Society of American Indian Government Employees

Honoring Our Ancestors Through Government Service
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Candidates for the 2018-2019 SAIGE Board

Officer Candidates

Vice-Chair: Jay Spaan 

Jay Spaan is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He has more than a decade of experience in program evaluation, primarily as a Senior Analyst in the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Natural Resource and Environment team. In his role at GAO, Jay has led work and developed reports focused on federal management of programs that serve tribal nations and their citizens, including federal management of trust resources, implementation of self-determination mechanisms, and federal efforts to effectively collaborate in administering programs to tribes. Several of his reports resulted in Congressional oversight hearings before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, the House Appropriations Committee, and others.

Jay has actively sought opportunities to increase AI/AN representation within GAO and brought in numerous speakers to educate GAO employees on federal trust responsibility, tribal sovereignty, and building effective working relationships with tribal nations. Jay also served two terms on the SAIGE board of directors and served as co-chair of the 2016 National Training Program. Jay routinely presents on various topics at conferences across the country, including the 2015, 2016, and 2017 SAIGE National Training Programs. In 2017 and 2014, he received GAO Awards for sustained service to numerous committees and congressional clients. Jay earned a Master’s of Jurisprudence in Indian Law from the University of Tulsa and a Master’s of Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas.


Treasurer: Sue Morris

Sue Morris is retired from Federal Service after 33 years. She served two years with the U.S. Army in the Provost Marshall’s Office at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and 31 years at the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District. She has been a SAIGE member since 2005 and a SAIGE Board member since 2011, having served as co-chair of the National Training Program twice,. Sue is a lifetime SAIGE member. Sue is completing her first term as the SAIGE Treasurer.

Sue is a full-blood member of the Comanche Nation, and a direct descendant of Ten Bears. She is involved in tribal activities, having served on the board of the Comanche Nation College. Sue has served as treasurer president of the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women, a non-profit organization dedicated to mentoring Native girls through various activities to enhance awareness of their tribal culture and the importance of education. The OFIW sponsors the Miss Indian Oklahoma and Junior Miss Oklahoma scholarship pageant. This is her third term on the Board of Directors. Sue is also a member of the Comanche Indian Veterans’ Association (CIVA) Auxiliary and the Walters Service Club, the sponsoring organization for the Comanche Homecoming.

Sue is married to Tom and they are the parents of two sons, Benjamin and Aaron. Sue and Tom reside in Skiatook, Oklahoma.

Board of Directors At Large


Sadé Ali

Sadé Ali is the retired Deputy Commissioner of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. She is now the President of First Nations, LLC, a behavioral health training and consulting organization in Delaware. For the past four years, she was a Senior Associate with Altarum in Washington, DC, providing training and technical assistance to Tribal Governments and other providers engaged in SAMHSA’s Access to Recovery (ATR) initiative. Ms. Ali holds faculty positions at Brown University, Temple University’s College of Health Professions and Drexel University’s School of Public Health. Ms. Ali has traveled the US and Canada extensively providing culturally appropriate recovery management and resilience-promoting training in both the mental health and addictions fields. She has published her thesis, other scholarly articles, and a textbook on culturally appropriate recovery/resilience services, the ending of health disparities through enhanced access to care, and the impact of inter-generational trauma on the Indigenous peoples of North America. She is one of the co-authors of the Philadelphia Behavioral Health Transformation Practice Guidelines for Recovery and Resilience Oriented Treatment, a framework for the fields of mental health and addictions treatment services that is used worldwide. She recently published Social Healing Words-Using Language to Promote Recovery and Resilience for Individuals, Families and Communities. Ms. Ali has been in recovery and the field of behavioral health services for over 47 years. Ms. Ali holds a Bachelor of Arts in Counseling Psychology and a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology. She is First Nations Mi’kmaq from the Sturgeon Clan, the Elder and Medicine Keeper of the East Coast Two Spirit Society and a lifetime member of SAIGE (Society of American Indian Government Employees).


Kathleen Bergeron

Kathleen M. Bergeron, an enrolled member of United Houma Nation from St. Mary Parish, Louisiana is currently working as an Environmental-Historic Preservation (EHP) Manager for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the agency’s Office of Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation. For the past twelve years, she has been deployed to thirty disasters working disaster recovery.

Ms. Bergeron is a lifetime member of Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE) and served as a volunteer during the organization’s national training conference since joining SAIGE in 2007. Additionally, she was elected to the SAIGE Board of Directors in 2014, serving until 2015. She is a past president of the Louisiana Archaeological Conservancy. She also has served a member of the University of Louisiana Diversity Advisory Council from 2007-2008. In 2006, she served as only Louisiana Indian panelist at the American Bar Association National Conference on Race Relations. In 2015, she was honored by United Houma Nation with tribal leadership award. Ms. Bergeron has worked with the Native American Rights Fund as a researcher assisting in United Houma Nation’s Federal Acknowledgment Case. She also worked as a tribal volunteer aiding in researching genealogical records. As an intern for the Rocky Mountain National Park Service Indian Affairs Coordinator, Lakewood, Colorado, Ms. Bergeron participated in NAGPRA consultations. She also served as a field researcher for the Louisiana Institute for Indian Development, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and visited Houma Nation tribal members conducting a survey on economic and social issues of the American Indian Tribes of Louisiana.
For the past 20 years, Ms. Bergeron has worked a variety of positions in the field of cultural and historic preservation. She has held positions as historic site manager and curator with the Louisiana Office of State Parks, a curator and cultural advisor with Lafayette Natural History Museum, Lafayette, Louisiana and an art interpreter with the Denver Art Museum Education Department, Denver, Colorado. Ms. Bergeron has served as the archaeological lab supervisor during the University of Southwestern Louisiana Poverty Point Field Schools in 1993, 1995, and 1998 held at the Poverty Point Site World Heritage Site in Epps, Louisiana.

She is also the author of the children’s story “A Day with Sassafras”. The story was written as part of at the Acadiana Arts Council Arts in Education Program to educate elementary school children about American Indians in Louisiana.
Ms. Bergeron received a Master of Liberal Studies with a concentration in American Indian Studies from the University of Denver. She was also a recipient of a Minority Fellowship from the University of Denver and received a scholarship from the Colorado American Indian Education Association. While attending the University of Denver, Ms. Bergeron served as the graduate student representative on the University of Denver Scholarship Committee. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in General Studies with a concentration in Anthropology from the University of Southwestern Louisiana. While attending the University of Denver, Ms. Bergeron was a co-honoree along with fellow members of the University of Denver Native American Student Association at the annual Spring Buffalo Feast held by the Native American Resource Committee of the Denver Natural History Museum. She also served as the graduate student representative on the University of Denver Native American Scholarship Committee. In 2015, Ms. Bergeron was presented the United Houma Nation Leadership Award.

Ms. Bergeron enjoys visiting schools and community groups to offer American Indian cultural programs. However, her favorite pastime is enjoying her five grandchildren.


Tilford C. Brown

Tilford C. Brown is Dine (Navajo) from Gallup, New Mexico. He lives and works as a Human Resources Specialist at the Veterans Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He helps veterans with retirement, awards and their benefits. He also serves as the American Indian Special Emphasis Program Manager for the Center.

Tilford is a U.S. Marine veteran, having served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1989 through 1993. He has a BA in Management, Organizational Behavior/Human Resources Management from the University of New Mexico.

Tilford first attended the SAIGE National Training Program in 2010 at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and became a member. He has assisted SAIGE since then as its official singer, opening up many sessions with song and prayer. In 2013 Tilford composed a song especially for SAIGE. Tilford is now a Lifetime member of SAIGE and active member of the SAIGE Warrior Society.

Tilford would like to serve on the board to help SAIGE continue the admiration, beauty and harmony it has built. SAIGE cares about the preservation of native cultures, languages and traditions that our elders and spiritual leaders speak of, along with investing into our youth and veterans. These are all things that Tilford believes in and wants to be a part of.


Teresa L. Estoril                                                                          

Teresa Estoril is a member of the Eagle Medicine Band, Cherokee Indians and grew up in the Delaware Valley between the two states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She worked for the General Services Administration (GSA), Philadelphia, PA before retiring with 43 years of government service. Teresa had served as Mistress of Ceremony for the Native American Heritage programs sponsored by the GSA Diversity Committee. This has afforded Teresa the opportunity to educate and enlighten fellow associates about Native American peoples and Indian cultures while dispelling myths and untruths. Teresa actively recruited Native American College students and Graduate candidates for employment into Federal Government Service.

Working within the community, Teresa has informed children in schools throughout eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware about Indian people. Where the community comes together, the Main Library of Philadelphia serves as a diverse meeting place for community people to interact with Native people up close and personal. Teresa has also given Native Presentations to the Superior Court Justices of New Jersey; Various Diversity Groups Organizations within City of Philadelphia. Teresa has met with an audience of Jefferson Hospital Doctor Interns regarding issues of Native & Western medicines.

Teresa has received Certificates of Appreciation from the various community organizations for educating and enlightening them about American Indians and Alaskan Native people. Teresa takes advantage of wherever people gather as an opportunity to teach and educate them about Native Culture and the SAIGE organization.Teresa is dedicated to educating the non-Indian community about its 1st Citizens and the scores of contributions by Native Peoples. She has been with SAIGE for 11 years. In 2009, Teresa received the “SAIGE Recognition Award” for her dedication, support and promotion of the SAIGE mission. Teresa has served as the Silent Auction Chair (benefits Youth Track) for 4 years. Teresa also provides administrative support for SAIGE . She has volunteered for various SAIGE committees throughout the years.

Teresa is a proud LIFETIME Member and has served on the SAIGE Board for 4 years.


                     Bryan Sappier

Bryan is a citizen of the Tobique Indian Nation from New Brunswick, Canada. He currently works for the Federal Government as a Technical Support Technician at the Social Security Administration in Birmingham, AL. He serves the public with issues concerning over-payments, Medicare, Representative Payee concerns, Disability, and/or Retirement claims. Bryan is considered as the front line of customer service as he provides Americans with the respectful and efficient service they deserve. Bryan currently holds the position of Vice-Chair, Southern Regional American Indian Alaskan Native Advisory Council for the Social Security Administration. His role is to assist in the enhancement of promotion, employment and retention of Native Americans in the southern United States.

Bryan is a veteran of the United States Army. He served as an Infantryman stationed at 172nd LIB and the 4/23rd Infantry Battalion, Ft. Richardson, AK. He is currently a volunteer with the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Alabama State Defense Force. Bryan’s position as both Auxiliary Chef and Supply/Food Service Specialist allows him to go to various Coast Guard Cutters and Outposts to relieve the active duty chefs. This allows the chefs to take time off for personal reasons or to spend time with their family. Bryan also volunteers with the American Red Cross as a member of the State National Disaster Team for the State of Alabama. He has been deployed to several disaster sites within the state of Alabama and other surrounding states. In the Tuscaloosa, AL tornadoes of 2011, Bryan volunteered as a Kitchen Supervisor, ERV Coordinator, and Shelter Manager. Bryan has also volunteered as a member of the warehouse staff in the North Carolina Hurricane Irene; ERV Driver and warehouse worker in the Bessemer, Alabama flood; shelter supervisor in Centerville, Alabama; and Alabama Tornado and Logistics Transportation supervisor in Hurricane Isaac.

Bryan participated in the 1992 World Culinary Olympics in Frankfort, Germany where he represented the Martine Regions of Canada. Bryan and four others comprised the first all Native team to compete in this arena. They food they prepared represented the indigenous cuisine of the Canadian Indians. Bryan was a member of the SAIGE 2012 Training Program Planning committee. While at the Training program, Bryan used his strong organizational skills and his knowledge of the service industry to ensure that the facility accommodated SAIGE’s services. His greatest responsibility was food budget and meal selection. Bryan found this experience with the competent AI/AN team to be extremely rewarding.
I want to be on the board because I bring a dedication and commitment in seeing SAIGE succeed. I am hard working, willing to work long hours and as those that know me committed to seeing our National Training Program become successful. I see SAIGE flourishing through growth and demand on the programs that we deliver annually and I would like to be a part of that team that leads SAIGE into the future.

Previous Year Election Information
Click Here for a list of 2015 candidates and their bios.
Click Here for a list of 2014 candidates and their bios.

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Mailing Address:
17706 N. Peoria
Skiatook, OK 74070

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