Native American Advisory Board
The Native American Advisory Board “Gchi Booskamgaad” is established by the Vice President for Inclusion and Equity to advise the Vice President on outreach and retention strategies for Native American students, faculty and staff. Through the Division of Inclusion and Equity, the Native American Advisory Board (NAAB) works to advocate and support Native American perspectives at Grand Valley State University. The advisory board is committed to fostering strong relationships between the University and the larger Native American communities.
- Create and facilitate an inclusive environment for Native American students, staff, faculty, and community
- Advocate and support the recruitment, retention and advancement of Grand Valley Native American faculty, staff, and students
- Support cultural competence as it relates to Native American culture
- Influence curriculum to incorporate Native American content across the disciplines
- Develop, promote, and sustain meaningful community partnerships
The "Walking Beyond Our Ancestors' Footsteps: An Urban Native American Experience" exhibit opened for the first time on GVSU's Allendale Campus, Tuesday, November 3, 2015. This exhibition invites visitors to step into the gaze of a few of the Native Americans who have lived, worked, and studied in the greater Grand Rapids area over the mid-20th and 21st centuries and features contemporary artwork by local Native American artists. Learn more on the Kutsche Office of Local History webpage.
Advisory Board Members:
Vice President for Inclusion and Equity
(Ex-officio member of the Native American Advisory Board)
Dr. Jesse Bernal is the university’s second Vice President for Inclusion and Equity. Bernal came to Grand Valley in February 2015 after serving as the director of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at Santa Clara University in California, where he focused on recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty, staff and student body. Prior to joining SCU, Bernal coordinated system-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives in the Office of the President at the University of California. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Westmont College, and a master’s and doctorate in education, both from UC Santa Barbara.
Belinda Bardwell holds a B.S. in Liberal Studies (GVSU, '14), an MPA (GVSU, ’17) and is an accomplished community leader. Lin is a commissioner for the Grand Rapids Community Relations Commission, and is a board member for the West Michigan Environmental Action Council. She has served as project coordinator and spokesperson for the "Gi-gikinomaage-min (We are all teachers): Defend Our History, Unlock Your Spirit" initiative since its launch in August 2014. She is also a member of the Gi-gikinomaage-min Advisory Council. Lin serves as the project's lead oral historian and is a proud citizen of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians located in Harbor Springs, Michigan. She is also a proud parent to four beautiful children who keep her on her toes, but also keeps her up to date on all the new technology.
Hunter Genia is a consultant for the Gun Lake Tribe of Pottawatomi, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration and White Bison. He is a business owner of Resilience Counseling and Consultation. He is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC) and graduate of Grand Valley State University (1999). Hunter serves as a board member of the Saginaw, Swan Creek, and Black River Band of Ojibway and also Grand River Band of Ottawa descent. He previously served as the Behavioral Health Administrator for 14 years at the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe and also served on the National Tribal Advisory Committee for IHS in the Bemidji Region. Hunter spent the first 30 years of his life in Grand Rapids before moving to Mt. Pleasant, MI, where he currently resides. He is most proud to be the dad of Endaanmuk (Anthony), Wasayabun (Joseph), and Waboose (Hunter Jr.), his three sons.
Executive Director of the Center for Adult and Continuing Studies at GVSU
Associate Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Dr. Mason has been at GVSU since 2003. She earned her doctorate in American Culture Studies, with graduate certificates in Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies, from Bowling Green State University and a Master of Arts in American Indian Studies from The University of Arizona. She routinely teaches Gender and Popular Culture, a course in the General Education U.S. Diversity category.
Undergraduate student, Native American Student Association President
Molly is from Munising, a city in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and belongs to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Molly will graduate in December 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. At GVSU, she serves as president of the Native American Student Association. Molly enjoys swimming, hiking, being outside, skiing, being with friends and family, and dancing at powwows.
Steven (Naganashe) Perry
Steven (Naganashe) Perry has been working for decades in educational settings to ensure that Native traditions, history, culture, art, and language are preserved. A decorated veteran, the federal government has honored him for his service to Native Veterans and residents of federal and state prisons. He was Remote Command Post director in Gulfport, Mississippi with the Choctaw Tribe during Hurricane Katrina. He served as statewide Board President for United Three Fires Against Violence (UTFAV) and co-chair of the AIM Western Michigan chapter. He is an activist and has been involved in numerous campaigns about the environment, wildlife, racism and water. In addition to his service on this board, he currently serves on the GVSU Advisory committee to the Kusche History project, and the NASA pow wow committee. Steven received a bachelor’s degree in business from Lake Superior State University, a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Ashford University, and a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in Native American studies from American University. He recently completed the course requirements for a Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Management. He is also a Kellogg Post Graduate Fellow of the Harvard University Educational Management program and the University Of California, Berkeley Executive Leadership Institute. Steven descends from The Naganashe family of Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians (Waganakising) and The Pine (Shingwauk) family of Garden River Ojibwe Reserve ((Kitigan-zeeping) in Ontario.
Levi Rickert is the publisher and editor of Native News Online, one on America’s most read daily American Indian publications. In addition, he was recently named the editor-in-chief of the Tribal Business Journal that will be launched in March 2016. Rickert is a tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and is the former executive director of the North American Indian Center of Grand Rapids. He has served as president of the Grand Rapids Historical Commission; vice chair of the City of Grand Rapids Community Relations Commission; board member of Camp Blodgett; and member of the Secchia Millennium Commission. In addition to the GVSU Native American Advisory Board, he currently serves on the GVSU Kutsche Office of Local History Advisory Council and the Dyer-Ives Foundation. Rickert is also the author of several published essays. His most recent, “Indian Pride” appears in "Voice on the Water: Great Lakes Native America Now," (December 2011, Northern Michigan University Press).
Assistant Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs
Kristie Scanlon has worked in higher education for more than 15 years and is thrilled to call the Office of Multicultural Affairs her home at GVSU. She received a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree in Social Work from Western Michigan University. In the Office of Multicultural Affairs, her responsibilities include: Program Director for the Multicultural Scholars Program, Staff Advisor for Cultural Student Organizations, Chair of Intersections Programming Committee, Chair of Native American Heritage Celebration, Advisor for Native American Student Association, and Chair of the Celebrating All Walks of Life Pow Wow. She is passionate about social justice and issues surrounding race, gender, class, sexuality and (dis)ability. When not working, she spends time with her partner, John, and their two amazing, silly, smart, kind, funny and energy filled children.
Patricia Stow Bolea
Patty Stow Bolea has worked in higher education for more than 18 years. She has a shared appointment in the GVSU School of Social Work, and the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center. Both locations facilitate work toward inclusive excellence in higher education. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Ball State University and a master’s degree in Social Work from Indiana University. She earned her Ph.D. at Michigan State University. Her primary teaching assignments focus on individual clinical social work practice, as well as trauma in children and adolescents. She has been working with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe for over 11 years in a joint cross cultural immersion course at GVSU. Outside of her professional responsibilities she enjoys time with her family, reading, and travel.
Assistant Vice President for Inclusion and Equity
(Chair of the Native American Advisory Board)