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Organization Board Members & Staff

Board of Directors

Pacific Region

Shasta Gaughen – Chair
Pala Band of Mission Indians


Rocky Mountain Region

Ft Belknap

Northwest/Alaska – Makah Region

Jill Wagner – Secretary/Treasurer
Coeur d’Alene Tribe

Coeur d’Alene Tribe

Eastern Region


Eastern Oklahoma Region

Everett Bandy
Quapaw Nation

Standing Rock 1

Great Plains Region

Jon Eagle – Vice Chair
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

Southwest Region

Kurt Dongoske
Zuni Pueblo


Midwest Region

Lower Sioux 1

Southern Plains Region

Iowa tribe

Navajo Region

Richard Begay
Navajo Nation


Western Region



Executive Director

Valerie J. Grussing, PhD

As Executive Director of NATHPO, Valerie is committed to protecting culturally important places that perpetuate Native identity, resilience, and cultural endurance through support, guidance, and advocacy of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers. She enjoys group projects and creating collaborative solutions-focused programming. She is passionate about advocating for and elevating Native interests and voices in protecting and revitalizing Native cultures and places. Valerie is honored to be part of an ongoing paradigm shift in how agencies and industry work with indigenous groups by ensuring that staff and leadership are knowledgeable about principles of sovereignty, self-determination, and proactive engagement and relationship building.

Valerie holds a BA in History from North Carolina State University, an MA in Anthropology from the University of Iowa, and a PhD in Coastal Resources Management from East Carolina University. Based in Silver Spring, MD, she enjoys making jewelry, chalk art, and calligraphy, and spending time with her husband, young son, and daughter.

Headshot Julie 2021

Communications and Programming Director: Julie Nelson

Julie Nelson is a strategic marketing & communications consultant and coach dedicated to her clients' organizational growth. Her holistic approach identifies client goals, then develops the step-by-step strategy to achieve them - all supported by coaching techniques that equal powerful results. Through her work, Julie is dedicated to empowering positively-minded organizations, both for-profit and non-profit, in doing the most possible good. While working as part of the NATHPO team, notable projects to date include, rebranding the organization's look and communication style to create a sense of community, creating the framework for and helping to organize NATHPO's virtual conference and Sacred Sites Summit, as well as working with agency and private fund sources to secure major project and operational funding.

Julie loves spending time with her family and friends. She is a swimmer, an avid fan of long walks and enjoys nothing more than entertaining friends.


NATHPO Director of Operations: Melissa Madrigal

Melissa Madrigal is a consultant working with NATHPO on reporting, development, and member management. She is committed to bridging the gap between protecting cultural & Native resources and emergency/hazardous response. Her background is in terrestrial & maritime archaeology, oil spill response & environmental planning, and regulatory compliance with a focus on cultural resource protection. Melissa is highly invested in helping foster communication between groups and has focused on developing the NATHPO contact database, member management platform, and website. Melissa is continually grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this organization.

Melissa holds a BS in Anthropology and a BS in Psychology from University of Houston, and ABD Coastal Resources Management PhD from East Carolina University. She and her husband, Stewart, have 3 cats (Rainbow Brite, Bagheera, & Dr. Martin Write) which keep them on their toes! She took up pottery last year and is excited to continue to learn new skills working with clay.

Workshops & Webinars

Government Affairs Coordinator: Ted Monoson

Ted Monoson is a Principal in 4th St Communications. He has more than two decades of experience working as a reporter, senior policy aide and senior communications aide. Ted served as the Senior Director of Government Affairs at the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers. In this role, he led the successful effort to almost triple Historic Preservation Fund appropriations to $144 million and positioned NCSHPO as the organization that Congressional staff turned to for questions about historic preservation. Ted is a strong proponent of the need to increase diversity in historic preservation, specifically the preservation of Tribal Nations’ sacred sites and places associated with the Civil Rights Movement.

As a reporter, Ted covered agriculture, natural resources and energy issues for CQ. He also covered Washington, D.C., for large circulation daily newspapers in the American West, including The Billings Gazette, the Casper Star Tribune and the Missoulian. Ted spent almost five years working for House Speaker John Boehner as an aide focused on agriculture, natural resources and energy issues. He also served as Communications Director for the House Committee on Agriculture.