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Chrissie Castro

Co-founder and Executive Director

Diné & Chicana

Calvin Hedrick

Interim Director of Organizing

Mountain Maidu
Erik HW Headshot

Erik Himmelsbach-Weinstein​

Director of Communications

Chickasaw Nation

Candee McCovey

Director of Programs and Operations
Hoopa Valley Tribe

Rene' Williams

Director of Strategic Initiatives
Colville Tribes

Aurelia Mora

Development Manager

Chicana

Isel Cuapio

Communications Manager

Tlaxcalteca

Maya Sanchez

Youth Organizer 

Diné & Mexika

Shannon Rivers

Indigenous Education Now Coalition Manager

Akimel O’otham

Tencha Chavez

Outreach Manager

Navajo-Diné

Thomas Sills

Senior Project Manager
Bishop Paiute

Lance Hilderbrand

Strategic Initiatives Project Manager

Colville Confederated Tribes

Angelia 'Angie' Diaz

Youth Organizing Coordinator
Dińe

Kameiko Hostler

Northern California Youth Organizing Fellow
Hoopa Valley Tribe

Liam Walsh

Youth Organizing Coordinator
Rincon Luiseño

Sequoia Coleman

Northern California Youth Organizer
Seminole Nation of Oklahoma & Mvskoke Creek

Elizabeth Garcia

Operations Coordinator
Chicana

Renee Perez

Outreach Coordinator

Chicana & Indigenous Mexican

Josephine Argomaniz

Adminstrative Assistant

Erik HW Headshot

Erik Himmelsbach-Weinstein

Director of Communications

Chickasaw

Erik, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, was born and raised in Los Angeles. He has worked as both a journalist, most recently for the Los Angeles Times, where he was Senior Video Director, and as a documentary producer for ESPN, VH1, Food Network, Biography, and other networks. The UC Berkeley graduate has also held editorial leadership roles at publications such as Spin, Los Angeles Reader, and Orange Coast. His short story, “Fried Chicken,” was featured in the anthology “Another City” (City Lights, 2001). He has written about his Chickasaw ancestors and is interested in developing the story into a book or film.

Candee McCovey
Director of Programs and Operations
Hoopa Valley Tribe
Candee McCovey, is a member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe and is of Yurok and Karuk descent in far north of California. She is the Director of Programs and Operations and currently the Acting Director of the California Native Vote Project. Candee earned her bachelor’s degree in Native American Studies from CalPoly Humboldt while raising her three children as a single mom. Candee is also a traditional cook for her family’s traditional dances and enjoys feeding the people and the dancers.
Kameiko Hostler
Northern California Youth Organizing Fellow
Hoopa Valley Tribe
Kameiko Hostler, a proud citizen of the Hoopa Valley Tribe, originates from the village of Ta’k’milding, where her ancestors have resided for time immemorial. With her great-grandmother as the oldest living member of her Tribe, she has had the privilege of acquiring extensive knowledge of her tribal values and teachings, shaping her into the person she is today. Currently serving as the Northern California Youth Organizing Fellow in Sacramento, Kameiko holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, blending academic knowledge with practical experience.
Rene’ Williams
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Colville Tribes
Rene’ Williams, member of the Colville Tribes, was raised on her reservation. Rene is committed to working towards health equity to address health disparities and the social determinants of health for Native American people. During her 30 years of service with various tribal entities and nonprofits Rene’ held various leadership positions throughout the United States. She developed and implemented numerous health, educational, workforce development, and youth programs, including two large regional Tribal designated TANF programs among many HHS, DOL, DOI projects. Rene strives to make a difference by guiding and encouraging AI/AN to establish a self-sustaining way of life.
Thomas Sills
Senior Project Manager
Bishop Paiute
Thomas Sills is a Senior Project Manager at the California Native Vote Project, California’s first and only state-wide Native American power-building organization. Sills is a member of the Bishop Paiute Tribe and was raised on the Bishop Paiute Reservation in Payahuunadü (Owens Valley). Growing up as a rez kid, Sills has a deep understanding of the educational, economic, and health disparities faced by Native American communities. He is driven by a personal mission to improve the lives of Native people throughout California and across Indian Country. Sills is passionate about Native health, the Nüümü Yadoha language, and utilizing modern technologies to preserve and celebrate ancestral, Indigenous knowledge. With a Master’s Degree in Public Health, Health Management from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from UCLA, Sills brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role.
Maya Sanchez
Youth Organizer
Diné & Mexika
Maya Sanchez is Diné and Mexika, born and raised in Los Angeles. She started as a canvasser for California Native Vote Project in 2017 and was brought onto the Team in 2019 as a Youth Organizer. Maya has developed a passion for working with Native Youth and advocating for our MMIWG2S+ relatives in her time here. She was a 2021 Fellow in the Remembering our Sister Fellowship with the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute. In her spare time, Maya enjoys developing her passion for the Culinary Arts, Discovering new small businesses to support, and spending time with her Dog.
Isel Cuapio
Communications Manager
Tlaxcalteca
Isel Cuapio, Tlaxcalteca, is an experienced journalist and organizer skilled in storytelling, radio broadcasting, and digital campaigns. Isel joined the project in 2020 to support and advance the electoral justice work to increase Native political power in California. They received a B.A. in Political Science and English from UC Riverside in 2017. Isel enjoys writing poetry, photography and organizes in their community.
Liam Walsh
Youth Organizing Coordinator
Rincon Luiseño

Liam Walsh is a UC Santa Cruz alumni who serves as the statewide outreach manager for the California Native Vote Project team. Liam grew up in Portland and moved as a teenager to the Valley Center area near the Rincon Reservation, where his family lives. 

Liam spends most of his free time surfing, skiing, and playing guitar for his dog. Liam found his passion for social justice work while working with ACORN at UC Santa Cruz. As the statewide outreach manager Liam works in the areas of Covid programs, census work, and voter engagement work surrounding elections.

Angelina Diaz
Youth Organizing Coordinator
Dińe
Angelina Diaz is a Diné (Navajo) and Guatemalan woman who was born and raised in Inglewood, C.A. She resides in the Inland Empire County, on Kizh and Tongva territory. As a Youth Fellow Organizer, Angelina helps bring Native and Indigenous youth across California to a safe environment where they can express who they are without judging what background they came from. Angelina is also currently an Ambassador with The California Endowment: President’s Youth Council; she brings justice to her Native and Indigenous communities in the California area. When Angelina isn’t serving her community, she loves to spend time with her relatives off/on the reservation. She also enjoys playing the guitar, singing, playing soccer, and spending time on self-care habits.
Sequoia Coleman
Northern California Youth Organizer
Seminole Nation of Oklahoma & Mvskoke Creek
Sequoia Coleman, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and Mvskoke Creek, is a Northern California Youth Organizer. Born and raised in the city of Sacramento, traditional Nisenan Land, Sequoia is devoted to empowering Native youth for a brighter future. Her academic journey includes a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences from the University of Hawaii and ongoing studies in the CSU Sacramento Multicultural Education Masters program, reflecting her steadfast dedication to education and personal growth. Outside of her professional life, Sequoia coaches girls’ basketball at Antelope High School, and enjoys various hobbies from crafting to traveling. She is an avid reader, particularly of Greek Mythology.
Headshot of Lance Hilderbrand

Lance Hilderbrand

Strategic Initiatives Project Manager

Colville Confederated Tribes

Lance (he/they) is a two-spirit member of the Colville Confederated Tribes. Lance’s upbringing within his reservation community in eastern Washington has shaped his perspective and dedication to advancing indigenous sovereignty. After earning his BA in Political Science from Stanford University, he has been based in Los Angeles, where he has dedicated himself to providing data analytics and creative strategy for various social movement projects and progressive political campaigns. Outside of work, Lance is an avid learner of his great-grandmother’s language, Okanagan Salish, and finds joy in his journey of cultural revitalization and celebration.

Elizabeth Garcia
Operations Coordinator
Chicana

Elizabeth Garcia provides support with administrative, operational, and to the organization in general. She received her B.A in Sociology with the option in Social Welfare and Social Justice from California State University, Northridge. She believes in the importance of access to higher education for all students. She enjoys traveling, the outdoors, and spending time with her dog, Luna.

Aurelia Mora

Development Manager

Chicana

As a second-generation Chicana in Los Angeles, Aurelia has been witness to and felt the impacts of gentrification and the criminalization and systemic oppression of BIPOC communities. Prior to her work with Liberty Hill, Aurelia primarily worked within higher education as a transfer student advocate and peer coordinator at UC Berkeley where she earned her BA in Ethnic Studies. She most recently earned her Master in Urban and Regional Planning with a concentration in Transportation Policy and Planning from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Through planning and social sciences lenses, Aurelia is dedicated to centering the histories and voices of BIPOC communities. Aurelia seeks to center her work around being responsive and relevant to the needs and interests of the communities she serves.

Shannon Rivers

Indigenous Education Now Coalition Manager

Akimel O’otham

Is a member of the Akimel O’otham (River People) Nation. Shannon was born and raised on the Gila River Indian Community located in the southern state of Arizona. He is an Indigenous Peoples human rights activist. Shannon served as a delegate and participant at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues for nearly a decade, and from 2008 – 2010 Shannon served as Co-chair for the Global Indigenous Peoples Caucus at the UN. Currently, Shannon is a Native American spiritual leader and cultural advisor to the Indigenous inmate population in the state, federal, tribal, and private prisons in Arizona and California, and serves as Co-Chair for the Underserved Cultural Committee (UsCC) for the Dept. of Mental Health Los Angeles. Shannon received his BS from Northern Arizona University and his MA from the University of California, Los Angeles. Shannon comes to the CNVP team to lead and manage the Indigenous Education Now coalition.

Calvin Hedrick

Interim Director of Organizing

Mountain Maidu

Calvin Hedrick is Mountain Maidu.  Calvin is the Lead Organizer for CNVP in Sacramento.  He has over 22 years of experience working with American Indian communities in California. 

Calvin earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Native American Studies from Humboldt State University (Now CalPoly Humboldt) and attended Graduate school at UCLA. He is a Maidu dancer and is knowledgeable in Native culture.  Calvin lives with his wife Virginia and three sons (ages 21, 12, 10) and two nieces (ages 5 and 7) in Carmichael, CA. 

Tencha Chavez

Outreach Manager

Navajo-Diné

Tencha Chavez is Navajo-Diné of the Eastern Navajo Agency in Crownpoint, New Mexico. Her maternal clans are: Halt’sooi Diné é (Meadow People) and Tsinajinnii (Black Streak Forest) and she is Mexican (Nakaii) from her father’s side. She grew up in Los Angeles County (Tovangaar) but has ties back home on the Little Water Chapter Reservation. She recently graduated from the University of California San Diego (UCSD) with a B.A. in Political Science with a focus on Public Policy. She aspires to help make political changes in the White House with Native representation and advocacy.

One of her life’s purposes is to help her people heal and overcome past traumas and break free from generational curses, including those of her own family and Nation. Her journey has been one of resilience and transformation. She proudly identifies as an addict in recovery, walking the Red Road with unwavering determination. Overcoming addiction was not just a personal victory but a spiritual awakening that allowed Tencha to rediscover her purpose. She is passionate about serving our Native American community by creating systemic change that will help break the cycles of addictions, generational, and historical traumas. Her vision is one of hope, resilience, and a future where Native people can thrive, free from the burdens of indivisibility and hopelessness.

Renee Perez

Outreach Coordinator

Chicana & Indigenous Mexican

Renee Perez is Chicana and Indigenous Mexican. Renee was born and raised in San Fernando California. She began working with California Native Vote Project in 2022 as a part time canvasser and later joined the team full time as the Outreach Coordinator.She has been involved in Community engagement and outreach for the last 20 years. She has worked for several organizations in LA County, working with Unhoused, youth, incarcerated individuals, those in rehabilitation, the LGBTQIA community and more through community and health education. Renee has had a passion for social justice work since high school — she has had the desire to serve and give back to her community. She is grateful that she is now collaborating and empowering Native communities in CA through her leadership and experience. She is a widow and mother of her three boys who she adores. When she is not out in the community building relationships, she celebrates with the community as a lead vocalist in a latin, R&B band — which she has been a part of for over 30 years.  

Josephine Argomaniz

Adminstrative Assistant

Josephine provides administrative support to our Executive and Operations team. After providing care for her family and home for 8 years she was excited to begin her journey with CNVP and unite with an organization who is passionate and committed to social justice and policy change.

Chrissie Castro
Co-founder and Executive Director
Diné & Chicana
Chrissie Castro, Diné and Chicana, is the co-founder and Executive Director of the California Native Vote Project. She is the Vice-Chairperson of the Los Angeles City and County Native American Indian Commission and co-led the change to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day in Los Angeles City and County. She co-founded Advance Native Political Leadership and is a leadership and coach trainer for multiracial grassroots leaders in service to healing, justice, and liberation.