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2024 AIANEA National Council

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Roylene Comes At Night, President (Interim)

State Conservationist since August 2005 (Dean of State Conservationists.)
Roylene Comes At Night is the NRCS Washington state conservationist, headquartered in Spokane Valley, Washington, and has worked with the agency for 35 years. She has won a multitude of awards for her exceptional leadership, including the 2023 Washington Association of Conservation Districts Presidents Award, and being named a 2022 Inland Northwest Woman of the Year by the Spokesman Review.
Comes At Night began her NRCS career as a student trainee. After graduation, she worked full-time as a soil conservationist in several Montana local field offices working with local ranchers, farmers, landowners, and Tribes.
She was promoted to district conservationist in Shelby, Montana, and later transferred to Phoenix, Arizona, where she served as one of the nation’s first state American Indian Tribal liaisons. She was promoted to assistant state conservationist for field operations and led operations for 21 local field offices and oversaw 63 employees in southeast Oklahoma.
In 2005, Comes At Night was selected NRCS’s first American Indian female state conservationist in Rhode Island, where she collaborated with the governor’s office and partners to expand conservation efforts. In her current position, she has strengthened agricultural and conservation partnerships, improved outreach to underserved communities, and bridged tribes and agriculture and conservation partners to better preserve the state's lands.
Comes At Night is the fifth generation raised on her family’s cattle and horse ranch located on the Blackfeet Nation in northwestern Montana. Her family continues to reside on the original allotment the government assigned to her great-great-grandfather Rides At The Door.
She graduated from Montana State University where she majored in range science and minored in soil science.
Comes At Night actively mentors developing NRCS employees and participates in many Tribal ceremonies. She resides in Spokane with her husband Michael and two cocker spaniels Rex and Cody. Roylene has served as Vice and President of American Indian Alaska Native Employee Association (AIANEA) and
now is serving as Interim President.

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VACANT, 1st Vice President
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Erin Taylor, 2nd Vice President

Erin Taylor currently holds a Tribal Conservation Planner position in Eureka, CA (Humboldt County) for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Her career with the agency began as a STEP, SCEP, and Pathways Student Trainee all in the summer of 2012! She started her Soil Conservationist journey upon graduating from Humboldt State University with a degree in Wildlife Management and Conservation. During her time as a Soil Conservationist, Erin had the privilege to collaborate with many local tribes and individual tribal producers in Northern California. She closely collaborates with tribal partner organizations to develop conservation plans unique to the respective tribes. Over the years, her successful projects, partnering, and networking led to her nomination to join the instructor cadre for the Working Effectively with American Indians (WEWAI) course in 2019. Erin has also held a District Conservationist position with NRCS and have served in multiple collateral duties, including the Asian American/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Special Emphasis Program Manager for the California Civil Rights Advisory Committee, Treasurer for the Asian Pacific Islander Organization (APIO), NRCS-CA Area 1 Employee Wellness Representative, and now the 2nd Vice President of AIANEA.
Outside of work, Erin enjoys recreating outdoors with her fiancée and dog Maple. Hikes through the Redwood forests and beachcombing for agates are on the top of her activity list. She also volunteers her time leading an all women motorcycle riding collective where fun weekend rides are organized.

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Cassius Spears, North East Region Rep

Cassius Spears, Jr. is a citizen of the Narragansett Indian Tribe and holds the position of State Resource Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Rhode Island. Cassius joined NRCS through the Student Career Experience Program while pursuing an Environmental Science & Management degree at the University of Rhode Island. After graduation, he worked as a Soil Conservationist and District Conservationist before serving as a State Resource Conservationist in 2022. During his time with NRCS, Cassius also served as an instructor for NRCS's Working Effectively with American Indians Course, working with tribes from all over the country to train NRCS employees on tribal relations and community engagement. Cassius is passionate about conservation and incorporates indigenous principles to promote sustainable socio-ecological relationships across Turtle Island. He currently lives with his family in the traditional homelands of the Narragansett people, where he actively participates in his tribal community.

David Pesicka, Northern Plains Region Rep

I started my career in 1988 as a Student Trainee working summers with the Soil Conservation Service.  I graduated from South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science in Range and a minor in Soils.  I have worked in seven NRCS offices in South Dakota over the last 35 years.  The last 25 years I have worked as a Tribal Liaison located on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation and I work with 2 field offices (Dupree and Timber Lake).


I am an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.  I have been married for 34 years to Lynn and she is a Kindergarten teacher at the Dupree School.  I have 2 sons, Patrick 34 and Anthony 32, Patrick works for NRCS and Anthony is an over the road Truck Driver.  I have a ranch that occupies most of my time and I enjoy hunting, fishing, golfing and spending time with family especially my 6 grandchildren and another one due June 25th. 


Volunteering:  Boxing Coach since 1998, Mobridge Youth Organization Football Coach

SD Range Camp, Rangeland Days and Lemmon Range Days

Training:  BIA Range training, Local Schools, World Soils Day.


Listening Circle Planning Committee:  Consultation and Trust Responsibilities, Cultural Resources Section 106 and TEK, DOI-BIA, Alternative Funding Agreements (AFA), USFS, Farm Bill 2023, Partnering, Urban Ag., National Technology Support Centers, Building a Tribal Liaison Network


NCRACC (National Civil Rights Advisory Committee to the Chief)- Native American Male representative:  National Civil Rights Awards, Hiring, recruiting, retaining employees.  Employee Data


WEWAI (Working Effectively with American Indians) Cadre Instructor.


AIANEA (American Indian Alaskan Native Employees Association) Northern Plains Representative.

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Felix Nez, West Region Rep
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Cameron Clark, Southeast Region Rep
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Blythe Koyiyumptewa, Midwest Region Rep
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Sherry Cosper, Treasurer
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Catherine Cannon, Secretary
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