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Board of Directors

Sloan Rupp

President of the Board

Suzanne Mealer

Treasurer of the Board

I was born and raised in Lincoln, but traveled in my time in the
military. I am a Sisseton Dakota Sioux decedent.

My mother’s side, the DeCoteau’s, helped establish the Center
through my grandfather, LaVoy DeCoteau, and grandmother, Dixie
DeCoteau. I am the 7th generation descendant of Wakanmani
through my mother, Leta DeCoteau. When my grandparents passed away I was sent to live with my father, Samuel Rupp, who raised me in the traditions of a military family and inspired me to serve in the US Army.

I joined the board in March of 2019, shortly after the collapse. I was
first inspired to join by then Chairman Deveron Baxter and Vice
Chairman Kevin Abourezk. These individuals stepped up when it
seemed the Center was lost and had the courage to rebuild it the
right way. I also feel I owe it to my ancestors, my grandparents, and the native community to ensure the Center is here to serve our people. 
The team around me, from my fellow board members to our staff team and all the families that deeply care about the Center motivate me to continue this work.

Courage and humility are the personality traits I most attribute to my success. I am willing to put myself in situations where I'm forced to be humbled, learn, and adapt. I’ve also learned from great leaders that to build a team you have to put people in the best situation to succeed and contribute and I think we’ve done that well.

John Yoakum

Angel Geller

Eyon nin-a!
Ebe bthin-the uwibtha taminkhe. Umonhon Honga wa’u bthin. Waxe izhazhe wiwita-the Angel Geller. Ni’skithe Tton Won Gthon ta gthin.

My name is Angel Geller. I am from the Umonhon Tribe of Nebraska, Honga Clan. I also have ancestral ties to the Sicangu Oyate (Rosebud) and the Hoocą́k hoit'éra
(Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska).

My Mom is Renee Geller, an Umonhon Inke’cabe wa’u, an enrolled member of the Umonhon Tribe. Her mother was Sara Dick (Umonhon) of Rosalie, NE. My biological Mom is Sonya Lieb-Vanderlin, an Umonhon Honga wa’u, also an enrolled member of the Umonhon Tribe. Her father was Henry Warner (Umonhon and Winnebago), a descendant of the Warner, Morris, Woodhull, and Big Fire families. Her
mother is Loretta Lieb McGeisey (Rosebud and Umonhon), a descendant of the Lieb, Bordeaux, Red Owl, and Pony families.

I was born and raised in Lincoln. My Mom, Renee Geller, has always inspired me to be engaged and play an active role in my community. From being a nurse, to an administrator, an educator, an advocate, a grant writer, and a previous Indian Center board member (+more!) - my Mom displayed her love for her community through service, and I hope to carry that on.

I have only recently joined the board, but I have been really impressed by the momentum and drive this board has had. Just as community members stepped up to
make the Indian Center alive and well when I was growing up, I hope to carry that legacy for our next generation.

I absolutely love working with Native youth. I am the Lead Family Coordinator for Society of Care and a proud mentor/advisor to the Trauma Warriors Native American
Youth Council.

I would say my best personality trait is that I am creative. I am a studio artist- but my creativity extends past that: I like solving problems and thinking outside of the box.

I am passionate about using Umonhon Iye whenever I can. I studied abroad in New Zealand when I was earning my BFA at Nebraska Wesleyan University- and I was deeply inspired by the Maori’s efforts to revitalize their Indigenous languages. The elders who taught one of my classes talked about a time when their language was nearly extinct. And with the strong efforts of community leaders over about a 40-year period- nearly all my classmates were fluent speakers. After I graduated from NWU and during the pandemic, I started taking Umonhon Iye classes at NICC over zoom. I am still absolutely a beginner, but I’m proud to be learning and practicing.

Wathina Porter

Kris Ross

I grew up in Omaha. After college and getting married, we moved around to Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Iowa then settled in Lincoln in 1995 after our 4th child was born and was sick so we wanted to live close to a hospital and my parents. I have my private pilot’s license and got a degree in Air Traffic Control. I liked working with people more than directing planes, so I went back to school and got a degree in Education.

I am not Native. I am mostly Swedish. My parents were both teachers and my dad also coached football at Omaha Westside. He joined the Huskers staff in 1983 and was an offensive line and kickers coach. He passed away in 2010. I have been married for 35 years and we have 3 grown children, 28-32 years old and one granddaughter who is almost 5.

 I joined the board in 2019 at a community meeting where Deveron Baxter appointed individuals to serve with him, all representing different skillsets, and we were all sworn in at that moment. Life changing! I knew good people who were on the previous board and felt awful about what had happened. I committed to help grow it again and create a more positive and tribally inclusive place to serve the Native American community. 

I am in awe of this board and their commitment. We have recently been blessed to hire some hardworking staff. And now an amazing Executive Director.  Everyone cares so much about this Indian Center and the community deserves an amazing place with fantastic programs to bring people together. 

I am a good listener. The quieter you become, the more you hear. I have learned so much from all the families I have worked with the past 23 years in Lincoln Public Schools. I’ve learned from elders, parents, and students. I am not sure why I was so blessed to have this position to serve this community, but I do know that my life has been enriched by the people I have met and the lessons they have taught me.

Alexandrea Tamayo

ICI Staff

Steve Laravie Jr.

Executive Director

Josie Shea

Event Coordinator

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