The Native Justice Coalition is guided by our councils in our conference, programs, special projects, other community engagement work as well as growing and sustaining our work. The Elders Council was launched in 2020.
Our Elders Council is an integral part of the coalition, our work, programs, mission, and vision. From healing stories, taking action for the water, our land, sobriety, spiritual support, mascot work, Indigenous law, treaty rights, and revitalizing our culture are some of the amazing things these elders have engaged in. This work spans the individual, family, community, and political aspects of life. In turn, this work supports and strengthens the work of the Native Justice Coalition by truly fulfilling the mission and vision we seek for our people and communities.
We have representation from the Three Fires Confederacy across Anishinaabe Aki – Michigan. Many members of our council have participated as speakers and panelists at the Anishinaabe Racial Justice Conference. Also, they have been Story Sharers at our Anishinaabe Healing Stories on Racial Justice Program. The council serves to advise the Native Justice Coalition in all of its aspects, support its growth, strengthen existing connections, as well as grow this work across our Great Lakes Native communities.
Dr. Cross is an Associate Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University-School of Social Work and a Tribal Researcher and Consultant. She is a citizen of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. She has taught for Michigan State University, Central Michigan University, SCIT College, and Arizona State University. Her research and publication topics include; U.S. Boarding School Trauma, American Indian Grand Families, and Cultural Response to Physical Pain. In addition, she has presented for international, national, regional conferences. She has received several awards for her dedication to the social work profession. She works for collaboration between Academe and Tribal Nations for the benefit of both entities. She is a traditional dancer, a beadwork and shawl artisan. Also, in the past, she and her husband have provided foster care for American Indian children.
Linda (Zhaawanong NimKii Kwew, Southern Thunder Woman) holds many titles from Sister to Organizer to Activist. She is a mother of 23 children of an Anishinabe extended family, grandmother of 60, and great-grandmother of 27. Linda is a Co-founder of the Michigan Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media, a member of the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media, Co-Founder of Native Rights Michigan, Chairperson of the NASCO Movement (Native American Student Community Organization Movement), and past Director and Co-Chair of AIM (American Indian Movement) West Michigan. Linda is a former Fellow at the ARCUS Center at Kalamazoo College. She has been going into the prison systems for over 40 years helping Native peoples as a Spiritual Advisor for INU (Indian Nations United). In addition, she founded Harvest Fall Social Dance Gathering, and Land of Falling Waters Traditional Pow Wow. Linda also planned and worked on the Water Walk around Lake Michigan with Grandmother Josephine. She is a traditional woman dancer and has received many awards and recognitions throughout the years. Linda has been a part of the Native Justice Coalition since its inception. She has participated as a presenter at our Anishinaabe Racial Justice Conference, Story Sharer at our Anishinaabe Healing Stories on Racial Justice events, as well as attended numerous events.
Frank Ettawageshik lives in Harbor Springs, Michigan, with his wife Rochelle. He served in tribal elected office for sixteen years, fourteen as the Tribal Chairman of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Harbor Springs, Michigan. During his tenure as Tribal Chairman he was instrumental in the adoption of the Tribal and First Nations Great Lakes Water Accord in 2004 and the United League of Indigenous Nations Treaty in 2007. Recently he was appointed Tribal Court Appellate Justice for his tribe.
Since 2009 Frank has been serving as the Executive Director of the United Tribes of Michigan. He also serves on the board for the Association on American Indian Affairs, the Michigan Water Use Advisory Council, and on the Great Lakes Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission. In 2017 he was appointed to the Environmental Justice Working Group by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Internationally, he has represented the National Congress of American Indians at several meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Paris, France, in Bonn, Germany, in Katowice, Poland, and in Madrid, Spain. He has also participated in meetings of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland.