Who We Are
Meet the people behind Save California Salmon.
The board is made up of tribal leaders, fishermen, educators, and scientists from the watersheds we work in.
Chief Caleen Sisk
Caleen Sisk is the Spiritual Leader and Tribal Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. Caleen's leadership started in 2000 and has focused on maintaining cultural and religious traditions of the Tribe and has led the revitalization of the Winnemem’s H’up Chonas (or War Dance) and BaLas Chonas (Puberty Ceremony). She advocates for California salmon restoration; healthy, undammed watersheds and the human right to water. She has received international honors as a sacred site protector and leads the tribe’s resistance against the proposal to raise the Shasta Dam.
Morning Star Gali
Morning Star Gali is a member of the Ajumawi band of the Pit River Tribe in Northeastern California and a Leading Edge Fellow. Morning Star formerly worked as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Pit River Tribe. She served as a volunteer and advocate on behalf of Indigenous incarcerated tribal members in California and worked with a number of Indigenous-led grassroots organizations in the Bay Area for over a decade. Morning Star leads large-scale actions and assists with organizing Native cultural, spiritual, academic, and political gatherings throughout the state. She has been the lead organizer since 2006 for the prominent “Thanks-taking” sunrise ceremony on Alcatraz island.
Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy
Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy is a Hoopa Valley Tribal member and is the Department Chair and a Professor of Native American Studies at Humboldt State University. Her research is focused on Indigenous feminisms, California Indians and decolonization. She received her Ph.D. in Native American Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Feminist Theory and Research from the University of California, Davis and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Literary Research from San Diego State University. She also has her B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University. She is a 2011 Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellow and an American Indian Graduate Center Fellow. Her recent book "We are Dancing For You" has won
Allie Hostler is a Hoopa Valley Tribal member. She is the editor of the Two Rivers Tribune and the former Communications Director for the Hoopa Valley Tribe’s Fisheries Department. She received a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in 2009 and graduated from the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute in 2005.
Marva Jones is an enrolled Dee-ni' (Tolowa) citizen, Yurok, Karuk and Wintu of Northern California and fortunately comes from the villages of Nii~-lii~-chvn-dvn and Mvn'-sray-me' along the Smith River and the villages of Wausek and Weitspus along the Klamath River. Sii~xuutesna comes with a myriad of professional practices, experience and tribal community-building expertise. Sii~xuutesna attended Humboldt State University with an emphasis in Political Science and Native American Studies. Marva continues active participation and strategizing in ensuring language survival and maintenance, and strong traditional/cultural values.
Brittani Orona is an enrolled member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at UC Davis in Native American Studies with a Designated Emphasis in Human Rights. Brittani completed her Master of Arts in Native American Studies at UC Davis in 2018 and her Master of Arts in Public History at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS) in 2014. Brittani is interested in repatriation, federal Indian law, cultural resources management, indigenous environmental justice, and history as they relate to California Indian tribes. Brittani has worked at the California State Indian Museum, the California State Office of Historic Preservation, National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC, California State Archives, and the Maidu Museum and Historic Site.
Malissa Tayaba is the Vice-Chairperson of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians. She is also the Director of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Her work includes: sharing the ways aboriginal territory and its natural resources have historically been, and continue to be, utilized and tended to by Nisenan and Miwok people and bringing cultural activities back into the tribal community, such as basketry, traditional song and dance, ceremony, land stewardship, and language revitalization. Before becoming TEK Director, Malissa spent six years as a Cultural Researcher and ten years as Director of Social Services. She is a member of the Delta Conveyance Project Stakeholder Engagement Committee and a member of the Delta Protection Commission’s National Heritage Area Management Plan Advisory Committee.
Sammy Gensaw is a Yurok fisherman and youth activist who has gone around the world fighting dams and displacement of natives. He is the director of Ancestral Guard and is on the board Nature Rights Council.
Tom Stokely retired in 2008 after serving 23 years as a Principal Planner with the Natural Resources Division of Trinity County, where he focused on Trinity River and Central Valley Project salmon and steelhead restoration. He was appointed by the Interior Secretary to represent PCFFA on a federal advisory committee for the Trinity River Restoration Program and served as vice-chairman and chairman until the Trump Administration dismantled the committee.
Javier Silva is a Tribal Member with the Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo. He resides in Fort Bragg and has worked for Tribes for over 20 years in Environmental Planning and Management. Javier promotes utilizing traditional ecological knowledge and is an advocate for sustainable management of the environment.
Our staff is a devoted team with diverse backgrounds.
Regina Chichizola is the Executive Director of Save California’s Salmon, a Water Policy Analyst for the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisheries Associations and the 2017 winner of the Anthony Grassroots Prize. Regina has lived on the Klamath River for twenty years, and is a long-term advocate for tribal water rights, clean water, wild salmon, prescribed fire, and environmental justice.
Tasha James is the Assistant Director at Save California Salmon. She is a member of the Hoopa Valley tribe with Yurok and Karuk descent. She has been very fortunate to grow up in the original ancestral territories of her tribes, where she has been an active participant in her traditions and culture. She has worked in both rural and urban areas, serving as a project manager and a project director for many grants and programs.
Charley is of the Hupa, Yurok and Karuk people. He credits his connection to culture, community and the environment to his academic success. Charley has a Bachelor's in Native American Studies and a Master's in Social Sciences from Humboldt State University, where he studied the cultural importance of Spring Chinook salmon to Klamath and Trinity River Indigenous people. Charley hopes to inspire youth and communities through culturally relevant curriculum in public schools.
Araceli Moreno (she/her) is a Youth Education Advocate at Save California Salmon. She has a BA in Linguistics from UC Davis and Masters in Education, Instruction and Curriculum Design, from the University of San Diego. Araceli is Hñähñu and an advocate for culturally relevant pedagogy and immigration rights.
Kasil Willie is the Staff Attorney at Save California Salmon. She is an enrolled member of Walker River Paiute Tribe, Pomo, and Irish. She has a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of San Francisco and JD with a concentration in Environmental Law from McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. During her time at USF, Kasil became passionate about environmental justice which led her to pursue a legal degree with a concentration in environmental law.
Michaela Rain Ward
Michaela Rain Ward (she/her they/them) is the Northern California Youth Education Advocate for Save California Salmon. They are Hoopa/Yurok and they live in the Hoopa Valley Reservation. Michaela is currently majoring in Studio Art at College of the Redwoods and hopes to teach and bring the creativity out of others.
SCS is devoted to youth development through projects, actions, and mentoring around protecting salmon, water, and salmon-dependent communities. Interns range from high school to graduate students.
Karinne is a Yurok descendant originating from Wehlkwew village at the mouth of the Klamath River. Her focus for SCS’s newsletter is to amplify voices of Native people, youth and incarcerated people within the fight for water and land protection. Karinne believes that community care is key and wants to ensure that our relatives are taken care of. This looks like connecting people to water and land activism, cultural events, and sharing important information through our newsletter!
Social Media Content Creator Valentina is a graduate of Cal Poly Humboldt 2021 and majored in Environmental Studies and Journalism. When she isn't video editing or behind the camera she'll be behind a sci-fi novel or tending to her garden. She is also executive producer of a student docu-series, Homeless in Humboldt on Youtube.
Nikcole Whipple is a member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes located in Mendocino County. She is an Outreach Specialist and adjunct Administrative Justice Instructor at Mendocino College and an Indigenous People's Law student at the University of Oklahoma.
Abigail has a background in environmental policy at California state and local levels. She believes that land back, co-management, and including traditional ecological knowledge in California land, water, and species decisions is the most important socio-environmental solution to be working on. Therefore, she is passionate about her work for SCS where she advocates and pursues policy change for water protection and tribal rights.
LeMonie Hutt is a Hoopa Tribal member and a sophomore at Harvard College majoring in Government with a secondary in Education. She has Interned for Save California Salmon for the past three summers where she has created youth programs for water safety, a video series on youth advocacy. She has been an advocate for implementing our Advocacy and Water Protection in Native California Curriculum in local schools. LeMonie is a strong advocate for the environment, Indigenous rights, and social justice
Aerin Monroe is a senior Environmental Studies student at Cal Poly Humboldt, farmer, horticulturist, and proud father of 2. He is focused on sustainable food systems, restorative agriculture, ecosystem restoration, and land & food sovereignty for Black, Indigenous, Communities of color.
Sophia Warnock will be starting her third year at UC Davis this fall, and couldn't be more excited to be working with Save California Salmon. She is passionate about making conservation an accessible effort to all, and is currently studying Evolution, Ecology, and Biodiversity. She also enjoys searching for salamanders in the woods and playing dominos.