The North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB) has provided cultural, social, educational, and professional related services to the New England Native American* community for over 45 years. As the oldest urban Indian center in Massachusetts, our mission is to empower the Native American community with the goal of improving the quality of life of Indigenous peoples.
NAICOB was originally established in 1969 as the Boston Indian Council when it served as the hub of social and civil rights activities for the American Indian community in Boston. The center was later organized as the North American Indian Center of Boston, a non-profit organization, in 1991. Since then, the center has served our community as a place for community, health services, wellness groups, job training, children’s and elders programming, and much more.
*A Note on Terminology The terminology used to describe American Indian people has changed over the years, as have the people that are recognized by state and federal governments as being American Indian. The terms that are often used today include American Indian, Native American, Indigenous, First Peoples, Aboriginal, and First Nations. Typically, First Nations is used to describe American Indian people in Canada and Aboriginal is used to describe the Native people of Australia. It is important to note, too, that the Native people of Alaska have been recognized as Alaska Native by the federal government since 1971. The Native people of Hawaii, or Native Hawaiians, are the most recent Native population to be included in grant monies made available to American Indians (although they are not formally recognized as a tribe).
On this website, you will find these terms to be used interchangeably. We do this to honor the terminology that different tribes or people use to describe themselves. We also recognize Indigenous people who may or may not be part of a federally recognized or state recognized tribe as well as those peoples whose tribes have been split by the U.S.-Canadian border and the U.S.-Mexican border. All Indigenous people are welcome at the North American Indian Center of Boston.
Jean-Luc Pierite Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana President of the Board Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, Jean-Luc now resides in Jamaica Plain. Prior to his election to the Board of Directors, Jean-Luc was also elected to the Community Linguist seat of the Advisory Circle for CoLang for the period 2016-20. The Institute on Collaborative Language Research or "CoLang" is designed to provide an opportunity for community language activists and linguists to receive training in community-based language documentation and revitalization. Currently, Jean-Luc volunteers with his Tribe's Language and Culture Revitalization Program which is a collaboration with Tulane University in New Orleans. This program is based on tradition passed from Jean-Luc's great-grandfather Joseph Alcide Pierite, Sr., last traditional chief and medicine man of the Tunica-Biloxi. The Tribe is an amalgamation of members from the Central Louisiana communities of: Tunica, Biloxi-Choctaw, Ofo, and Avoyel.
Jean-Luc has a B.A. in Humanities with a co-major in Mass Communication and Japanese from Dillard University in New Orleans. He also earned an A.S. in Video Game Design from Full Sail University in Orlando, Florida. Jean-Luc currently is the International Procurement and Logistics Manager for The Fab Foundation. The Fab Foundation was formed in 2009 to facilitate and support the growth of the international fab lab network as well as the development of regional capacity-building organizations. The Fab Foundation is a US non-profit 501(c) 3 organization that emerged from MIT’s Center for Bits & Atoms Fab Lab Program.
Jean-Luc's previous positions include: Internet Marketing Specialist for Mohegan Sun, and Graphic Artist for Paragon Casino Resort. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 2017.
Patricia Landry Vice President of the Board Patricia Landry has been involved with the Center since its early days as the Boston Indian Council (BIC). In 1969, Pat was part of the street team that provided community members with resources, a person to discuss concerns, and Sunday night supper at a church in the South End. Based on the information the street team gathered, the first proposal to operate the Boston Indian Center, then located in Dorchester, was written and funded. In the 1970’s, the BIC relocated to the Center’s current location on South Huntington Avenue. At that time, Pat became the Social Service Coordinator. In this role, she continued her community work in the streets of Boston, connecting with individuals and families to assist with issues related to the Department of Social Services, welfare, utilities, access to food, housing, court cases, and the rights of Native American inmates at Norfolk Prison. From 1975 to 1976, Pat coordinated volunteers for the Prisoner Rights Group for weekly meetings at Norfolk Prison. During this time Pat was also able to secure funding for the BIC Emergency Food Program.
In 1981, Pat was accepted into Wheelock College. While at Wheelock, she worked as a Teacher’s Assistant at Action for Boston Community Development’s (ABCD) Parker Hill/Fenway Head Start program. After earning her Bachelor of Science from Wheelock College in 1991, Pat was promoted to Teacher at the same head start program. In 1993, Pat worked with Marie Galvin, then Executive Director for ABCD, and Joanne Dunn, then Executive Director for NAICOB, to bring ABCD’s Head Start program to NAICOB. Pat served as the Director of the Native American Head Start Program until the program was closed. Under her direction, NAICOB’s Head Start program received a prestigious 98-point accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
Pat has a Bachelor of Science in Primary Grade Teaching from Wheelock College and is a recipient of Wheelock’s Gwen Morgan Emerging Leadership Award. She is a Masters Degree candidate at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Pat has served on the Board of Directors for the Boston chapter of the National Association of Education of Young Children and for the Family and Friends of Prisoners. She is a member of the Professional Educators Allied for a Safe Environment. Ever an advocate for educational and personal advancement, she lives by the belief "I am also emerging." Pat was elected to the Board in 2017.
Dedra Ko Cherokee, Haliwa Saponi and Mohawk Treasurer of the Board Dee Ko is from Massachusetts; she is Cherokee, Haliwa Saponi and Mohawk. In 1991, Dee received her FCC license in Radio and TV communication. She worked with Brookline community cable as a camera operator on various programs out in the field. Dee transitioned careers and went on to work at OB/GYN at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana Farber in hematology and assisted with medical procedures for cancer research.
In 2002 and 2004 she received 3 awards for her wampum designs and regalia accessories at the Schemitzun Pow Wow and Art Show. She continues to create jewelry with wampum and whelk as well as beadwork and other traditional mediums, that can be seen at the annual Craft Fair at NAICOB during December. As a long time member of NAICOB she volunteered with the youth program for several years and provided transportation to other members when needed.
Now retired, Dee is a Grandmother and spends time teaching her grandson the importance of growing your own food and all things related to her culture. The most enjoyable part of life is giving back says Dee; helping others in itself is the reward. Dee was elected to the Board of Directors in 2017.
Aaron Gonzales Mi’kmaq Aaron Gonzales is a Boston born and raised member of Sipekne’katik’s Band of Mi’kmaq’s. There are very few seasons of his life that don’t include the Boston Indian Council or NAICOB. As a lifelong member of Boston’s Native community, Aaron attended head start, teen programs, computer classes, and has volunteered at many community events.
Aaron started this journey working at Tecumseh House, an alcohol and substance abuse drop in center for Native Americans in the Boston Area, where he helped individuals in recovery connect with community resources and make strides in their sobriety. His passion for youth leadership, health, and sexuality education was ignited in his earliest experiences as one of 20 young Native American leaders chosen from around the country to organize and train community members to educate healthcare professionals on the specific health care advocacy and access needs of Native communities. Aaron has also worked as a Health and Cultural Educator at the North American Indian Center of Boston (a program of the Latin American Health Institute) where he directed the Circle of Wellness program, a prevention program for Native women. In that role, he worked to reduce the rate of new HIV infection/co-morbid infections and incorporate traditional Native remedies for help with side effects from HIV disease treatment.
Currently, Aaron is the Boston Programs Manager at the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Youth (BAGLY). At BAGLY, he is responsible for developing the leadership capital of Greater Boston’s LGBTQ youth to make positive change in their communities. In this capacity he oversees the implementation of BAGLY’s youth-led community building, social support, advocacy programming and comprehensive HIV and STI clinic. Aaron was elected to the Board of Directors in 2016.
Gareth Howlingcrane Cheyenne and Pawnee Gareth Howlingcrane is a plaster and stucco construction applicator in and around Boston. Gary arrived in Boston in 1999. His Cheyenne-Pawnee heritage quickly guided him to NAICOB, where he completed computer classes and found community. Through his work on the Board of Directors, Gary hopes is to see the younger generation achieve greatness and for elders to be a source of cultural resilience.
Gary has come along way from the boarding schools he attended. After graduating from Concho and Riverside Indian school in Oklahoma, he studied in HVAC through Job Corps. Gary also studied architectural systems at Massasoit Community College. Gary was elected to the Board in 2009 and is now serving serving in his fifth term.
Jamie Morrison Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Jamie Morrison has been affiliated with NAICOB for almost 20 years. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in Sociology and was the first Native American student to earn a Certificate in Native American Studies at UMass. Jamie returned to Boston and immediately started work as a NAICOB volunteer in the late 90's with the Youth Program. He eventually became the Youth Coordinator and then transitioned to the Department of Employment and Training office (then called the JPTA) as an Employment Specialist. In that role, he taught computer and G.E.D. classes, worked with clients on employment issues, and continued to work with NAICOB youth.
In the early 2000's, Jamie left NAICOB to pursue his M.ED in Sports Management at Temple University in Philadelphia and shortly after completing his degree, begun a career in higher education at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS. He spent five years at Haskell working in the athletic department as the Head Men's Basketball Coach and with the TRIO Academic Support Program. Jamie returned from Kansas and spent almost nine years in western Massachusetts working at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and simultaneously spent 4 years as the Director of the Native Tribal Scholars, a program started by NAICOB and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.
Jamie has since returned to the greater Boston and now works in Academic Support and Athletics at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He also does some consulting work with the Pine Manor College athletic department. Jamie was elected to the Board of Directors in 2015.
Danielle Oakes St. Regis Mohawk Danielle is currently the Director of Development, Outreach, and Events at Inspire Arts and Music in Boston. Previously, she worked with the urban Native community in New York City at the American Indian Community House and served on the Redhawk Native American Arts Council and the United Nations NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Danielle earned a Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science and a minor in American Indian Studies.
Danielle’s connection to the North American Indian Center of Boston began at infancy; it is where both her parents met and worked for several years. During her youth, Danielle attended NAICOB’s Native American Head Start program and day care, and was a camper and Junior Counselor with the Native American Youth Enrichment Program, a Harvard University summer youth program that partners with NAICOB. Danielle was elected to the Board of Directors in 2016.
Raquel Halsey Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation Interim Executive Director Raquel Halsey joined NAICOB’s Board of Directors in February 2015 to fill a vacancy and was subsequently elected to the Board in 2016. As the Board President, she worked with Joanne Dunn to transition into the role of Interim Executive Director.
In Massachusetts, Raquel worked for the Harvard University Native American Program and taught afterschool for Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL). During her time on NAICOB’s Board of Directors, Raquel worked with the Department of Employment and Training to strengthen education initiatives at the Center. Before moving to Boston, she worked with children and families in the District of Columbia and Maryland during her time with CASA for Children of DC, and helped to develop curricula for StandardsWork, a non-profit education consultancy. Prior to this, she worked for a Member of the United States House of Representatives, where she handled legislation concerning Native Americans, seniors, and housing. Raquel has developed mentoring programs, managed internship programs and campaign initiatives in her effort to advance the personal and professional development of youth, particularly in urban communities of color. Contact Raquel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sonya Isaac-Surette Mi'kmaq Director, Circles of Support Women’s Program Contact Sonya at email@example.com.
Cecelia Vaughan Choctaw Program Coordinator, Circles of Support Women's Program Contact Cecelia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crystal Rizzo Southern Ute Director, Department of Employment and Training Contact Crystal at email@example.com.
Duane Fennessy Tohono O’Odham and Mojave Program Assistant, Department of Employment and Training Contact Duane at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gloria Colon Mi'kmaq Outreach Coordinator, Department of Employment and Training Contact Gloria at email@example.com.
Peter Pelletier Mi'kmaq Clerical Assistant, Department of Employment and Training
Sofia Owens Staff Attorney, Advocacy Services Contact Sofia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janis Morrison Social Worker, Advocacy Services Contact Janis at (617) 232-0343. Jimmy Williams Lakota Administrative Assistant Contact Jimmy at email@example.com.
Join The Team Staff Positions There currently no open staff positions.
Internships We accept high school, college, and adult interns. Please send a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org and your internship application will be directed to the appropriate person. Make sure to indicate your specific interests and experience when seeking an internship with us. Priority will be given to social media/journalism interns, administrative interns, and person equipped to help with research and community assessments.
Volunteers We rely on volunteers for a number of one-time and on-going projects at NAICOB. Potential volunteer experiences include pro-bono grant writing, building beautification, event planning, cooking for community events, and tutoring students.
Giving NAICOB relies on the generosity of individual donors to compliment grant funding. Your financial donation may be designated to a specific program or service, or may be used to support our general operations. Examples of in-kind donations that we accept are office supplies and furniture, clothing, baby items, children's toys, wheelchairs and walkers, food pantry items, event and movie tickets, building supplies, and gift cards. Items like gently used clothing, movie tickets, and food pantry items go directly to our community members in need.
To give online, simply click on the Paypal link below. Checks may be sent to our office, care of Interim Executive Director, Raquel Halsey. To donate in-kind items, please email Raquel Halsey at email@example.com so that we may coordinate receipt of your item(s).