Native American Indian Commission

Commissioner Biographies

  • Chrissie Castro

    Chrissie Castro

    NAIC Chair

    LA City Mayoral Appointed Commissioner

    Chrissie Castro (Diné & Chicana) is the Chair of the Los Angeles City and County Native American Indian Commission, and co-led the change to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in the city and County of Los Angeles; She was a co-founder of Indigenous Women Rise, which organized the Indigenous women’s contingent of 1,000 Indigenous Women at the Women’s March in DC. She is the Network Weaver of the Native Voice Network, a national network of 35+ Native-led organizations that mobilize through indigenous cultural values; and recently launched two projects to build community and political power of Native communities – locally, the California Native Vote Project and nationally, Advance Native Political Leadership

  • Rudy Ortega, Jr.

    NAIC Vice Chair

    Supervisor Kuehl Appointed Commissioner

    Rudy Ortega Jr. (Fernandeño Tataviam) is a former Chairman of the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission and has served on the Commission since 2004.

    He is the Tribal President of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, a native sovereign nation of northern Los Angeles County. As the current elected Tribal President of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians Ortega Jr. oversees his Tribe’s governmental body and manages affairs pertaining to the rights of all Fernandeño Tataviam people.

    Since 2004, Ortega Jr. has served as the Executive Director of Pukúu Cultural Community Services the FTBMI’s non-profit that serves the greater Los Angeles County American Indian community. Through Pukúu, Ortega Jr. also oversees Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center located 14 miles up the Angeles Crest Highway.

  • Cheri Thomas

    NAIC Secretary

    Supervisor Ridley-Thomas Appointed Commissioner

    Cheri Thomas (Quinault & Yurok,) has been a Los Angeles resident since 1987 and actively participates with her tribes. Ms. Thomas supports American Indian constituents and events throughout Los Angeles County and District 2. She has spoken on behalf of the Commission as a panelist at Harvard University, the World Indigenous Peoples Conference and the California Department of Education.

    Ms. Thomas graduated from USC with a BA in Journalism and Masters of Public Administration and works for the Los Angeles Unified School District as a Principal Administrative Analyst.

  • Shawn Imitates Dog

    NAIC Treasurer

    Native Community Appointed Commissioner

    Shawn Imitates Dog (Lakota) is a human resources leader with over 20 years of experience in fitness, restaurant, hospitality, sports and entertainment industries. Shawn has led national multi-discipline teams responsible for employee relations, recruiting, training, compensation, benefits and HRIS.

    Shawn is currently the Vice President, Human Resources for Live Nation Entertainment.  Shawn is a member of various professional organizations including Society of Human Resources Management, Professionals in Human Resources Association, Entertainment Human Resources Network where he serves as a member of the Advisory Committee.

    A member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Shawn is active in the Native American community, serving as the Treasurer of the Los Angeles County/City American Indian Commission and member of the National Congress of American Indians.  He was an Advisory Member for the Red Cloud Heritage Center; Vice President of the American Indian Children’s Council; and the Southern California Indian Center where he has participated in education and fundraising activities. Shawn received the “40 Under 40” Native American Leaders Award in 2010.

    Shawn has also played an active role in the social justice and HIV/AIDS movements. He is a member of the Red Circle Project Fundraising Committee which supports AIDS Project Los Angeles and former member of the Los Angeles County HIV/AIDS Commission.  He also served on the Liberty Hill Foundation annual dinner committee.   Shawn has been a guest lecturer for UCLA and USC’s Diversity Program as well as FOX Indian Summer Program. He was also a panelist for Diversity and Inclusion Conference in 2010.

  • Dr. Andrea Garcia

    LA City Mayoral Appointed Commissioner

    Dr. Andrea Garcia (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara) is a Physician Specialist with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. She completed a fellowship in research and policy with the National Clinician Scholars Program at UCLA, and she trained in General and Preventive Medicine with the California Department of Public Health. Her current work focuses on research and systems improvement pertaining to urban Native American health and wellbeing, looking broadly at the structural determinants of health to improve heath equity, and improving workforce diversity. She is a Board Member for the United American Indian Involvement, We Are Healers, Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians, and is proud to serve as a Mayoral Appointee for the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission.

  • Allison Hicks

    Native Community Appointed Commissioner

    Allison Hicks (Potawatomi & Choctaw) is an enrolled member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and is also of Choctaw of Oklahoma descent. She is an actor, mother, wife, aunt, sister and community member. She is a Trustee on the Board of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Allison Hicks also served as co-chair of the National Council of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. She has performed in numerous Native plays throughout the country, recently in the world premiere of Devilfish, written by Vera Starbard (Tlingit & Dena’ina Athabascan) at Perseverance Theater in Juneau, Alaska. Allison is also an ensemble member of Native Voices at the Autry in Los Angeles, California.

  • Dawn Jackson

    Native Community Appointed Commissioner

    Jackson (Saginaw Chippewa) has been an active member of the Los Angeles American Indian community since 1990. Dawn has served as a community elected commissioner for the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission since 1994. Over the past two decades she has worked in the entertainment industry in many roles, from production executive, project manager, artist to an independent producer. Throughout her career she has served as a liaison to the native community, both locally as well as nationally. During this time she also worked with many organizations to create opportunities for Native people interested in pursuing careers in entertainment.

    In 2010 Dawn was able to return to being an artist and dedicating a majority of her time to painting. Over the past four years she showed her paintings in major art markets throughout the US, including Santa Fe Indian Market, The Heard Museum Marketplace and the Autry Art Marketplace. In March 2014 she was part of exhibit of Ojibwe women artists at the Gustave Heye Museum (Smithsonian) in New York City.

  • Kimberly Morales Johnson

    Native Community Appointed Commissioner

    (Gabrieleno Tongva)

    Kimberly Morales Johnson is an enrolled member of the San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians/Gabrieleno Tongva.  Her family maintains tradition and continuity to their tribe by living on the tribal traditional land and knowing its precious history. Kimberly currently serves as Tribal Secretary for the tribe, and as a community elected commissioner for the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission.

    Kimberly has been active in Native American politics and culture, maintaining her family traditions all of her life.  Her father served as tribal chairman, and was one of the first to serve as a Native American Monitor for the State of California.  She and her family have been featured in documentaries and several books, regarding the Native people of the Los Angeles Basin.

    Kimberly has given various presentations to several local colleges and universities about the Gabrieleno/Tongva and maintaining cultural traditions.  She has consulted for many publications including, Harcourt Mifflin Social Studies Text Books and with William McCawley on his most recent book, “Oh My Ancestor.”

    In 2010, Kimberly earned her Master’s in Public Health and taught Diabetes Education with Riverside San Bernardino County Indian Health.  She is currently working as Special Education Teacher in Pomona, California.  Kimberly enjoys traditional basket weaving, preparing native foods, and keeping her Native American culture alive.

  • Fred Leaf

    Supervisor Barger Appointed Commissioner

    Fred Leaf (Potawatomi) was appointed Interim Director of the Los Angeles County Health Agency by the Board of Supervisors in January 2018.  The Health Agency structure was created in 2015 to foster stronger integration between the Departments of Health Services, Public Health and Mental Health.

    Leaf brings over 35 years of professional experience to the role, including executive management experience in the Department of Health Services, the second largest public health system in the country and a leader in developing services for at-risk and vulnerable populations.

    Most recently, he worked in the Los Angeles County Chief Executive Office, representing the County on a statewide health policy framework to preserve gains made under the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of affordable health care coverage.

    Earlier, he served as Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s Senior Health Policy Advisor, a highly visible role where he coordinated all policy matters related to the Department of Health Services, Public Health, Mental Health, and Homelessness.

    Prior to joining the office of Supervisor Antonovich, he served as the Chief Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Department of Health Services, directing administration of an integrated system of hospitals, health centers and private, nonprofit clinic partners that together ensured delivery of a broad array of essential health services to County residents.

    He also served as the Acting Director of Health Services, where he was responsible for the overall management and operations of the department that has a current annual operating budget of $4.3 billion and employs over 21,000 employees.

    During his long tenure with the County, Leaf also served in management positions in the Departments of Mental Health and Public Health.

  • Randall Murphy

    LA City Mayoral Appointed Commissioner

    Randall Murphy (Choctaw & Lakota) grew up in Nebraska and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1985 and the Yale Law School in 1989. While at UN-L he served as Chairmen of the Native American Student Association for several years and as the University Program Council Chair for Native American Cultural Events. At Yale he served on the Steering Committee of the Latino/Asian/Native American Student organization and the American Indian Law Students Association.

    He currently sits on the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission as a mayoral appointee and is a Director of the Wawokiye Foundation, which serves the Native Community of Los Angeles, particularly during the holiday season, focusing on Native children in the foster care system and TANF recipients.

    He is retired from the California Department of Justice where he served as a Deputy Attorney General for 21 years. He is currently serving as a Tribal Partnership Specialist with the Department of Commerce, Census Bureau.

  • Tracy M. Perez

    Native Community Appointed Commissioner

    Tracy M. Perez (Diné) is the Vice Chair of the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission and current Chair of the Self Governance Board.

    Tracy is an active member of Los Angeles Native American community volunteering and participating with many community programs and activities. Tracy started working as a Community Liaison for the LA Urban Indian Health program, United American Indian Involvement (UAII) for native families with the Veteran Affairs program in Long Beach.

    Passionate for the community, Tracy has sat as board member for several organizations such as American Indian Community Council (AICC), APLA-Red Circle Projects and a member of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) taskforce of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

  • Joseph Quintana

    LA City Mayoral Appointed Commissioner
    Joseph Quintana (Kewa Pueblo) joined the commission as a LA City Mayoral appointee in early 2018 and previously served as a community elected commissioner in 2017.

    Professionally, Mr. Quintana serves at the United American Indian Involvement where he leads the organizations new development projects. During this time he has increased the visibility of the organization, developed new- and maintained existing partnerships, and been involved in diversification of funding sources.

    Over the past 15 years Mr. Quintana has served Indian Country with a focus on Economic Development, Workforce Training, Marketing and Community Outreach, along with increasing access to Health and Wellness. Joseph has served 3 Native Nations and worked on projects funded by Federal and State awards such as the Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Service, U.S. Dept. Labor and Housing and Urban Development. Joseph has also managed a non-profit publication with subscriptions across the U.S., including foreign countries: Germany, France, and Australia.

    Joseph plans on continuing to serve the needs of the American Indian community, and is an active participant in many of the cultural and family orientated activities in Los Angeles.

  • Ted Tenorio

    Supervisor Solis Appointed Commissioner

    (Tiguan Nation)

  • Mark Villasenor

    LA City Mayoral Appointed Commissioner

    (Fernandeño Tataviam)

  • Rene’ Williams

    Supervisor Hahn Appointed Commissioner

    (Colville Tribes)

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