Diane Wilson (Dakota) is the author of The Seed Keeper, a novel published by Milkweed Editions in 2021, as well as author of a memoir, Spirit Car: Journey to a Dakota Past, which won a Minnesota Book Award and was selected for the One Minneapolis One Read program. Wilson has received a Bush Foundation Fellowship as well as awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, and the East Central Regional Arts Council. Wilson is the executive director for the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, a national coalition of tribes and organizations working to create sovereign food systems for Native people. She is a Mdewakanton descendent, enrolled on the Rosebud Reservation, and lives in Shafer, Minnesota.
Update: Due to a scheduling change, Secretary Haaland will not be able to join us at Rural Women Everywhere.
Delaine Anderson (she/her) is a graduate research assistant presently working on the 100 in 100 project. While she is currently in a Master of Public Health program at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities focusing on maternal and child health, she is applying to medical school to become a rural OB-GYN. Delaine brings to the 100RW team experience with qualitative research and statistical analysis, but when she isn’t nerding out behind the keyboard she loves knitting and playing with her cats (or knitting tiny sweaters for her cats).
Lillie Benowitz (she/they) is a relationship weaver and space builder. She is energized by cultivating relationships on their own terms, creating containers for connection, and fostering innovative expressions of spiritual practice, ritual, and community. Lillie is the Pastoral Engagement Associate at The On Being Project where they nourish, accompany, and embolden religious and spiritual leaders in the work of social healing. Professionally and in community, Lillie has convened art sharing spaces, facilitated groups across different perspectives, and guided organizational culture change to center equity.
Xandr Brown, 25, is currently a Daily Yonder fellow with a focus on multimedia reporting and building her environmental reporting beat. In 2018, she graduated undergrad from the University of Rochester in upstate New York in History and Communications with a minor in Environmental Humanities. She is currently based in Michigan’s Flint-area where she previously reported with hyperlocal newsrooms, Flintside.com and Flintbeat.com.
Liz Carey is a journalist, author and writing teacher living in Central Kentucky. A graduate of Miami University, she worked as a reporter for 20+ years before setting off on her own as a freelance writer. Currently, she writes about rural health, Appalachian culture, the transportation industry, workers’ compensation and Kentucky arts and entertainment. She started working for the Daily Yonder in 2018 and now serves as the Daily Yonder’s rural health reporter. Her focus lately has been on the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the growing rural mental health crisis, the opioid crisis, the rural health care system and vaccine distribution.
Edyael Casaperalta is Senior Policy Advisor at the Rural Utilities Service. She is an attorney who has supported indigenous and underrepresented communities in telecommunications matters. Most recently, she served as ACI Project Manager for AMERIND, the only 100-percent Tribally owned insurance provider in the United States, where she supported the company’s efforts to bring high-speed broadband to Tribal Nations, businesses, and communities. Prior to that, she was a fellow in the American Indian Law Program at the University of Colorado Law School. Casaperalta also served for more than seven years with the Center for Rural Strategies leading the Rural Broadband Policy Group, a national coalition of rural organizations advocating for high-speed, reliable, affordable broadband. She received a bachelor’s degree from Occidental College, a master’s from Ohio University, and a juris doctor from the University of Colorado Law School. She is proud to be from Elsa, Texas, a small border town in the Rio Grande Valley area. She lives in Colorado with her partner, Julia.
As the Daily Yonder’s Digital Editor, Caroline Carlson works on newsletters, social media, audience engagement, and of course writing, editing and publishing rural news. Her writing about food, agriculture and sustainable farming has appeared in publications such as Heavy Table, The Growler magazine and Organic Valley’s Rootstock blog. She’s had stints in politics, writing for Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor, in advertising, writing and strategizing for companies like General Mills and Marzetti and as a part of the editorial team at The Growler. Caroline grew up in small-town Wisconsin and holds a degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Caryn Compton was appointed Chief of Staff for Rural Utilities Services in August. Most recently, she served as the Chief of Staff for Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Compton has over 15 years of public service experience and has held senior roles in Congress, including Staff Director of the Senate Budget Committee, Legislative Director to Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, and Legislative Counsel to Senator Robert C. Byrd. Additionally, she served in the Obama-Biden Administration as a Legislative Analyst in the Office of Management and Budget. Compton holds a Bachelor of Arts from Marshall University, a Master of Arts from the University of Arizona, and a Juris Doctor from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.
Kristi Eaton is a freelance journalist based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Associated Press, Reuters, The Daily Yonder and elsewhere. She has reported from Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania and North America. Follow her on Twitter @KristiEaton.
Deborah Fallows is a writer and a linguist. She has written extensively for The Atlantic, National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Washington Monthly. She has worked at New America, the Pew Research Center, and Georgetown University. For four years, Deborah and her husband, writer James Fallows, crisscrossed the country in their small plane, reporting for The Atlantic on the civic and economic renewal of America’s towns. Their book about the project, Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America, a New York Times bestseller, was published by Pantheon in 2018. The HBO documentary, Our Towns, based on the book, was released in April 2021. They are continuing the work, devoted to connecting and supporting those leading today’s American renewal from the ground up through Our Towns Civic Foundation, which can be found online at OurTownsFoundation.org.
Vanessa Goodthunder, Sna Sna Wiƞ (Snah-Snah Weeƞ) comes from C̣aƞṡayapi (Chahƞ-shah-yah-pee), which means where they paint the trees red also known as the Lower Sioux Indian Community. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a Bachelor’s in U.S History and American Indian Studies-Dakota Language, and with a Master of Education. Her passions are education, revitalizing the Dakota language, and working with Native youth. Vanessa has worked with the nonprofit organization called Daḳota Wic̣oḣaƞ (Dakota Way of Life) as both a youth participant and later, a language instructor supporting Dakota language curriculum development. She was the Aide to the Chief of Staff and Tribal Affairs Policy Advisor in the Office of Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith. She is member of the National Indian Head Start Directors Association Board where she represents Zone 2 for AIAN Head Starts. She recently helped opened and currently serves as the Director of the C̣aƞṡayapi Waḳaƞyeża Owayawa Oṭi- A Dakota Immersion Early Head Start and Head Start, the first Dakota Head Start in the State of Minnesota.
Hahrie Han is the Inaugural Director of the SNF Agora Institute, a Professor of Political Science, and Faculty Director of the P3 Research Lab at Johns Hopkins University. She studies American Politics and specializes in the study of civic and political participation, social movements, collective action, and organizing, particularly as it pertains to democratic revitalization.
Emma Ross Higgins is a Lead for Minnesota fellow and will be serving with 100 Rural Women for 14 months. Though a Native New Yorker and lover of Manhattan, where she grew up, Emma has never felt so connected to a place as she has Minnesota and is humbled and delighted to have the opportunity to advocate for and connect with rural women. Emma graduated with honors from Macalester College in May 2020, with a B.A in Political Science.
Somáh Haaland (they/them) is an interdisciplinary artist from the Pueblos of Laguna and Jemez. Although their heart belongs to the desert, they currently reside on the east coast in Occupied Lenapehoking (New York City) and work in the film industry. Somáh earned their degree in theatre arts from the University of New Mexico in 2017, where they pursued their love of movement and storytelling that was instilled in them from a young age. In 2019, after a trip to the Jamestown History Museum in so-called Virginia, Somáh published an op-ed in Teen Vogue concerning inaccurate Native representation in museums. They also worked as an assistant teacher for the youth theatre program at UNM throughout their time as a college student, and they have been a youth leader with Circo Latino at the NHCC since 2017. Somáh loves collaborating with children to make theatre, and they are passionate about empowering youth to make art as a form of resistance. The intersectionality of Somáh’s queer and Indigenous identities is what drives their work and their desire to contribute to making the world into a place where BIPOC, queer, and other oppressed groups can thrive.
Teresa Kittridge, founder of 100 Rural Women, lives in Marcell Township in Northern Minnesota. She has spent much of her life serving rural people across the country, with a career that includes executive level leadership in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors as well as serving in elected office. 100 Rural Women models her life’s work, by serving women in rural places to inspire leadership, create connections, networks, and encourage civic engagement.
Nevada Littlewolf is the Page Amendment Campaign Manager & Executive Director. Before joining the team, Nevada served as Minnesota’s state Political Director for the 2020 Biden Presidential Campaign. Nevada also serves as a Trustee and Board chair of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. She brings years of experience to the team, having worked across sectors of community, government, philanthropy, non-profit, and business. Nevada served on the Virginia City Council for ten years from 2008-2018. Nevada is a citizen of Leech Lake nation and has two children.
Gabrielle leads AFT’s national initiative to ensure women landowners have access to resources, technical advice, and policy facilitators to ensure they lead in conservation and building resilient agrifood systems. Before joining AFT, she worked as a fellow with the USDA Northwest Climate Hub where she conducted social science research to better understand producer decision making in sustainable agrifood systems, particularly in the context of climate change adaptation and mitigation. She has written or contributed to many reports, assessments, and other publications on climate change. Gabrielle earned a Master of Science from the University of Washington School of Environmental and Forestry Science, where she focused on environmental economics and a Doctorate in sociology and sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University where she worked as one of the lead social scientists on a large-scale interdisciplinary USDA-NIFA project as part of her dissertation research.
Dani Pieratos, President and Co-Founder with Harvest Nation Inc. BA with Honors, Stanford University. Dani is deeply rooted in food and body sovereignty and food access. She holds interests across a host of social issues, including tribal sovereignty and sustainability. Above anything, Dani is motivated to make this world more livable, which is why she is so excited to contribute her talents to food justice work in NE MN with the Land Access Alliance and the grassroots Bois Forte Food Sovereignty and Sustainable Agriculture community advocacy group.
LB Prevette is a passionate community advocate, organizer, and storyteller. LB returned to her Appalachian home and began working to create meaningful change by breaking down social barriers and creating a sense of community. LB served as the Director of Community Engagement for Forward Wilkes, an organization that works to create safe and inclusive spaces and events, particularly focused on serving minority and LGBTQ+ youth in Appalachia. LB now serves as Senior Training Manager at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Carmen James Randolph, Founding CEO & President of Women’s Foundation of the South (WFS), is a renowned philanthropist and leader known for championing sustainable transformation from the intersections of gender, racial and social justice. Most recently serving as Vice President for Programs at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, Carmen is an innovator, strategist, expert grant-maker, and collaborative leader committed to the prosperity of communities of color.
Ben Speggen serves as the Editorial Director at Our Towns Civic Foundation, a national nonprofit devoted to connecting and supporting those leading today’s American renewal, where he helps to tell the stories of the people shaping and reshaping their communities throughout the country. Ben is also the Vice President of the Jefferson Educational Society, a nonpartisan think tank based in Erie, Pennsylvania, that endeavors to advance community progress through lifelong learning programming, publications, and public policy work.
Judge Tabit currently is a member of specialty courts in West Virginia, has served on the Business Court, and currently serves on the Mass Litigation Panel where she is the Lead Resolution Judge presiding over the Opioid Litigation in West Virginia. Judge Tabit is most passionate about the work she does for youth and their families. She is a member of the Juvenile Justice Commission, which monitors and ensures that the system provides safe, nurturing living conditions as well as rehabilitative services for West Virginia youth. Additionally, she presides over Kanawha County’s Juvenile Drug Court, a cooperative effort of the juvenile justice, social service, law enforcement, and educations systems working to divert non-violent juvenile offenders from the juvenile court process to an intensive individualized treatment process.
Tracy Taft worked as Executive Director of the International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA) for 15 years, served as a board member before that, and having completed a successful leadership transition, she now coordinates ISDA’s artisan ecommerce initiative as a volunteer and serves on the board of the Sonoran Desert Inn & Conference Center, a nonprofit subsidiary of ISDA.
Based in Ajo, Arizona near the U.S./Mexico border and the border of the Tohono O’odham Nation, ISDA is known for using creative placemaking and placekeeping strategies to build community across borders and across long-standing racial and ethnic divisions, while also weaving art and culture throughout its comprehensive community development and economic revitalization work.
Jasmine Terry (she/her) is a senior at the University of Minnesota Morris. She is double majoring in Psychology and Sociology and is also the captain of the track and field team at Morris. Jasmine is currently in the process of applying to graduate school. In her free time, Jasmine likes to exercise, read, hangout with friends and family, and eat ice cream.
Lora B. Whelan is the assistant editor and publisher for the community newspaper, The Quoddy Tides, which serves parts of Washington County, Maine, and Charlotte County, New Brunswick, and is based out of the island city of Eastport, Maine. Prior to joining The Quoddy Tides in 2007 she worked in historic preservation and economic development for Eastport’s Main Street Maine program. Whelan is an artist and a member of the Eastport Gallery, and joins in the city’s vibrant volunteer culture
Dominique Daye Hunter (Black/Sappony/Nansemond Native American) is a storyteller, BIWOC advocate, and multi-disciplinary artist who specializes in poetry and street fashion. She is the CEO of D. Daye Hunter Designs and Eloquent Expressions Writing Services. Dominique’s work explores the complex connections between history, intergenerational trauma, and healing in Black and Indigenous communities. She uses storytelling to create a safe, healing space for women, children, and those who are differently abled. A self-taught artist, Dominique completed a BS from Arizona State University in Nonprofit Leadership Management with an emphasis in American Indian Studies. The author of “Seeds,” Hunter has performed alongside noteworthy poets such as Simon Ortiz, Tenielle Campbell, and Laura Tohe. Hunter is a member of Unlock Creative’s Fall 2020 Black Creative Flowers cohort and became a member of the Arizona Artist Investment Program, an invitation-only, pilot cohort program, in the Spring of 2021.
Analisa LaCour is a mother and poet who writes about love, loss and identity. Her first book, To Cry for a Falling Star, documents her grief journey as she processed the sudden loss of her mother, a member of the Gila River Indian Community. Analisa is currently a stay at home mom; when she’s not chasing around her children, she enjoys roller skating, hiking, and tending to her plants.
Liv is a nomadic-bred multi-instrumentalist and emerging producer of Comanche and Otoe heritage whose vibrant music blends together elements of alternative R&B, neo soul, and indie-electronic. Her natural blend of organic sounds and downtempo bedroom Lofi beats resonates and embodies her unique and ever evolving music style as an emerging composer.
A singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with a beautiful soprano voice and sound that transcends genres, Katie was raised on a dairy goat farm in Northern California. Her influences include the country and folk music of her youth. She writes songs about love, friendship, struggle and hope.
Previously she has performed as a soloist and also with a five piece band in the Sacramento and San Francisco areas, under the stage name Katie Jane.
Eliza Blue returns to our Rural Assembly gatherings this fall at Rural Women Everywhere. Eliza is a shepherd, writer & folk-singer. In her 15 years of performing, she has worked and played with Billy Talbot (Crazy Horse), Dessa, Charlie Parr, Channy Leanaugh (Roma di Luna & Polica), Jami Lynn, and Chastity Brown, just to name a few.
Other highlights include performances at SXSW, Red Ants Pants, CMJ, and Sioux River Folk Fest. Her song “Let There Be Light,” was recently featured on All Songs Considered.
Lacy Hale has shown her work and public created murals all over the state of Kentucky, including galleries in both Morehead and Frankfort, the Appalshop Gallery in Whitesburg, KY, and the Grayson Gallery in Grayson, KY. Hale’s work was included in a traveling Smithsonian exhibit in 2012. She is co-founder of the following regional arts groups: EpiCentre Arts, Appalachian Women of the Arts, and East Kentucky for Arts Education. She was also co-host of the monthly radio show Art Matters on Appalshop’s WMMT FM for four years. She serves on both the Artist Advisory Board and the Executive Board of the Appalachian Artisan Center in Hindman, KY; and was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Arts Council in February of 2015.