Santa Fe Indigenous Center Staff
Caren Gala, Laguna/Taos/Nambé Pueblo – Director of the Santa Fe Indigenous Center since January of 2017. She was the former Programs Director for SWAIA Santa Fe Indian Market where she worked for 19+ years. “I enjoy working for Native nonprofits because I share a passion in creating opportunity for our people. There are Native people living in Santa Fe, struggling to make ends meet and to put food on the table to feed their children. Too often there are no statistics for Native people living in cities to receive services and we need to change that. SFIC is a valuable resource that is diligently working to make a difference in the lives of those requiring special services.” Caren lives in Nambe Pueblo and creates traditional Pueblo clothing in her spare time. She enjoys gardening and canning fruits & vegetables and spoiling her two grand babies.
Santa Fe Indigenous Center Board of Directors
Karen Buller (Chair), Comanche – Karen taught Social and Developmental Psychology at Haskell Indian Nations University, University of Nebraska, and University of North Dakota. Buller founded and Directed the National Indian Telecommunications Institute. Buller also lobbied for the State PTA in the New Mexico Legislature. Buller has served on many boards, including, the Universal Service Administrative Company, Verizon Advisory Board, New Mexico ACLU, Libraries for the Future. Karen is now retired and serves as Chair of the Santa Fe Indian Center Board.
Cyndi Hall (Vice Chair) – “I am passionate about our Native youth in the Santa Fe community. My goal working with the SFIC is to help raise the expectations for our youth, help them understand their responsibility to their community, and help them gain the confidence to succeed. As a former President of the Santa Fe Public Schools Native American Student Services Parent Committee, I understand the unique and particular needs and problems our young people face.” Cyndi is the wife of Tsali Hall (Diné) and the mother of Nolan Hall, a student at Santa Fe Indian School. She is also the Associate Director of Manitou Galleries.
Kathleen Romero (Treasurer) Pechanga/San Diego Presidio – Kathleen Romero, San Diego, California native. With a Master of Arts degree in Theatre Design and a minor in Business, Kathy is a retiree from San Diego State University Theatre Department. Her resume includes Costume and Makeup credits in professional film & collegiate design to the Costume/Property Mistress of the 1988 Radio City Music Hall Super Bowl half-time event. Including Basketry & Gourd vessels, her Fiber, Sculptural & Jewelry work has been sold in various galleries in the Southern California area. 2017 found her retired in Santa Fe where she joined the Santa Fe Indigenous Center as a volunteer. Kathy’s involvement with the indigenous peoples of New Mexico has brought her back to her native roots in both the Native and Mexican cultures. In 2021 she became a member of the Board of Directors and in 2022 was voted Treasurer.
Linda Lomahaftewa (Secretary), Hopi/Choctaw – Born in Phoenix, AZ in 1947, Linda Lomahaftewa (Hopi/Choctaw) has maintained a thriving career as both a working artist and art educator throughout her life. She earned her high school diploma from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in 1965 with a focus on painting. She was awarded a full scholarship to attend the San Francisco Art Institute from 1965-1971, where she earned her BFA and MFA in Painting.
Kathryn Harris Tijerina, Comanche – Kathryn is an enrolled citizen of the Comanche Nation. She was born and raised in Comanche country in southwestern Oklahoma. She was the former President of the Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA a national college of fine art). Kathryn researched and wrote for the Indian Policy Review Commission of the US Congress and was of counsel to the US Senate Indian Affairs Committee where she drafted the first Indian Religious Freedom Act. She directed the Indian Resource Development (IRD) program for the State of New Mexico’s colleges and universities. Currently in her retirement she is a member of the Board of the Santa Fe Indian Center; Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees for Southwestern College, serves on the Santa Fe Council for the Uncertain Human Future, member of the Executive Committee of the Board for the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundations, and a National Advisor for the Americans for Indian Opportunity’s Ambassador Program. Kathryn has been married to her law school sweetheart, Manuel, for 44 years in 2020. She loves people, teaching, movies, reading, & gardening.
Samuel Villarreal Catanach, P’osuwaegeh Owingeh – Pueblo of Pojoaque - Samuel is from the Pueblo of Pojoaque and has served his community in various capacities. His current role is that of inaugural director of the Pueblo of Pojoaque Tewa Language Department. In addition to receiving his MS in American Indian Studies from Arizona State University, Samuel has interned with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Crow Canyon Archeological Center, Where Are Your Keys? (a language revitalization organization), and the School for Advanced Research’s Indian Arts Research Center. In 2018 he was chosen as an inaugural Indigenous Digital Archive Fellow and in 2021 as an Environmental Education of New Mexico (EENM) Fellow.
Samuel is the eldest of seven siblings and has a young son. His hope is to continue to give back to his community and the greater Indigenous community of the southwest and beyond.
Ehren Kee Natay, Diné – Ehren is an artist residing in his home town of Santa Fe, NM. His work combines visual and performative mediums to provide multi-sensory experiences and uses his creative expression to call attention and awareness to issues of social justice and equity. Ehren is a member of the Diné Nation.
Carrie Wood, Diné – Carrie is a member of the Navajo Nation, she is Naakai Dine’é (Mexican clan) and her maternal grandfather’s clan is Chíshí Dine’é (Chiricahua Apache clan). Carrie was raised in northern Arizona and went to college at the University of Arizona. She holds a BS in Engineering Management and an MS in Systems Engineering. She works from home as a software engineer. Carrie is on the PTC board for her son’s school and also volunteers with STEM Santa Fe. She works with SWAIA on their annual Haute Couture Fashion Show.