Who We Are

Staff

Jihan Gearon
Executive Director

Jihan Gearon is Diné (Navajo) and African American from Old Sawmill, Navajo Nation. She is Tódích’ií’nii (Bitter Water) clan, and her maternal grandfather is Tl’ashchí’í (Red Bottom People) clan. She is a graduate of Stanford University with a Bachelors of Science in Earth Systems with a focus in Energy Science and Technology. Throughout her career Jihan as worked to build the capacity and collective strength of Indigenous communities throughout North America who are impacted by energy development and climate change, first in her position as Coordinator of the Native Energy & Climate Campaign at the Indigenous Environmental Network, and now as Executive Director of the Black Mesa Water Coalition. She is a board member of the Center for Story-based Strategy and Steering Committee of the Climate Justice Alliance. In these roles Jihan leads broad coalitions of communities and organizations in connecting the issues of energy development in Indigenous communities to larger social justice movements and common strategies. Jihan is currently based out of Flagstaff, Arizona. Jihan writes a blog at ww.navigatingcontradictions.com.

Jihan works out of BMWC’s main office in Flagstaff, Arizona. As Executive Director she oversees our staff, coordinates our board, manages administrative needs, fundraises, and significantly contributes to our No Coal & Environmental Justice, and Movement Building & Leaderships Development Programs.

Roberto Nutlouis
Restorative Economy Program Coordinator

Roberto Nutlouis is Diné (Navajo) from Pinon, Navajo Nation. He is of the Tódích’ií’nii (Bitter Water) clan, born for the Tótsohnii (Big Water) clan. Roberto received his Bachelors of Science in Applied Indigenous Studies from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in 2005, and he is currently pursuing a Masters of Arts in Sustainable Communities from NAU. Through his involvement with Native Movement, the Indigenous Youth Coalition of Pinon, Indigenous Community Enterprises, and BMWC Roberto Nutlouis has been actively involved in the sustainable evolution of Black Mesa and the Navajo Nation for several years. His experience and expertise includes work in environmental justice, food security, energy efficiency, housing, and youth leadership development. In his spare time he likes to work on food security issues and traditional knowledge in agriculture with local Native youth, and he enjoys hiking, river rafting, camping, and reading.

Roberto works out of BMWC’s field office in Pinon, Arizona. In his position he oversees BMWC’s field office and the Restorative Economy Program, which includes the Food Sovereignty and Navajo Wool Market Improvement Projects.

Wahleah Johns
Black Mesa Solar Project Manager

Wahleah is Diné (Navajo) from Forest Lake, Navajo Nation, one of several communities atop Black Mesa. She is ’Áshiihí (Salt) clan, born for the Tl’ashchí’í (Red Bottom People) clan. As BMWC’s longest lasting employee she has played various organizational roles, all which have led to groundbreaking legislative victories for groundwater protection, green jobs, and environmental justice. In her most recent position she is gaining expertise and building BMWC’s capacity to support a just transition to renewable energy. She has two daughters, which she raises with her husband in the bay area of California.

In her position as the Black Mesa Solar Project Manager, Wahleah works remotely from her home in California. She also contributes to BMWC’s No Coal & Environmental Justice Program and fundraising efforts.

Board

Tony Skrelunas
Board Chair

Tony is the Native America Program Director for the Grand Canyon Trust (GCT), based out of Flagstaff, AZ. In this role Tony coordinates GCT’s work with tribes, communities, and non- governmental organizations on conservation and sustainable development projects. Tony has spent over 20 years working on sustainable economic development on the Navajo Nation. He not only served as Executive Director of the Navajo Nation Economic Development Division and Government Development Office, but he was also a partner in Horizon Springs Partnership. Currently a partner in Southwest Tradition Log Homes, Tony is Board President for the Navajo Nation Shopping Centers, Inc., a $40M realty management company. In addition, he chairs the Native American Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit affiliate of the Native American National Bank. He successfully combines his traditional Navajo upbringing with a western education that includes a B.A. and MBA from Northern Arizona University.

Enei Begaye
Board Vice Chair

Enei is of the Diné & Tohono O’odham Nations and married into the Gwich’in Nation. She is born for the Tódích’ií’nii (Bitter Water) clan and originally from Shonto, Navajo Nation. Enei has been a long time leader locally, regionally and nationally for Indigenous Peoples rights, environmental and economic justice. She is an experienced grassroots organizer and active speaker, strategist, and writer. She is the original Executive Director of BMWC and remains an active board member from her home in Fairbanks, Alaska. She is also an active and enthusiastic mother; and a dirt loving, vegetable growing, fabric addicted, bookworm. Utne Reader named her a “visionary who is changing our world.” She is currently the Executive Director of the Indigenous Leadership Institute out of Fairbanks, Alaska and a Producer of the documentary film “We Breathe Again”

Caitlin Sislin
Board Secretary

Caitlin is currently the Director of Development for Namati, based out of Oakland, CA. In her career in public interest environmental law, Caitlin has worked with Natural Resources Defense Council; Earthjustice; the Center for Law, Energy and Environment; and Argentina’s Center for Human Rights and Environment. As an Associate Attorney at the Law Offices of Stephan C. Volker, Caitlin oversaw the initiation of a lawsuit against the United States Environmental Protection Agency for violations of federal pesticide laws. As a law student at U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, Caitlin chaired the Environmental Law Society and coordinated the first annual Environmental Justice Symposium. With this background Caitlin has worked for a decade in fundraising, organizational development, and strategic planning for social impact organizations. She has raised millions of dollars in collaboration with NGO leaders, first as a senior member of the program and operations teams for Women’s Earth Alliance, and subsequently as a consultant and facilitator to organizations across the United States. Previously, she built and directed a legal advocacy network linking pro bono lawyers with grassroots environmental justice activists. Caitlin received her B.A. from Stanford University and her J.D. with an environmental law certificate from UC Berkeley School of Law.

Clayton Thomas-Muller
Board Member

Clayton Thomas-Muller is a member of the Treaty #6 based Mathias Colomb Cree Nation also known as Pukatawagan located in Northern Manitoba, Canada. Based in the Canadian capital city of Ottawa, Clayton is an organizer with 350.org, the Co-Director of the Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign of the Polaris Institute and a founder and organizer with Defenders of the Land. Clayton is involved in many initiatives to support the building of an inclusive movement globally for energy and climate justice. He serves on the boards of the Global Justice Ecology Project and the Bioneers and is a steering committee member of the Tar Sands Solutions Network and development committee member of Idle No More. Clayton has been recognized by Utne Magazine as one of the top 30 under 30 activists in the United States and as a “Climate Hero 2009” by Yes Magazine. For the last twelve years he has campaigned across Canada, Alaska and the lower 48 states organizing in hundreds of First Nations, Alaska Native and Native American communities in support of grassroots Indigenous Peoples to defend against the encroachment of the fossil fuel industry. This has included a special focus on the sprawling infrastructure of pipelines, refineries and extraction associated with the Canadian tar sands. Clayton is an organizer, facilitator, public speaker and writer on environmental and economic justice.