Ahtza Dawn Chavez
Ahtza (Ahh-ttsaa) D. Chavez is a two-spirit asdzą́ą́ member of the Diné Nation born for Kewa Pueblo. She is the proud mother to a son and the daughter of Cari W. (Diné) and Everett F. Chavez (Kewa Pueblo). As the Executive Director of Naeva, she oversees partner organizations tasked with educating and creating an Indigenous voting bloc in New Mexico working with key organizations and governance within the state.
Ahtza studied Sociology at Stanford University until her senior year when she transferred to the University of New Mexico. She has an MBA from the UNM Anderson School of Business and a Master of Studies in Law (MSL) from the UNM School of Law with a concentration in federal Indian law. Her vision includes focusing on increasing civic engagement within Native American communities, continuing to collaborate and unify a voter bloc while strengthening Indigenous sovereignty and control over sacred lands. She also wishes to reinvigorate the power of Tribal leaders to exercise sovereignty as it comes to battling the climate crisis.
She is the small business owner of IndigeLens Media, which focuses on showcasing Indigenous voices, enhancing Tribal community, promoting social entrepreneurship, and increasing visibility of authentic representations of Indigenous culture.
Indigenous Center Administrator
Charlotte joined Naeva in April 2022 as the Deputy Director, having previously contributed to the NAVA Education Project team in leading GOTV efforts for elections and campaigns in targeted Tribal communities, coordinating the Native Census Coalition during the 2020 Decennial Census, and 2021 Redistricting efforts.
Born in Albuquerque and raised in San Felipe Pueblo, Charlotte received a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico and previously worked in government relations, Tribal administration, human resources, and as an administrative officer in the Indian Health Service. Charlotte has most recently served as vice chair of New Mexico Voices for Children, president of Emerge New Mexico, and chair of the San Felipe Pueblo Health Board. She lives in Albuquerque with her husband, Joseph (Mescalero Apache/Ohkay Owingeh). They are the proud parents of Victoria, Daniel and Christopher and 10 grandchildren. In 2022, Charlotte became state representative for NM House District 68, representing northwest Albuquerque.
Alma Rosa Silva-Bañuelos
Chief of Staff
Alma Rosa Silva-Bañuelos is the Chief of Staff for Naeva and is part of building Native power through strong community relations. From supporting and uplifting staff as well as creating access to systems that have historically left Native voices out, they believe in the strength of identity and in the journey of decolonizing and honoring their whole self as they embrace their two-spirit identity as Mexica Azteca Chichimeca/Xicana.
Having been a community organizer in their hometown of Albuquerque since the late 1990s and having worked across New Mexico facilitating local and rural communities in self-organizing for social, environmental, economic, reproductive and gender justice, Alma Rosa has worked with many local, statewide, regional, national, bi-national organizations and community groups.
Alma Rosa is a co-founding member of Bold Futures, and served as a founding Board of Directors member for the Transgender Resource Center of NM and Casa Q. They served as the founding Director of the LGBTQ Resource Center at UNM and is the founder of the NM LGBTQ Roundtable. Alma Rosa was recognized by the Recuerda Cesar Chavez Committee and was awarded the Dolores Huerta “Si Se Puede” Award in 2013 for lifelong commitment to community, social and human rights issues.
Bernadette Hardy is from Albuquerque and is a member of the Navajo Nation and Jemez Pueblo, and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of New Mexico. Being an urban Native herself, she has experienced and witnessed the disenfranchisement and inequities of urban Natives striving to achieve and live a good healthy life in Albuquerque and across the United States, leading her to dedicate her time to public service and working in mutual aid.
Bernadette has several years’ experience as a mentor, mentor trainer, and supervisor of several mentoring programs, and has more than fourteen years experience in grassroots organizing in the Albuquerque area as co-coordinator of the International District Healthy Communities Coalition, co-chair of the ABQ CiQlovia Project, and member of the Highland High School Community School Council.
With the support of many partners, family and community, Bernadette continues to be an advocate for our Native families who deserve access to housing, healthy food, safer infrastructure and the right to live a long healthy, prosperous life. She is the proud mother to one teenage son.
Indigenous Energy Manager
Wendy Atcitty is a Navajo Nation tribal member, born for the Bitter Water Clan and Salt Clan. From 1996 to 2007, Wendy achieved various research projects with science degrees in Earth and Environmental Science and Chemistry. From 2007 to 2018, she has been an educator in schools on Native American reservations teaching a cultural-based science curriculum in physics, chemistry, environmental science, and business.
In 2018, Atcitty got a Master’s in Sustainable Business from Presidio Graduate School, establishing an entrepreneurship journey in sustainable business. Her current work is with non-profit organizations like Naeva to highlight, organize, and advocate clean energy issues and a regenerative economy on Tribal land.
Indigenous Energy Organizer
Joseph Hernandez grew up in Pueblo, Colorado in the Bessemer Community and graduated from Shiprock High School in 2006. Joseph worked as support staff for the Youth Opportunity Program with the Navajo Nation Office of Youth Development, Shiprock Agency. He was a field organizer for Anthony Allison’s campaign for the New Mexico House of Representatives as well as the former Committee President of Gadii’ahi-To’koi Chapter Community Land Use Planning Committee.
Indigenous Policy Advocate
Aaron Lee is a Navajo, Cochiti Pueblo, and Oglala Lakota person from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is a recent graduate from Dartmouth College with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Native American Studies. Prior to joining Naeva and NM Native Vote, Aaron served as a K-8 th grade horticulturalist teacher for Bernalillo Public Schools, a forest conservationist for Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, and program site manager for Story Riders.
Aaron Lee now serves as the Climate and Energy Policy Fellow for Naeva and NM Native Vote and is a part of Naeva’s Indigenous Energy Team whose focus is on improving the environmental quality for Native and New Mexican people, decarbonizing New Mexico’s economy and reducing/mitigating further greenhouse gas emissions that disproportionately afflict Indigenous and frontline communities. Aside from Aaron’s passions for environmental justice and Indigenous food sovereignty, he also writes music and tours with his band Side Montero and enjoys staying active.
Petyr Xyst is from Albuquerque, New Mexico and is a citizen of the Laguna Pueblo. He graduated in 2022 with a BFA in Film and Digital Arts from the University of New Mexico and has been involved in political organizing since he was a sophomore in high school as an organizer for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.
He has also participated in organizing and protest movements involving environmentalism, gun violence, and police abolition. He is an alum of Sundance’s Indigenous Program and was nominated for Rolex’s Mentor and Protégé initiative.