Our Team

Chris Newell

Student-Worker

 

 

Tribal Community Member-in-Residence; Director of Education, Akomawt Educational Initiative - christopher.newell@uconn.edu

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Nation: Passamaquoddy Tribe

Chris Newell is co-founder/director of education for Akomawt Educational Initiative; a majority Native-owned educational consultancy based in Connecticut and author of Scholastic's If You Lived During the Plimoth Thanksgiving. He is a multi-award-winning museum professional born and raised in Motahkmikuhk (Indian Township, ME) and a proud citizen of the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the New England Museum Association, Tides Institute, and Maine Public.
Chris is a long-time singer with the acclaimed Mystic River singers based out of Connecticut and has traveled the US and Canada singing and participating in cultural celebrations, pow wows, and live stage performance. Chris was the Senior Advisor for the Emmy-award winning documentary Dawnland and co-director of the short documentary Weckuwapok (The Approaching Dawn) (2022) chronicling a historic sunrise concert collaboration in 2021 with Wabanaki musicians/storytellers and 18-time Grammy-winning cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Sage Phillips

Student-Worker

 

Graduate Assistant - sage.phillips@uconn.edu

(she/her/hers)

M.A. Candidate: Human Rights

Nation: Penobscot Nation

Sage Phillips is a Penobscot Nation citizen and graduate student at the University of Connecticut. 

Phillips is originally from Old Town, Maine, where she grew up close to her community and elders. As a 2021 Truman, Udall, and Cohen Scholar, Phillips has committed herself to a life in public service. 

She began working with the Native American Cultural Programs at the University of Connecticut (UConn) as an undergrad in 2018, determined to transform and expand the programs. Centering her work in creating good relations between UConn and the land it currently occupies, Phillips is a strong advocate for future ancestors and generations at land-grant institutions, especially UConn. 

In 2020, Phillips received a grant to begin a research effort surrounding UConn’s history as a land-grant institution (LGI). The project today, known as LandGrabCT, was developed in partnership with Native American Cultural Programs, the Dodd Center for Human Rights, and Greenhouse Studios. The effort has received resounding support and positive feedback, as it serves to educate the community-at-large about the historical traumas LGIs were permitted to commit against Indigenous peoples and their lands. In 2022, LandGrabCT was namedas a 20 for 20 Connecticut Game Changer for Innovation in Connecticut History.

This summer, Phillips joined the Wabanaki Alliance as a Summer Fellow working to defend Wabanaki sovereignty. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in human rights at UConn and works in the Native American Cultural Programs as the graduate assistant. Her main focus is Indigenous education rights as human rights, specifically equitable solutions for Indigenous youth seeking access to higher education institutions, primarily land-grant institutions. 

She credits her opportunities and successes to her grandfather and father, from whom she learned leadership at an early age while watching their work in the Penobscot River Restoration Project.

Samantha Gove

Samantha Gove

 

 

Student Coordinator samantha.gove@uconn.edu

(she/her/hers)

Major: Human Rights & Sociology  Minor: Political Science and Psychological Sciences

Nation: Mashantucket Pequot

Samantha Gove is a Senior from Granby, Connecticut, and is a proud member of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation. Alongside being the Student Coordinator of NACP, Samantha is the President of the Native American and Indigenous Students Association, the Coordinator of the UConn Indigenous Nations Cultural and Educational Exchange (UCINCEE), and the Coordinator of the UConn Native and Indigenous Students and Scholars Network (UNISSN). Samantha has completed two related research projects, including one examining fatal police encounters with Native victims and one examining anti-Indigenous iconography throughout New England. She also is the NACP team lead for the Minoritized Languages Project, which hosts a workshop series on minoritized languages throughout the North Atlantic, starting with Southern New England Algonquian and Irish Gaelic, to bring awareness to language revitalization efforts. Samantha has been named a 2022 Udall, Cohen, and BOLD Scholar, as well as a Newman Civic Fellow. In her time at NACP, she has worked hard to develop a sustained community of Indigenous students on campus. As a citizen of a Connecticut tribe, Samantha aspires to foster better relations between the university and local Native communities.

Nina Reines

 

 

Student Staff - nina.reines@uconn.edu

(she/her/hers)

Major: Animal Science  Minor: Wildlife Conservation

Nation: Mam

Nina is a Junior from Sherman, Connecticut. She is a member of the Indigenous Mam Tribe located in Guatemala. She is majoring in Animal Science with a Minor in Wildlife Conservation. Nina is a Student Coordinator for NACP as well as the Vice President of the Native American and Indigenous Students Association (NAISA). Outside of working with NACP, she is the Vice President for Paws and Claws.

Christina Yett

 

 

Student Staff - christina.yett@uconn.edu

(she/her/hers)

Major: Allied Health Sciences  Minor: Psychological Sciences

Christina Yett is a senior majoring in Allied Health Sciences. It is her third year working with NACP and she is excited to see what this year will bring!

Kylene Chino

 

 

Student Staff - kylene.chino@uconn.edu

(she/her/hers)

Major: Sports Management

Nation: Santa Ana Pueblo, Acoma Pueblo, and Navajo Nation

Kylene Chino is a Sophomore from Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico. She is majoring in Sports Management. Kylene is a staff member for the Native American Cultural Program (NACP) and a participating member in the Native American and Indigenous Students Association (NAISA).