We are a mostly volunteer led organization but growing fast. Cecelia is our only staff member. Our staff and core volunteers all walk a sober road. Some have walked a sober road for their entire lives. We emphasize healing and sobriety in our leadership as a true form of decolonization. The Native Justice Coalition is also Two-Spirit led. We have an old time but bold approach that is needed to challenge internalized colonization, internalized patriarchy, internalized oppression, lateral violence, addiction, and community brokenness. With this strong foundation we can bring greater healing to our people and communities.
Cecelia Rose LaPointe - FOUNDER & Director
Cecelia is Ojibway/Métis and is Mashkiziibi (Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibway or LaPointe Band of Ojibway) and Kchiwiikwedong (Keweenaw Bay Indian Community). They are enrolled in Mashkiziibi and maintain a strong community affiliation to Kchiwiikwedong. Cecelia is ajijaak dodem (crane clan). They identify as Two-Spirit based in their culture. Cecelia has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and a Master of Arts in Environmental Leadership from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. They have survived settler colonial racism on numerous occasions as a form of every day resistance.
Cecelia is the Founder and Owner of Red Circle Consulting and Waub Ajijaak Press. The Native Justice Coalition is currently a project under Red Circle Consulting. They are a Consultant, Poet, Writer, and Author. Learn more about their work, writing, and poetry on their website.
SAMARA JACKSON TOBEY - CONFERENCE INTERN
Samara is an enrolled member in the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe with a mission to serve her community through athletic and academic outlets. She plays rugby for the University of Michigan and works in program management and marketing for Indigenous events and initiatives across campus. Samara is our 2019 Conference Intern and is integral in organizing and engaging in community outreach to make our 2nd Annual Anishinaabe Racial Justice Conference happen. Also, she will be our future Ambassador in pathways for justice through Polynesian/Pasifika information services in Aotearoa (New Zealand) to be later applied to the Native Justice Coalition’s community outreach and program development.
Philomena Kebec - Projects & outreach volunteer
Philomena is an enrolled member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and a 2008 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School. She currently serves as the Co-Coordinator of Gwayakobimaadiziwin Bad River Needle Exchange, along with Aurora Conley. Gwayakobimaadizin is an all-volunteer tribal harm reduction program offering syringe exchange and overdose prevention services since 2015. The program serves people who inject drugs, their friends and family members who live in and around the Bad River Indian Reservation with respect and dignity, access to sterile injection equipment, overdose prevention services, food and other services. Philomena enjoys living in Ojibwe traditional territory and spends free time harvesting wild food and medicine with her two children.
Jeny Lai - Graphic Design Volunteer
Jeny is a doctoral student studying sociology at Michigan State University. She has a bachelor's degree in agricultural and biological engineering from Purdue University, and a master's degree in sociology from Michigan State University. She served two terms as an AmeriCorps service member, with placements in Washington state and Minnesota. She lives with her partner Sam and their cat, Gumbo. As an extension of her studies, Jeny works to support minority and Indigenous-led initiatives that pursue an inclusive racial justice.
TEIANA mcgahey - anishinaabe northern outreach volunteer
Teia (Ojibwe - Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians) lives in Waawiyaataanong - At the Curved Shores (Detroit). She also has Aztec, Irish, German, and French ancestry. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2017. Teia has worked as community organizer and now works as the Youth Program Assistant at American Indian Health and Family Services (AIHFS) in Detroit. She is passionate about building a larger Anishinaabe Racial Justice Coalition so that we can heal, grow, and find strength together. Teia served as the NJC’s first Healing Stories Intern in Fall 2018 in which she successfully assisted in the launch of the program and recruiting 23 Story Sharers and 100 event attendees in 3 Anishinaabe communities in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She is passionate about decolonization and shared experiences of Indigenous people on a global level.
Jazz McKinney - Two-Spirit Project Volunteer
Jazz is a Black and Indigenous (Cherokee and Ojibwe) Two-Spirit individual that currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They received their Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Western Michigan University and their bachelor’s degree in Psychology & Women and Gender Studies from Grand Valley State University. They currently work as a LGBTQ+ Domestic and Sexual Violence Outreach Therapist at YWCA West Central Michigan. Jazz has been involved with advocacy and activism in the LGBTQ+ community for over 15 years as well as racial justice work. Also, they serve on the boards of the Grand Rapids Pride Center and GVSU’s Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center. Jazz is passionate about working to decolonize gender roles and identities as well as discussing the impact that harmful gender binaries can cause within our communities.
Anna Roush - Healing stories project volunteer
Anna is Odawa/Ainu (Japanese)/European and has matrilineal roots with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. She has lived in Southeast Michigan most of her life and has spent most of her time in academia. During her time at the University of Michigan she has focused on terrestrial ecosystems and the paleoclimate and paleodietary aspects of biological anthropology. Anna has many interests and both her research areas and past jobs reflect some of that including culinary retail to a traveling botanist. She has worked both with food and plants which has led her to deeply know and understand Anishinaabe lifeways. She has spent recent years raising a young child and starting a large garden that is intended to feed both her family and the community. Volunteering with the Native Justice Coalition is one way that she can carry out the work connected to Anishinaabe culture.