Rhonda Begay, Navajo Nation Employee
Rhonda was born and raised in Teesto, Arizona, and currently resides in Hardrock, Arizona. Rhonda works for the Navajo Nation’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program providing special supplemental nutrition programming for pregnant women, breastfeeding moms, and families with babies and young children. As a WIC nutritionist, Rhonda is constantly working with Diné families to ensure a positive and healthy upbringing. Outside of her work, she enjoys her time with family, tending to her livestock, and attending ceremonies. Rhonda’s dedication to helping service her community is what interested her in being a TNA board member.
Dana Eldridge, Organizer
Dana is Tsénjíkinií Kin Łitsonii and is born for Bilagáanaa. Her maternal grandfather is Kin Yaa'áanii, and her paternal grandfather is Norwegian. Dana is from the Bishadaas'chii community, also known as "Navajo Station," named after a gas compression station on the Transwestern pipeline that runs across the Navajo Nation. Her community is heavily impacted by high rates of cancer and desertification from the pipeline and compression station. Dana decided to dedicate her life to remembering, revitalizing, and protecting indigenous land-based lifeways. She is currently reviving her family's off-grid spring/summer sheep camp with hopes of practicing and demonstrating dry-land farming techniques and learning about traditional food knowledge and plant medicine. In 2014, Dana spearheaded the Diné Food Sovereignty Initiative at Diné Policy Institute and co-authored “Diné Food Sovereignty: A Report on the Navajo Nation Food System and the Case to Rebuild a Self-Sufficient Food System for the Diné People.” Dana holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ethnic Studies from Brown University.
Dan Herder, Rancher/Retired NGS Employee
Dan is originally from Howell Mesa and resides in Hardrock, Arizona. Dan is a full-time rancher and spends the majority of his day tending to his livestock. In 2013, he was invited to Nairobi, Kenya as a representative from the United States on Indigenous Pastoralism. He is a member of the World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples (WAMIP), where he advocates Indigenous pastoralism in the United States. As a frontline community member, Dan has seen, first hand, the impacts of climate change and resource extraction on the indigenous pastoralist lifeways. Dan can tell his story at the international level with these experiences to bring attention to this endangered lifeway.
Edith Simonson, Sheepherder/Weaver
Edith was born and raised in Hardrock, Arizona. Edith is a full-time sheepherder and Diné weaver. She is one of the few Diné weavers that still hand processes her wool and uses natural colors from her sheep and vegetable plant dyes for her weavings. As a sheepherder and traditional weaver, she has experienced first hand the impacts of climate change and industry upon her way of life. As a result, Edith took it upon herself to advocate for those truly impacted such, as the livestock, wildlife, and plant life on Black Mesa. In 2016, Edith and several other frontline community members took to the streets of St. Louis, Missouri, home of Peabody Energy, to demand reclamation of the Navajo aquifer.
Germaine Simonson, Business Owner/Educator
Germaine was born and raised in Hardrock, Arizona. In 2003, Germaine graduated with her Master's degree in Social Work from Arizona State University. She returned to her community of Hardrock and has since worked in the surrounding communities developing and implementing prevention programs, building partnerships, and creating youth leadership programs. Her current venture includes being a small business owner and consultant. Ms. Simonson is passionate about working and empowering individuals, families, and communities.