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Board of Directors



TLC is governed by a seven-member Board of eminent indigenous language specialists, both Native speakers and linguists. The Board of Directors is responsible for the overall direction and decision-making of the organization. Directors are elected for two-year terms from candidates nominated from within the Board.

Board Members

Wilhelm Meya is the Chairman and Executive Director of The Language Conservancy. He is a national advocate for endangered languages and draws on more than 20 years of experience in higher education, linguistics, and nonprofit management. Under Mr. Meya’s leadership, the Conservancy has become the chief promoter of worldwide action for protecting languages and preserving cultures.

Ben Black Bear (Sičháŋǧu Lakȟóta) serves as the Lakota Translation and Language Specialist for the Lakota Language Consortium. His other credentials include positions as the former Vice President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the founder of the Lakota Studies Department at Sinte Gleska University, and the current director of Lakota Studies at St. Francis Mission.

Nacole Walker (Húŋkpapȟa Lakȟóta) is a linguistics graduate student at University of British Columbia and Lakota language instructor at Sitting Bull College and University of South Dakota. Ms. Walker works to revitalize Lakota through numerous programs and approaches.

Kevin Locke (Húŋkpapȟa Lakȟóta) is a Standing Rock Sioux tribal member. A visionary Hoop Dancer who also plays the indigenous Northern Plains flute, Mr. Locke is a traditional storyteller, recording artist and educator who serves as the board’s cultural ambassador.

Dr. Janine Pease (Crow) is an educator and advocate. She is the founding president of Little Big Horn College, past president of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, and former director of the American Indian College Fund. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education and the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities. She has also served as a trustee of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

Jan Ullrich is Linguistic Director and Vice-Chairman of The Language Conservancy. He is one of the world’s leading applied linguists and the foremost authority on the Lakota language. Mr. Ullrich brings these skills and specializations in curriculum development and teacher-training to his leadership of TLC’s endangered language programming work.

Dr. John Boyle specializes in Crow and Hidatsa language programs and works on the TLC’s Crow Curriculum Development Project. Dr. Boyle specializes in syntax, morphology, second language acquisition, language documentation and revitalization, and language pedagogy.