combine western science with Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Traditional Indigenous Knowledge to aid in the protection, preservation, and documentation of cultural objects. Among her previous works are ethnographic research projects that delve into two distinct areas – the intersectionality between COVID-19 and women in rural communities in Tanzania, as well as Indigenous language revitalization among Southwest Tribes. Jenny is also an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, and her clans are Red Running into Water (Táchii’nii) and Mexican People (Naakai). She is from Austin, TX and now lives in Tucson, AZ. She graduated from Fort Lewis College with a B.A in Anthropology with a minor in Native American and Indigenous Studies. Jenny hopes to continue working with Indigenous communities and aid in protecting the Bear Ears National Monument using Indigenous Knowledge. Email Jenny: