Native Americans in Philanthropy and NCEL Learning Series: Tribal Relations 101 for State Legislators

June 26, 2024



NCEL Point of Contact

Kate Burgess
Conservation Program Manager


Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) and the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL) have joined forces in an effort to enhance collaboration between philanthropic funders, Tribal leaders, and state officials. Together, NAP’s unparalleled expertise in leveraging private investment for Tribal-led conservation and NCEL’s expansive network of environmentally-minded state lawmakers will build a bridge between the public and private sectors and create a powerful network working together for the betterment of the environment. Join us as we build connections between private philanthropic funders, regional funding networks, Tribes, and state officials.

This is the second annual State/Tribal Relations 101 broadcast as part of a longer learning series aimed at lawmakers, philanthropic entities, NGO staff, and the public. This session was aimed at helping state legislators build a foundation of knowledge around how states can best center Tribal priorities in policymaking and the responsibility states have as treaty partners to uphold Tribal sovereignty.


Estakio Beltran (Tolteca-Mexica, Tlatoani) (he/him)

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Estakio joined NAP as Partnership Advisor to lead the new Office of Strategic Engagement at the U.S. Department of the Interior. He collaborates regularly with the White House Council on Native American Affairs and other Federal agencies that house initiatives focused on conservation, economic development, and revitalizing Native languages through public-private engagement between philanthropy, Tribal organizations, and the business sector.

Estakio grew up in central Washington on the Yakama Nation. After spending over a decade advising senior members of Congress and high-ranking officials in Washington, D.C., he returned home to work in philanthropy with community-based organizations to co-design partnerships that improved the economic resilience of Tribal and rural communities.

Estakio’s success is rooted in a bold vision for systems change through community-centered solutions. He earned his BA from Gonzaga University, and his Masters in Public Administration from Columbia University in New York.

Alvin Warren (Santa Clara Pueblo) (he/him)

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Alvin is a lifelong northern New Mexican, a member of Santa Clara Pueblo, and a 30-year resident of the Española Valley. Prior to coming to the Foundation, he was a Program Officer of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation since 2013, responsible for an extensive portfolio of grants and program-related investments in New Mexico. These investments focused on improving the economic well-being of underserved youth, individuals, and families through supporting successful employment pathways and workforce training approaches, policy and systems change to increase workers’ wages and benefits, and expansion of entrepreneurs’ access to technical assistance and affordable capital. Alvin also worked to support innovative teacher recruitment and professional development models, the establishment of full- and dual-language immersion schools, and the transformation of educational systems.

Alvin has served as the cabinet secretary of Indian Affairs for the State of New Mexico, was the Lieutenant Governor of Santa Clara Pueblo, and Principal/Executive Vice President of Blue Stone Strategy Group. Alvin is a graduate of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and Dartmouth College.

Quinn Smith (Chickasaw Nation/Choctaw Nation) (he/him)

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Quinn Smith is a Chickasaw and Choctaw storyteller and aspiring policy practitioner who aims to utilize storytelling to advance the flourishing of Indigenous peoples and the environment. He earned his BA in Public Policy from Duke University in 2023 and won the Terry Sanford Leadership Award for his advocacy work as President of the Native American/Indigenous Student Alliance.

Quinn has directed creative projects for the U.S. Department of the Interior, All My Relations Podcast, the Chickasaw Nation, and Duke Gardens, as well as several independent documentaries and multimedia exhibits. As a freelance writer, Quinn has written about Native American history, Tribal sovereignty, and other contemporary issues for and ClickView Education. Through the Studio Duke program, Quinn wrote a TV pilot about Native college student experiences with the co-executive producer of ABC’s Blackish. He is currently co-authoring a paper about the Cherokee Industrial School, a Federal Indian Boarding School formerly run by Duke University.

Quinn was awarded the prestigious Hart Fellowship and will spend the next year working for Nia Tero and the Indigenous Leadership Initiative on advancing Indigenous land guardianship in the U.S. and Canada. Quinn was recently admitted to the Southern Exposure Film Fellowship and will be creating a film about advancing Indigenous land guardianship in Alabama. He is also a recipient of the Benenson Art Award through which he will be creating a documentary about the multiplicity of contemporary Chickasaw experiences from a Chickasaw perspective. In his free time, Quinn is a singer and guitarist for The Debris, an alt-rock band from Albuquerque, New Mexico which he founded with his high school friends. He is also a passionate learner of the Chickasaw language and a lover of green and red chile.

Brittany Schulman (Waccamaw Siouan) (she/her)

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Brittany Schulman is an enrolled citizen of the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe and grew up in rural North Carolina. As a traditional storyteller, Brittany’s perspective is grounded in her experience growing up with her mother, siblings, and grandparents on their family farm and her Waccamaw Siouan community. Brittany is a lifelong learner and educator and integrates her Indigenous values into everyday life.  She is a results-driven educator and public speaker with a track record of maximizing efforts through relationships. As an advocate, Brittany has served in many leadership roles to ensure that Native Americans and Indigenous values are not only included but also at the forefront in every conversation. Recognized for providing practical, sustainable solutions to business challenges with exceptional communication skills and project management with a passion for Indigenous peoples, Brittany is currently the Senior Vice President of Programs, where she continues her work as an organizer and educator. Brittany is married to a wonderfully supportive husband, Joseph (Leech Lake Ojibwe) and they have two children.