About Us

The Intertribal Education Foundation develops educational programs that elevate Indigenous knowledge and perspectives. Our programs focus on technology, the arts, and athletics. We believe that the creative expression, open-mindedness, and cultural traditions of our students give them the ability to succeed in today's world. 

Elevating Indigenous Knowledge.

Securing Indigenous Futures.

IEF has deep relationships with Federal and Local Native American organizations as well as close professional connections to education institutions. IEF partners with local education agencies (LEAs), other nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions, government agencies, and businesses to create and deliver programs that holistically support students, create better learning outcomes, and brighter economic futures for Indigenous youth.

Intertribal Education Foundation was founded by Native American community leaders to serve Native American students, educators, and local communities. The organization was born from work Founders Laurel Silk, Nicole Nash, and Christian Stienstra were doing in their jobs and communities. Recognizing the education and economic gaps faced by Indigenous communities, and deeply concerned about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Indigenous youth and Veterans, IEF was founded to Elevate Indigenous Knowledge and Secure Indigenous Futures.

We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.

Dakota Tribe 

Board of Directors

Nicole Bremer Nash

Executive Director (she/her)

Founder Nicole Bremer Nash has over a decade of experience in the public and nonprofit sectors, alongside her career in education. She is a skilled instructor in her own right and has over 15 years of experience working with organizations and colleges. Nicole is a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies, active member of the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, and regularly takes time to teach LEA faculty, staff, and administrators how to make their learning materials and environments more accessible for students with impairments, as well as students experiencing other socio-economic barriers. Nicole is a former City Councilwoman in the State of Kentucky and has managed multiple other political campaigns, including her own State Senate campaign in Georgia. Throughout her career, she has worked for nonprofit organizations in both volunteer and professional capacities, including assisting in the founding of the HuTerra Foundation, a nonprofit focused on helping incubate small nonprofits.

Laurel Silk, MEd.

President (she/her)

Founder Laurel Silk is Hunkpapa Lakota and an enrolled member of Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota. She grew up in Arizona and lived in Whiteriver on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation and attended high school in Phoenix. Laurel graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Master of Arts degree in Education Technology. Laurel has been in the education industry for over 21 years. She has worked with educational institutions at all grade levels to assist them in developing online courseware and programming to meet the needs of diverse learners. Laurel and her team have over two decades of experience working in multicultural communities and schools. She is an active member in her community and works with Phoenix Indian Center to help provide paid internships to Native American high school students. 

Alexis Shaw

Board Member (she/her)

Founder Alexis Shaw, Hunkpapa Lakota, attends the prestigious Rancho Solano Preparatory school in Scottsdale, Arizona. Alexis has worked with youth ages 5 to 10 for over four years providing theatre instruction. She was President of the ASU Prep Psychology club (2020-2021) and a Fire Cadet for Crown King Fire Department (2019-2020). Alexis is a talented actor and singer and has earned multiple nominations for National Youth Arts for Outstanding Performance. In 2015, she earned certification in singing and music theory from the Royal Academy of Music of London and completed an Art Conservation/History/Appraisal certificate from Sotheby's Institute of Art in New York in 2022. Alexis plans to earn her degree in Art Conservation and minor in American Indian Studies and will specialize in Native American art conservation.

Christian Stienstra

Board Member (he/him)

Founder Christian Stienstra, is a Second-Degree Black Belt Instructor from Wado International Karate-Do Federation and is SafeSport™ trained. Christian has earned numerous Martial Arts awards and accomplishments, including earning a spot on the 2021 US National Team. Christian teaches Martial Arts in Maricopa County, Arizona. He has been instructing children from ages 6 to 18 since 2014. Christian’s work with young people in our community drives him to use his business acumen to serve Indigenous children by piloting IEF programs.

Advisory Board

Join Us!

Intertribal Education Foundation is currently looking for members interested in serving on our advisory board. 

We are looking for Advisory Board members with tribal education, athletics, technology, and advocacy backgrounds. As part of the Advisory Board, she/he/they will advocate for and promote the organization and work closely with our Executive Director to establish plans, policies and strategies to achieve the mission and the vision of the organization.
Contact us here.