AHTZA DAWN CHAVEZ | Executive Director (she/her)
Ahtza (Ahh-ttsaa) D. Chavez is a two-spirit asdzą́ą́ member of the Diné Nation born for Kewa Pueblo. She is the proud mother to a son and the daughter of Cari W. (Diné) and Everett F. Chavez (Kewa Pueblo).
As the Executive Director of NM Native Vote, she oversees partner organizations tasked with educating and creating an Indigenous voting bloc in New Mexico working with key organizations and governance within the state.
Ahtza studied Sociology at Stanford University until her senior year when she transferred to the University of New Mexico. She has an MBA from the UNM Anderson School of Business and a Master of Studies in Law (MSL) from the UNM School of Law with a concentration in federal Indian law. Her vision includes focusing on increasing civic engagement within Native American communities, continuing to collaborate and unify a voter bloc while strengthening Indigenous sovereignty and control over sacred lands. She also wishes to reinvigorate the power of Tribal leaders to exercise sovereignty as it comes to battling the climate crisis.
She is the small business owner of IndigeLens Media, which focuses on showcasing Indigenous voices, enhancing Tribal community, promoting social entrepreneurship, and increasing visibility of authentic representations of Indigenous culture.
ALMA ROSA SILVA-BAÑUELOS | Chief of Staff (they/them)
Alma Rosa Silva-Bañuelos is a member of the Mexica Azteca Chichimeca/Xicana nations, and builds Native power through community relations, uplifting staff, and creating access to systems that have left our voices out.
Having been a community organizer in their hometown of Albuquerque since the late 1990s and having worked across New Mexico facilitating local and rural communities in self-organizing for social, environmental, economic, reproductive and gender justice, Alma Rosa has worked with many local, statewide, regional, national, bi-national organizations and community groups.
From supporting and uplifting staff as well as creating access to systems that have historically left Native voices out, they believe in the strength of identity and in the journey of decolonizing and honoring their whole self as they embrace their two-spirit identity as Mexica Azteca Chichimeca/Xicana.
Alma Rosa is a co-founding member of Bold Futures, and served as a founding Board of Directors member for the Transgender Resource Center of NM and Casa Q. They served as the founding Director of the LGBTQ Resource Center at UNM and is the founder of the NM LGBTQ Roundtable. Alma Rosa was recognized by the Recuerda Cesar Chavez Committee and was awarded the Dolores Huerta “Si Se Puede” Award in 2013 for lifelong commitment to community, social and human rights issues.
AARON LEE | Indigenous Energy Advocate (he/him)
Aaron Lee is a Navajo, Cochiti Pueblo, and Oglala Lakota person from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He’s a recent grad from Dartmouth College with a major in Environmental Studies and a minor in Native American Studies.
Prior to joining NM Native Vote, Aaron served as a K-8th grade horticulturalist teacher for Bernalillo Public Schools, a forest conservationist for Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, and program site manager for Story Riders.
Aaron Lee now serves as the Climate and Energy Policy Fellow for Naeva and NM Native Vote and is a part of Naeva’s Indigenous Energy Team whose focus is on improving the environmental quality for Native and New Mexican people, decarbonizing New Mexico’s economy and reducing/mitigating further greenhouse gas emissions that disproportionately afflict Indigenous and frontline communities. Aside from Aaron’s passions for environmental justice and Indigenous food sovereignty, he also writes music and tours with his band Side Montero and enjoys staying active.
PETYR XYST | Comms Director (he/him)
Petyr Xyst is from Albuquerque, New Mexico and is a citizen of the Laguna Pueblo. He graduated in 2022 with a BFA in Film and Digital Arts from the University of New Mexico and has been involved in political organizing since the tenth grade.
He has also participated in organizing and protest movements involving environmentalism, gun violence, and police abolition. He is an alum of Sundance’s Indigenous Program and was nominated for Rolex’s Mentor and Protégé initiative.
MAIYAH KING | Data Fellow (she/her)
Maiyah King is from the Navajo Nation and Pueblos of Acoma and Laguna. A current University of New Mexico undergrad majoring in Art Studio with a minor in Native American Studies, she’s had a passion for organizing from a young age.
It is incredibly important to her to bring forward environmental and social issues Indigenous communities face everyday and look for solutions. As a member of the team at NM Native Vote, Maiyah analyzes data in local Native communities so Tribal Nations have a better understanding of voter turnout and voter engagement in New Mexico.