Email Updates
Sign up to stay informed about the latest happenings at Interior.


Sign up to stay informed about the latest happenings at Interior.
Email Updates
Sign up to stay informed about the latest happenings at Interior.
U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Policy, Management and Budget
Click to toggle text size.

2004-08-17 Presenter Biographies

Karen J. Atkinson, Tribal Strategies, Inc.

Karen J. Atkinson is Mandan, Hidatsa, and Tsimshian and is President of Tribal Strategies, Inc. located in Washington, D.C.  She is also Of Counsel to the national law firm Monteau & Peebles specializing in Indian law.  Prior to this, Karen served as Deputy Director of the National Park Service where she developed an environmental leadership program and a Green Energy Parks Program. She also served as Senior Counsel to Senator Inouye on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee where she advised senators on energy policy and natural resource issues.  Her current practice focuses on government relations, energy development and natural resource management issues.  She represents tribes and companies that want to do business with tribes.  She focuses on creating public/private partnerships between tribes and private industry.  She also provides training on NEPA and tribal consultation.

Geoffrey Blackwell, Senior Attorney and FCC Liaison to Tribal Governments, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission

Mr. Blackwell provides oral and written counsel to the Commission on regulatory, adjudicatory, and licensing matters involving Tribal issues and matters of Federal Indian law.  He is responsible for various outreach efforts to Tribes, Tribal representatives, and consumers.  Mr. Blackwell also coordinates various “in-reach” efforts to educate FCC staff about Tribal governments and cultures, Tribal sovereignty, federal Indian law and Tribal communications needs.  Prior to his most recent federal service, Mr. Blackwell worked in the Litigation Department of Hale and Dorr, LLP, of Boston.  Mr. Blackwell is an enrolled member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, and is also of Omaha, Choctaw, and Chickasaw descent.

Kenneth H. Carleton, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Mississippi Band of Choctaw

Carleton was born in 1961 in central Mississippi.  He received his undergraduate degrees (a B.A. in Anthropology and a B.S. in Geology) from Mississippi State University and his graduate degree (a M.A. in Anthropology) from the University of Georgia.  His thesis is an analysis of travel patterns and a reconstruction of the Choctaw trail system in Mississippi and Alabama in the 18th Century.  Since 1990 Carleton has been the archaeologist and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.  His research includes the history and archaeology of the Choctaw, especially in the 17th – 19th centuries.  He has written articles on Choctaw ceramics and other aspects of Choctaw archaeology.  Currently Carleton, in addition to his duties as THPO for the Choctaw, is the Vice-chair of the United South and Eastern Tribes’ Culture and Heritage Committee and is the eastern area alternate representative to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s Native American Advisory Group.

Jerry Gidner, Director, Office of Planning and Policy Analysis, Office of the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs

Jerry Gidner recently completed a two-year assignment as the Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs. In that position, he assisted with managing an organization with nearly 11,000 employees and a $2.4 billion budget. He was the project lead for a large-scale reorganization of the Office of the Assistant Secretary and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The reorganization would be an excellent case study for consultation: The Department believes that the consultation it conducted was unprecedented in magnitude; many Tribes believe consultation did not occur at all, or was entirely insufficient.

Mr. Gidner has previously served as the Chief, Division of Environmental and Cultural Resources Management for the BIA, as an enforcement attorney for the Environmental Protection Agency, and as an environmental educator for a county parks department.

Mr. Gidner has a bachelor’s degree in Zoology from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in Natural Resources Management and Policy from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment and a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.

Horst Greczmiel, Associate Director for NEPA Compliance, Council on Environmental Quality

Horst G. Greczmiel joined the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in December 1999 as the Associate Director for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Oversight.  He is responsible for overseeing and implementing the NEPA and CEQ mandates to ensure that federal agencies integrate environmental values into decision-making and serves as the Director of the NEPA Task Force.

Prior to joining CEQ, he worked in the Office of Environmental Law at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, DC, responsible for policy development and litigation involving environmental planning compliance responsibilities under NEPA, the Endangered Species Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act.  Mr. Greczmiel served in the U.S. Army for fifteen years, including tours with the Office of The Judge Advocate General’s Environmental Law Division and a detail as environmental advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health. 

Mr. Greczmiel was born in Kassel, Germany, and raised in Canada and the United States.  He received his B.A. from Lafayette College, Easton, PA; J.D. from Rutgers - Camden School of Law, Camden, NJ; and LL.M. in environmental law from George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Valerie Hauser, Native American Program Coordinator for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

Valerie Hauser is the Native American Program Coordinator for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C. Valerie joined the ACHP staff in 1989 as a Historic Preservation Specialist reviewing Federal agency projects and programs. She also served as the ACHP Army Affairs Coordinator. 

As Native American Program Coordinator, Valerie advises the Chairman, members, and Executive Director on policy matters and historic preservation issues affecting Indian Tribes and Native Hawaiians. She also provides technical assistance and outreach to Section 106 participants regarding participation of Indian tribes and Native Hawaiians in the Section 106 review process and the national historic preservation program. 

Prior to her tenure at the ACHP, Valerie served as Director of Archeology at an environmental education center in New York City.  She received her Master of Arts in Anthropology from New YorkUniversity.

Joseph Hesbrook, Ph.D., Wakeashuhla (Rattling Hail) Tribal Liaison, Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency

Dr. Hesbrook is currently Tribal Liaison for the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency. He is a Plains Indian (Lakota) who also consults and lectures nationally and internationally on such topics as: An American Indian World View; American Indian History; A History of Tribal Law; The Government to Government Relationship and Indian Art and Culture.

Dr. Hesbrook has worked with numerous non-profits and has spoken to businesses and organizations on the fundamental issues facing American Indians in American society. He has introduced many to the lifestyle of Indians living on Reservations or in mainstream society. He has maintained his native roots while serving as a consultant for the Department of Interior, the Bureau of Land Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He has also served as a faculty member and consultant to: University of Cincinnati, Wright State University, Sinclair College, University of North Texas, University of Texas, Adams State College, University of New Mexico, Arizona State University, Stanford University, University of Oklahoma and Institute of American Indian Arts.

Dr. Hesbrook served as a U.S. Senator of New Mexico on Indian Issues for 19 Pueblo Reservations, 2 Apache Reservations, and the Navajo Reservation.  In addition, Dr. Hesbrook is co-owner of The American Indian Tea and Coffee Company, a wholesale tea and coffee company located in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Paul Lumley, Senior Tribal Liaison, Office of Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, Installations and Environment

Paul Lumley joined the Department of Defense on July 1, 2004 as the Senior Tribal Liaison.  Mr. Lumley has an extensive history working with Norwest Tribes on salmon issues, particularly in the Columbia River Basin.  Mr. Lumley is now in charge of the Department of Defense Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program and working on numerous policy issues affecting Native American and Alaskan Natives.  Paul Lumley is an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation, which is located in central Washington State.

Oren R. Lyons, Onondaga Nation of the Haudenosaunee

Oren Lyons is a traditional Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation of the Haudenosaunee (“People of the Long House”) or Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy.  He sits on the Grand Council of Chiefs of the Haudenosaunee, which was founded upon the principles of peace, integrity and power of the good mind.

Oren Lyons is a Professor of American Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he directs the Native American Studies Program.  He graduated from Syracuse University College of Fine Arts.  He exhibits his paintings widely and is noted as an American Indian Artist.

Since 1970, Oren has been a leading advocate for American Indian causes.  He is recognized not only in the United States and Canada but also internationally as a respected spokesperson on behalf of Native Peoples.  He participates in forums in a variety of areas, including American Indian traditions, Indian law and history, human rights, and environmental issues. 

Oren has received numerous honors and awards, including the Honorary Doctor of Law from Syracuse University.  On the Columbus Quincentenary in 1992, he co-edited with John Mohawk, Exiles in the Land of The Free, a major study of American Indians and democracy.  For over 15 years he has taken part in the meetings of Indigenous Peoples held in Geneva under the auspices of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations, and helped to establish the Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1982.  He serves on the Executive Committee of the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders on Human Survival, and is a principle figure in the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth, an annual council of traditional leadership of major Indian Nations of North America.

Oren was the subject of a one-hour television documentary produced and hosted by Bill Moyers which was broadcast on PBS on July 3, 1991.  In 1992, he organized a delegation of the Iroquois Confederacy to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janiero, and while in Rio was invited by Maurice Strong, Secretary of General of UNCED, to address the national delegations.

Oren is a lifelong lacrosse player and is currently the Honorary Chairman of the Iroquois National Lacrosse Team.  In 1993, he was elected to the Lacrosse National Hall of Fame.

David Nelson, Director, Environment & Natural Resources Department, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

Mr. Nelson is theDirector of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s Environmental Protection Department. Mr. Nelson has held the position for seven years, addressing environmental and natural resource issues including eenvironmental planning, policy development, legislative initiatives, assessing and developing regulations, developing funding proposals and implementing media strategies.  He has also provided technical assistance to other Tribal governments in building and enhancing their environmental management capacity regulations and policy.  He is a past representative for EPA Region VIII Tribes on the National Tribal Operations Committee is a working Committee developed by the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to work on various issues concerning the Indian policy budget process and an Office of Indian Affairs that will be incorporated into the Agency's sufficient infrastructure. He has also served as the National Science Council EPA Region 8 Representative.

James Van Ness, Associate General Counsel Environment & Installations, Department of Defense

Mr. James Van Ness is an Associate General Counsel in the Office of the Deputy General Counsel (Environment & Installations) for the Department of Defense.  In this capacity, he is responsible for advising the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment concerning a wide variety of environmental issues, including environmental planning, compliance, and restoration; natural resources conservation; cultural resources management; and American Indian and Alaska Native policy matters.  Prior to his retirement from active duty, he served for 23 years as an active duty judge advocate in the United States Air Force.

Mr. Van Ness earned his B.S. in Distributed Studies from Iowa State University; his J.D. from the University of Iowa; and his LL.M. in Law and Marine Affairs from the University of Washington.  He is a member of the Iowa, U.S. Court of Military Appeals, and U.S. Supreme Court Bars.