Global Indigenous Group (GIG) Officers Announcement

From Diane Benitez:

It is with great honor and pleasure that I announce your Global Indigenous Group (GIG) officers for the upcoming year. I am hopeful that many of us will be attending the Native Rock Celebration.

Our GIG Secretary is pursuing a degree in psychology with a minor in sociology. Also a veteran having served in the U.S.M.C. He brings representation from the Nicaragua indigenous and has always been passionate about the history and plight of the indigenous around the globe. Please welcome Marlon Pena.

Our GIG Secretary is Vanessa Leon who is also pursuing her PhD. in our Global and Social Program. She hails from Ecuador and has a strong interest in Ecuadorian coastal native communities.

Our Vice President is pursuing a graduate degree here at FIU and has interests in the Ecuadorian Amazon with a focus on the racialized practices and discourses, particularly related to the perceptions of indigeneity and metizaje. Please welcome Ernesto Benitez.

And I, Diane Benitez (no relation to Ernesto), will be serving as your President. I’m pursuing my PhD. in Public Administration with my topic being economic development on U.S. Native American reservations. My passion for the topic comes from my father who was Lakota but left the U.S. reservation as a youngster making his way toward the Navajo area in Arizona, joining the rodeo and traveling until settling down in Detroit Michigan.

We have much work to do but also so much to be thankful for. Most importantly the great work that has been done up to this point. I would like to thank our Immediate Past President, Adriana Valencia, as well as Claudia Sabastani, and Jacquelyn Velkin for their service over the past year. We have been very fortunate to have such wonderful individuals provide us with their talents and we wish them the very best as we pick up the work and continue to work together as a strong group of individuals with a strong desire to insure that our indigenous populations around the world have their voices heard. Please join me in both thanking our previous leaders for their work and dedication as well as welcoming our incoming executive board.

It goes without saying that we owe a huge debt of gratitude to both our academic advisor, Dennis Wiedman and our advisory board members for without them our focus and purpose would be less clear and effective.

Please join me in thanking all of our Advisory Council members of the FIU Global Indigenous Forum for the guidance and leadership as well as our former executive board and welcoming our incoming executive board.