Allen Taylor

Author: Beth Macinko  |  Published: July 1, 2022  |  Category: Profile

The 2022 Tribal Stewards crew is in the desert! For a third summer, a motivated group of Indigenous young adults is working on conservation projects around Oregon’s high desert lands as part of a partnership between ONDA, Northwest Youth Corps, and tribal and federal land management agencies. The program was created to give tribal youth paid hands-on experience completing conservation projects and exposure to a range of natural resource fields and land managers.

The 2022 crew is led by Jevon Kindelay and Andrew Mike, with crew members Kiari Bullhead (Standing Rock Sioux), Joseph Dixon (Oglala Lakota), Alyssa James (Diné), Cyrina Kessay (White Mountain Apache Tribe), Dylias Jose (Colorado River Indian Tribes), Sylvester Juan (Tohono O’odham), Malik Martinez (Okanogan Colville), and Amare Ortega. The crew members are all students at the Chemawa Indian School in Salem and are spending five weeks working on conservations projects with ONDA partners. Working in different places and seeing the varied scenery of Oregon has been a highlight for the crew, who come from Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and North Dakota.



Spring Basin Wilderness

Spring Basin Wilderness

Spring Basin Wilderness

With 10,000 acres of undulating terrain, secluded canyons and spectacular vantages of the John Day Country, Spring Basin is magnificent to explore This public treasure, forever protected as Wilderness, offers a profusion of desert wildflowers in the spring and year-round recreational opportunities for hikers, horseback

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Terry Butler, 2018 Volunteer of the Year

Terry Butler, 2018 Volunteer of the Year

“If I have to pick a favorite place in Oregon’s high desert, it would be Sutton Mountain, but I’m excited about all of the Wilderness Study Areas,” says Terry, adding, “Each is a gem to explore, and I hope they all get protection someday… I love the scale of the physical beauty of the desert.”


Owyhee Canyon Swallows Sparrows and Rushing Water

Owyhee Canyon Swallows Sparrows and Rushing Water

Repairing beaver dam analogs in the Malheur National Forest

Collecting native seeds at Denny Jones Ranch

Gena Goodman-Campbell

Working along Camp Creek

Juniper cutting at Denny Jones Ranch

The 2022 Tribal Stewards started their season with two weeks of invasive vegetation removal on the coast, before heading across the mountains to visit the ONDA office in Bend and get prepped for the wonders and challenges of working in the desert. The crew continued east to their first project with the Prairie City Ranger District of the Malheur National Forest, working to protect the headwater springs of the Malheur and North Fork Malheur Rivers. They built wildlife-friendly fences that will protect these important water sources from cattle damage and got snowed on while camping at over 5,000 feet!

The crew then headed down to the Burns Paiute Tribe’s Denny Jones conservation property to restore upland sagebrush habitat through cutting encroaching juniper and collecting native seed that will be grown out for future upland plantings.

In the coming weeks, the Tribal Stewards will work on beaver dam analog maintenance, riparian plantings, fish surveys and invasive fish species removal, and trail work at various locations including Burns Paiute Tribe conservation properties, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and the Malheur National Forest. The crew is looking forward to seeing more areas of Oregon and gaining experience on a variety of projects. Follow along with the crew this season by visiting the photo gallery.