Meet Our Staff!

Janessa Esquible | Student Researcher

Hi! My name is Janessa Esquible. I am originally from Detroit, Michigan and moved to Alaska in 2014. I am Mexican-American and Ojibwe and enrolled with the Walpole Island Band. I’ve been working for Orutsararmiut Native Council since spring of 2016 as a Biologist, transitioned into the Natural Resource Director position in 2020, and more recently transitioned into the role of a Student Researcher as a part of the Indigenizing Salmon Science and Management Program.

I am interested in how Indigenous ways of knowing and understanding are used to guide fisheries management decisions along the Kuskokwim River. I am also interested in how Yup’ik and Athabascan values are reflected in fisheries management and bridging knowledge systems. I feel it is so important for scientists, managers and biologists to reconsider what constitutes “knowledge” and to promote Indigenous land-based knowledge systems as co-equal to western science. I am hoping to document and better understand the inequities inherent in fisheries management and natural resource management more broadly in efforts to contribute to positive change and a more equitable and inclusive space for Indigenous people, Indigenous epistemologies and ontologies within the fisheries realm.

When I’m not working, I enjoy spending time on the land and river, fishing, berry picking, spending time with friends, doing yoga, biking, cross country skiing & going on walks. Quyana for the opportunity to share a little bit about myself.

Email: jesquible@nativecouncil.org

Kylie Ford | NALEMP Project Manager and Tribal Liaison

Hello! I grew up in Warrington, PA on the traditional lands of the Lenni-Lenape, then spent several years in living in New York City on Munsee Lenape and Wappinger lands. I graduated from Fordham University in 2020 and joined ONC as the Natural Resource Technician in 2021. In August 2022, I began serving the tribe as the NALEMP (Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program) Project Manager and Tribal Liaison.

In my free time, I try to soak up all of the experiences Bethel has to offer! I have been exploring the tundra, gardening, teaching yoga, learning guitar, walking my dogs, and diving into the community in any way I can. I love Bethel, and have felt so welcomed, blessed, and humbled to be living and working at ONC on the lands of the Yup’ik & Cup’ik peoples.

Email: kford@nativecouncil.org

Nia Long | Natural Resources Technician

Hello Everyone! My name is Nia Long and I grew up in East Stroudsburg, PA on the traditional lands of the Lenni-Lenape and Susquehannock, then spent four years in Scranton, PA on the lands stewarded by the same indigenous communities. I graduated from the University of Scranton 2022 where I majored in Neuroscience and Philosophy. I joined ONC as the Natural Resource Technician in August 2022 and am excited to work closely with the Bethel community on subsistence programs and environmental projects this year!

In my free time, I enjoy hiking, woodworking, photography, and cooking and baking. While in Bethel, I am excited to learn more about berry picking, subsistence hunting and fishing, and overall enjoying the beauty of the tundra.

Email: nlong@nativecouncil.org

Mary C. Matthias | Interim Natural Resources Director, Environmental Program Coordinator

My name is Mary Herrera-Matthias.  I am originally from Bethel, AK.  I lived in Nightmute for about 20 years before moving back to Bethel in the late year of 2015. I started working in the IGAP back in 2008 and have grown with the program over the past 10 years serving as the IGAP Environmental Program Coordinator. I have served ONC as the IGAP Environmental Program Coordinator since 2015 – 2018, then served as the NR Director for over a year and a half from 2018 to beginning of 2020. I took a much needed vacation away from the working environment and finally returned back to serving ONC in late December as the IGAP Environmental Program Coordinator.

I was the first to begin the Recycling Program for ONC in 2016, which has proven to be successful in implementing and gathering community  support.

My position consists of managing and coordinating oversight of a comprehensive environmental program to enhance quality of life for ONC’s by  the following: Research and pursue additional funding opportunities to further the development of the ONC Environmental Program. Demonstrate environmental education and awareness practices. Build partnerships at the professional level with tribal organizations, local organizations, governmental entities and outside resources based on environmental issues.  Create environmental plans, conduct environmental assessments, seek training supported by the environmental program to supplement administration and program capacity. Collaboratively continue building and enhancing the ONC Environmental Program in accordance with the identified needs and priorities as established by environmental assessments and constituency concerns prioritizing the protection of human & environmental health for our tribal community.

Email: mmatthias@nativecouncil.org