Native American Indian Commission

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee of the Commission has the authority to take any action when necessary in behalf of the Commission between regular meetings of the Commission. It has the general supervision of the affairs of the Commission and may prepare any recommendations for its review and action. In addition the Executive Committee provides direction to the Executive Director in the conduct of the affairs of the Commission when required.

  • 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.

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