Restoring Ancestral Winds mission is to support healing in our indigenous communities. We will: advocate for healthy relationships; educate our communities on issues surrounding stalking, domestic, sexual, dating and family violence; collaborate with Great Basin community members and stakeholders; honor and strengthen traditional values of all our relations. We are always striving to make a difference, and invite you to learn more and lend your support.
Executive Director | Diné
Yolanda Francisco-Nez is from the Navajo/Dine’ tribe. Her clan is Edgewater (Tabaaha) born for the Basque People. She was born and raised in Tsehootsoi (Fort Defiance), Arizona. Yolanda is the granddaughter of a Navajo Code Talker Vincent Yazza. Ms. Francisco-Nez is the Executive Director of Restoring Ancestral Winds, Inc. Yolanda is a strong advocate of the Native people especially women and children. She uses her expertise to help inform policy. She served four years as board chair of the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault (UCASA). In 2017, under the leadership of Navajo Nation Delegate Amber Kanazbah Crotty, she helped establish a Navajo Nation Council Sexual Assault Prevention Work Group to address child abduction, sexual violence and human trafficking. In this role she facilitated a policy brief on child abduction and sexual assault, a chapter resolution to install the Amber Alert on the Navajo Nation, and hosts community dialogues on sexual assault throughout the Navajo Nation. In 2018, she received special recognition for her achievements from the Navajo Nation Council.
She has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. She is trained in Anti-discrimination Response Training from the University of British Columbia and received advocacy training from UCASA and Utah Domestic Violence Coalition (UDVC).
For 17 years, Francisco-Nez served three mayors at the executive level of Salt Lake City government. Among the highlights of her career is the opportunity to address the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland about her award-winning program the Human Rights Education Project. She has co-authored reports on discrimination, women’s rights and excessive use of force. Among other achievements, “The Status of Women in Salt Lake City” was published and used to help guide a resolution to establish a Commission to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and Law Enforcement Excessive Use of Force.
Ms. Francisco-Nez played a significant role in being the first city in Utah to pass legislation to protect the LGBTQI2S from employment discrimination which led to a statewide law. Prior to working city government, she was the president of the Native American Celebration in the Park and vice president and founding partner at Cal Nez Design advertising agency. In 2017, Francisco-Nez was named top 30 Women to Watch in Utah by the Utah Business Magazine.
Coordinator of Advocacy and Public Policy | Diné
Moroni Benally is the Coordinator for Public Policy and Advocacy at Restoring Ancestral Winds, Inc. He also serves as a Board member of Western Resource Advocates, a conservation organization that seeks to protect the West's land, air, and water to ensure that vibrant communities exist in balance with nature.
He co-founded the Utah League of Native American Voters where he assisted and advocated on behalf of tribes on public lands, water, voting rights, and violence prevention.
He also served as Director of the Navajo Nation’s Division of Natural Resources where he helped facilitate the Navajo Nation’s involvement in the Bears Ears National Monument and worked extensively on natural resource policy at the tribal, state, and federal levels.
Additionally, he served at Vice-President of Diné College. Prior to this he taught at Evergreen State College in the Masters of Public Administration program.
He is currently finishing a PhD in Public Policy at the University of Washington, focusing on collaborative governance around natural resources. He is Diné and currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Board Member | Ute Mountain Ute/Seneca/Cayuga
1st term: May 8, 2018-May 2020
Board President, appointed Nov 29, 2019
Griselda is from Towaoc, Colorado and is a member of the Ute Mountain Ute tribe. She is also Seneca/Cayuga from Quapaw, Oklahoma. Griselda is the Education Director for Ute Mountain Tribe in White Mesa, Utah. She received a Bachelor’s degree from Utah State University and a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State University-Global Campus. Griselda is part of several boards and participates in various organizations to help bring services to the community.
Board Member | Diné
1st term: February 26, 2019-February 2020
Treasurer, appointed Nov 29, 2019
Board Member | Diné
1st term: September 13, 2013-September 20, 2017, Board Member and Secretary
2nd term: September 21, 2017-September 2019, Board Member
Interim Secretary, appointed Nov 29, 2019
"My current position in managing Kokopelli Inn has given us an opportunity to work with the local DV program due to no shelter in the vicinity.
Since May 2012 to 2019, I worked with the Southeastern Dine Domestic Violence
Coalition as a p/t victim advocate as a volunteer, serving the southern Utah strip.
As a former advocate volunteer, I had an opportunity to work with Crown Point
Behavioral Center Tribal Court, working with teens on developing awareness on
school truancy, bullying, teen dating violence, and drug/alcohol abuse.
As former office manager/training coordinator with Tribal Law & Policy Institute, our office provided tribal court training, T/TA to tribes on various grants, and assisted n coordinating the bi-annual Indian Nations Conference. Acted as a
liaison among the Natives in Southern California area and with students at UCLA.
While with ASU/American Indian Institute office manager, my task was to assist
with student retention/recruitment, honors program, student cultural program, and the annual RETAIN conference, aside from the office tasks.
As an ASU student, I had the opportunity to work with the Mayo Clinic, Maricopa
Medical Center, and the Hispanic Research Center on a cancer research project among the Arizona Indigenous community and the Mexican/American"