Chantay is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation and proud of her African American ethnic heritage. She has over 15 years of financial industry experience as a licensed Financial Professional. In addition to managing her private financial planning practice, she partnered with a national non-profit, to become the first female Certified Financial Educator® and Instructor in the Chicagoland area and is the Director of Native American Financial Literacy Services. Currently, she also works part-time with Chicago Public Schools American Indian Education Program. Chantay earned her Bachelors of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) in accounting from Roosevelt University and obtained her Master of Business of Administration (MBA) in Finance from Grand Canyon University.
Board of Directors
President, Navajo Nation
Vice President, White Earth Nation
Arlene is an enrolled member of the White Earth Nation in Minnesota. She is a veteran of the Marine Corps where she was a Sergeant, her job was a Military Police Officer. Since then she has had various jobs in law enforcement as a Correctional Officer and currently is a Criminal Investigator with the Jesse Brown VA Hospital. She has experience as a Domestic Violence Advocate while working with her tribe, she has served in various managerial roles throughout her career. Arlene has her Bachelors of Science (B.S.Ed.) in Education from Ashford University and is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Bethune Cook University.
Secretary, Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribe of Oklahoma
Terry is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribe of Oklahoma. Terry is a veteran of both the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy. Terry has received his Associate’s Degree (AS) in Tribal Administration from Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Criminal Justice from St. Xavier University with a minor in Business, a Certificate in Federal Policy from the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University, a Masters of Jurisprudence (M.J.) in Business Law from Loyola University School of Law. Terry is the Business Manager and Government Affairs Officer in the mortgage industry.
Treasurer, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe of South Dakota
Norma is an enrolled member of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribe in South Dakota. She is currently enjoying retirement and doing beadwork during her free time. Her previous work experience was as a Social Service Intake Coordinator with the St. Augustine Center in Uptown Chicago for nearly 20 years. She worked at the American Indian Health Center of Chicago as an Addiction Counselor and was a volunteer 12 Step program coordinator for AA meetings. She has held a seat on the American Indian Center Board in past years as the Treasurer. She is happy to continue to serve the Chicago Native community.
Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians
Lynn is an enrolled member of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians and a descendant of the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe. She has her Associate of Arts Degree (AA) in Paralegal Studies from Milwaukee Area Technical College, a Bachelors of Arts (BA) in English from Alverno College, a Certificate in Human Resource Management from Cardinal Stritch University, and her Masters in Jurisprudence in American Indian Law from the University of Tulsa. Lynn has served as an Associate Judge and a Chief Tribal Judge. Her experience with Indian Law has helped in her representation of Natives in tribal courts. She has experience in the areas of Community Partnership and Indian Gaming from her work with the Forest County Potawatomi tribe. Lynn has a strong academic background as a writer and experience in the understanding of the grant writing process. She looks forward to being a bridge for partnership by being of service to the organization to help fulfill its mission to serve the Native Urban community who come to Chicago from all over Indian Country.
Director, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation of Arizona
David is an enrolled member of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation in Arizona. He is a Youth Specialist with the American Indian Education Program (Title VI) at Chicago Public Schools. David is also a Youth Leader for the Young Native Leaders youth group, his passion for youth development, growth, and leadership are what help him as he continues to further his personal educational journey. David is currently seeking his Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Northeastern Illinois University.
Director, Jicarilla Apache Nation of Dulce, NM
Robin is an enrolled member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation from Dulce, NM. She recently moved to Chicago in 2020 from Albuquerque, NM, and is looking forward to being a part of the urban Native community. Robin has earned her Bachelor in Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) Degree in Criminal Justice/Police Science from ITT Technical Institute Albuquerque, Master of Business of Administration (MBA) in Business Administration and Management from the University of Phoenix, and has also earned a Certificate in Judicial Studies from Central New Mexico College. Robin currently is working in the legal field as a paralegal.
Staff & Board
Executive Director, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa/Oneida Nation
Melodi Serna is from the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and the Oneida Nation. Her passion for seeing Native American organizations succeed inspires her in her role as the current Executive Director of the American Indian Center of Chicago. Melodi, raised in the Native community in Chicago, which she now serves, continues with a long-standing familial community service tradition.
She enlisted in the United States Navy, where she became a Hospital Corpsman. She is a 5th generation Native veteran and is proud of her family’s continued military service. After her service, she has had several managerial roles in various capacities. In 2004, her roles expanded to special needs and education advocacy due to her son’s diagnosis and journey. As a business consultant she has worked to help create, develop and consult multiple businesses and organizations in areas such as foundational structure, policy work, programming, and writes and manages grants of various sizes. Melodi has sat on several boards and has continued her advocacy and leadership work as the Chairwoman of the Citywide American Indian Education Council with Chicago Public Schools.
Melodi was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the American Indian Center from her community in 2020. Her outstanding and charitable work to others over the years made her an ideal candidate to have served as the Vice President of the Board of Directors and currently as the AIC Director.
Director Of Arts & Culture, Mississippi Chata/Dine
Dave earned his M. A. in Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since 2002 he has undertaken myriad curatorial practices/exhibitions. In 2003, Dave developed a curriculum and taught a contemporary Native American contemporary art history course at Native American Educational Services College and the College of DuPage. He also served as a co-curator of the “Our Lives” inaugural exhibit about contemporary urban Native Americans at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. From 2007-10, Dave was the Assistant Curator at Aurora University’s Schingoethe Center for Native American Cultures. From 2007-2016, he served on the board of directors for the First Nations Film and Video Festival. Since 2020, Dave has served as a co-curator for the Chicago Native-based gallery display within the Native American Journeys exhibition at the Field Museum. Dave remains an active consultant for Native-based public arts programming for purposes of (Native) self-representation through image, sustaining cultural practices, attaining community balance, and for the sake of pedagogical missions to the broader community.
Presently, Dave is the Director of Art and Culture for the American Indian Center, providing leadership, coordination, and public art program development while participating in organizational fundraising endeavors. For several years, Dave served as a Grant Review Panelist for the Illinois Arts Council (i.e., Ethnic and Folk Arts and the Local Arts Agencies Advisory Panels), and the Scholarship Committee for the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Chicago Chapter. In 2013, via Native Americans in Philanthropy, Dave completed the Circles of Leadership Academy – a vital leadership development program designed to educate and empower Native American leadership in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.
Cultural & Education Programs Director, San Carlos Apache
Ronnie is an enrolled member of the San Carlos Apache Nation, now residing in Chicago, IL. He is the son of Lorraine Mike and the late Jerry Preston, Sr., a veteran of the United States Navy. Ronnie is currently a Woodland Sky Native American Dance Company member and also performs with Brule’. He is an accomplished pow-wow singer, dancer, regalia maker, hoop dancer, storyteller, artist, and performer of 30+ years.
Through his years of working with youth and families, Ronnie has become aware of the need for inner-city youth and families to be reminded of their culture and offer the means to reconnect to it to further their Native language, songs, stories, food, and dance. He truly enjoys sharing his life-long experiences and teachings and looks forward to doing so with the Native community in the Chicago area.
Executive Assistant, Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians
Erika is a descendant of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. She is a lifelong Chicago resident. She has received her Associate Degree (AA) in Healthcare Administration from Axia College, her Bachelor of Science (BS) in Healthcare Administration with a concentration in Long Term Care from the University of Phoenix, and is currently on hiatus from receiving her Double Masters Degrees; Masters of Applied Science (MASc) in Health Administration, and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resource Management. Erika pursued the healthcare field due to her experience with her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. As a resource in the healthcare industry she worked in a hospice facility as a Long Term Care Specialist assisting the families in the resources available to them, as well as providing consultative relief to families. Erika’s pursuit in the healthcare field expanded to domestic violence care within a local shelter. There she helped women with employment resources and assisted them with resumes, interview preparation, and enrollment of vocational programs.
Erika has gained experience in the area of business by being recruited to form a small business. She created the business plan and helped secure the funding needed for the company to establish. Her integral experience helped create the infrastructure the company needed to succeed. Her knowledge of the business helped her in achieving the role of Business Manager.
Currently, Erika is a mother to two beautiful children. She is pleased to be the Executive Assistant here at the American Indian Center and looks forward to the work the organization has planned for the community.