HUNAP 50th, A Conversation with Past HUNAP Directors


Wednesday, December 2, 2020, 6:00pm to 7:00pm


Online, Registration Required


A webinar featuring the formal directors of HUNAP. This event will include the following:



little bear

Leroy Little Bear is a Blackfoot researcher, professor emeritus at the University of Lethbridge, founding member of Canada's first Native American Studies Department and recognized leader and advocate for First Nations education, rights, self-governance, language and culture. He has received numerous awards and recognition for his work, including the Officer Order of Canada, and the Alberta Order of Excellence. He was one of the first First Nations people to graduate from the University of Lethbridge, completing a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1971. He went on to complete a Juris Doctor Degree at the College of Law, University of Utah in 1975.

Little Bear was a founding member of the Native American Studies Department at the University of Lethbridge. He was chair of the department for 21 years. He went on to be the founding director of the Native American Program at Harvard University.

With expertise and training in law, Little Bear has made significant contributions in areas of First Nations constitutional rights, justice and self-determination. He played a significant role in Canada's constitutional changes. He advised the National Indian Brotherhood on the transfer of Canada’s founding legislation, the British North America Act, from British to Canadian authority. He continued to act as legal advisor. Little Bear was a member of the legal team working to negotiate the Constitution of Canada’s Section 35 from 1981–1987. Section 35 recognizes and enshrines Indigenous rights. Little Bear became the first Indigenous person cited in the Supreme Court of Canada. A strong advocate for supporting Indigenous worldviews in education, especially through language. He sees understanding worldviews as key to the work of truth and reconciliation in Canada. He stated: “The best way of changing ways of thinking is to change ways of thought,” he told the audience. “Changing the language and thinking in a new language is the best way to accomplish this notion of renewal.”

Little Bear retired from the University of Lethbridge in 1997, but continues to be active in numerous areas. An active researcher and writer, Little Bear has written numerous articles and books on topics such as self-governance, and the relationship between the Canadian federal government and First nations.

Little Bear is a member of the Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel, a panel sponsored by the Alberta government and works to bring Indigenous perspectives to environmental monitoring. For example, identifying and examining the impacts of the oil and gas industry on the land from an Indigenous worldview, as we as scientific perspective.


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Robin McLay, Chair of the Fulbright Canada Advisory Board and Senior Advisor to the President of Vancouver Island University. Before joining Vancouver Island University, Robin was leading the Province of British Columbia's work on social Innovation as its Executive Director of Social Innovation. Prior to that role, he served as the Head of Research and Strategy at The MasterCard Foundation, Canada’s largest private foundation with assets of more than USD 25B. Prior to joining the MasterCard Foundation, Robin was the Executive Director of McGill University’s Institute for the Study of International Development. He also worked for more than a decade at Canada's International Development Agency (CIDA) as its Director of Research and Director of Democratic Institutions and Conflict. As part of his responsibilities at CIDA he represented the Agency’s participation in the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples and managed CIDA’s $6M Indigenous Peoples Partnership Program. Before his work at CIDA, he served as Director of Harvard University’s Native American Program. He has held senior level positions with the Federal Government and also served as the Senior Advisor to the Executive Director of the APEC 97 Organizing Committee where he was responsible for overseeing the relationship with the BC Government and as senior liaison for indigenous issues and the delegations from New Zealand, Brunei and Malaysia. He has held senior level positions at Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and was the head of the Canada School of Public Service’s Pacific and Yukon Regional Office where he also managed International Programs.

Some of Robin’s notable accomplishment in the area of indigenous development include the work he did to development the BC Government’s Aboriginal Economic Development Strategy (1993) and the his work in developing and managing programs related to indigenous labour market strategies and programs including the Federal Government’s Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative. He worked with the BC Government to develop a series of indigenous employment and small business development programs. His recent work within this area included his role in working with the Business Council of British Columbia’s partnership with the BC Assembly of First Nations, the Province of BC and Vancouver Island University to develop and manage the Indigenous Leadership Program – a program that works with all of BC’s 25 post-secondary institutions and BC’s industry leaders to support indigenous students transition to meaningful employment opportunities. Robin is also working with a number of universities in BC to support indigenous social innovation including efforts to support procurement opportunities for indigenous owned businesses. Robin has had success in recruiting indigenous students to Harvard University over the past twenty years and continues to support those efforts through his role with Fulbright and as an alumni and as former Executive Director of Harvard’s Native American Program.

Robin pursued his graduate studies in public administration at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government as a Fulbright Scholar and as a SSHRC Science Policy Scholar. He was also awarded a Aboriginal Achievement Scholarship from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. Robin also holds a Master of Science from the London School of Economics and a B.A. from McGill University where he graduated with High Distinction and as a McGill University Scholar.



A member of the Blackfeet Tribe, Ken Pepion is currently a Senior Consultant at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and the Southern Regional Education Board. Ken retired as Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado in June 2017. Prior to joining FLC, Ken was Director of Faculty Programs in the Office of University Relations and Fellowship Programs at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Ken has also served as Executive Director of the Harvard University Native American Program and has held leadership positions at the University of Arizona, Montana State University, and the University of Montana.

Ken has directed projects funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Department of Energy, and has served as consultant to foundations and federal agencies in the areas of American Indian education, higher education policy, and STEM education. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Foundation for Student Success. His past service includes membership on the Committee for Equal Opportunity in Science and Engineering for the National Science Foundation, the Board of Directors of the All Nations Alliance for Minority Participation, the Tribal College Advisory Committee for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Research Associate with the National Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research.

Ken has also served on the Minority Graduate Education Committee for the Council of Graduate Schools, the Minority Access to Research Careers Advisory Committee for the National Institutes of Health, the Board of Directors for the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, and Advisory Board for Math and Science for All. In 2000, Ken received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Mentoring. Ken received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Montana and Montana State University and completed his Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy and Administration at the University of Arizona in 1993.



Carmen Lopez is a citizen of the Navajo Nation, her family is from the Black Mesa area of northern Arizona, and she grew up in Farmington, New Mexico. Carmen is the Executive Director of College Horizons Inc., a national non-profit that supports the higher education of Native American students by providing pre-college, college success and pre-graduate programs to Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian high school and college students from across the nation. Carmen serves on several committees and work groups including the Dartmouth College President’s Commission on Financial Aid, Amherst College CBO Advisory Board, the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation, and previously read for the Jack Kent Cooke Scholars Foundation, the College Board’s College Access Initiatives, and served on the Advisory Council of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program.

Prior to College Horizons, Carmen was the Executive Director of the Harvard University Native American Program and served on various campus-wide committees including the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Committee on Ethnic Studies, The Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, admissions reader for the Harvard Kennedy School’s Master in Public Policy program, and a reader and site visitor for the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development’s Honoring Nations Program. She also taught history at the secondary level, at Cushing Academy (MA) and the Native American Preparatory School (NM).

Carmen volunteers her time as a board member for the NM Center for Civic Policy and at her children’s school on the Native American Parent Association. She earned a B.A. in History modified with Native American Studies from Dartmouth College and an Ed.M. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education



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Partner, Melvin Consulting, PLLC

For nearly 20 years, Eileen has partnered with executives, boards and staff to empower them and their organizations to reach their goals through the effective use of resources, strategies and the facilitation of vital conversations. She also provides philanthropic advisory services to foundations, individuals and families.

Eileen brings a breadth of experience in resource development, program management, community development, narrative change, facilitation, strategic planning and board governance. She has insights into a wide array of organizations at the national, regional and grassroots levels spanning higher education, foundations, grantmakers and rural nonprofits. Eileen previously served as the fundraising director at the American Indian College Fund for 11 years to support the nation’s tribal colleges and universities with her expertise in major gifts, planned giving, corporate relations, foundation relations, annual giving and prospect research. She also worked at the Harvard University Native American Program focusing on student affairs, recruitment and advocacy. Eileen was a Senior Program Officer at First Nations Development Institute working on capacity building, narrative change initiatives and online giving platforms. A member of the Hopi Tribe, Eileen served on the board of directors for the Hopi Education Endowment Fund, Arizona Indian Living Treasures Awards, Stories on Stage, among others. She presents and trains on topics such as board governance, narrative change, capacity building, diversifying fundraising revenue streams, building individual giving programs, major gifts, planned giving and strategic planning. Eileen earned a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.



S. Alan Ray is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Prior to his retirement in June 2020, Alan served as President of Fisher College (MA) and President of Elmhurst College (IL). Earlier in his career, he held leadership positions at the University of New Hampshire (Senior Vice Provost) and Harvard Law School (Associate Dean for Academic Affairs). Before entering higher education administration, Alan practiced law for six years with firms in Los Angeles and Boston.

Throughout his career, Alan has tried to bring his experiences as an educator and administrator to bear on issues of concern to Native communities. He served for several years on the advisory board of the Cherokee Nation Language Immersion School. In 2010, President Obama appointed him to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education. During his eight years at Harvard Law School (1996-2004), Alan volunteered in numerous HUNAP roles, including Faculty Advisory Board member. He chaired the Provost’s first HUNAP program review and served on the Harvard Peabody Museum’s NAGPRA committee. He played a formative role in expanding the Law School’s indigenous peoples’ curriculum; participated in fundraising efforts that led to a $3M gift from the Oneida Indian Nation for an endowed chair in Indian Law; assisted NALSA members in bringing the Navajo Nation Supreme Court to campus for a session; and, as Lecturer on Law, led a reading group on Native American Religions and the Law.

Post-HLS, Alan organized the inventory and repatriation of Native remains and cultural property in the possession of the University of New Hampshire; developed co-curricular programming between Elmhurst College and Chicago-area nonprofits serving Native communities; and engaged in public speaking on Native American issues at institutions including the University of California, Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco), Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, Vermont Law School, Union Theological Seminary (NYC), and the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian (Chicago).

In addition to writing about higher education, Alan’s scholarship and teaching have addressed cultural and political questions in and around federal Indian law, including the exercise of religious rights on public lands, the role of race in determining tribal citizenship, the doctrine of discovery and colonization, and Native American identity formation under NAGPRA.

Alan holds a PhD in religious studies from the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, a JD from UC Hastings, a master’s degree on theological studies from Harvard Divinity School, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the former St. Thomas Seminary (Denver). His spouse, Angela Katsos Ray, was HUNAP’s Director of Development from 1997 to 2000. They met in Read House.