Leiloni Begaye is a Diné womxn from Dinétah, the homelands of the Diné people, an Indigenous womxn who is a farmer and rancher. Leiloni joined First Nations in September 2019 as our Project Coordinator and is based in the Albuquerque-Field Office.
Prior to joining First Nations, Leiloni worked as the New Mexico State Lead for FoodCorps, where she supported Farm to School initiatives, mentored ten local FoodCorps service members through NM, developed and implemented a state strategy through an Indigenous lens and K’e (relationship-centered). She was a School Garden Coordinator with La Semilla Food Center in the Paseo Del Norte Region (Las Cruces and Anthony, NM and El Paso, TX), and an Interpretative & Education Ranger and Field Paleontologist at White Sands National Monument.
Leiloni has a diverse background in Natural Resources (Wildlife, Forestry and Rangeland Management) from Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, and Agriculture with an emphasis in Rangeland Management from New Mexico State University, and her Master of Arts degree in Native American Studies at the University of New Mexico.
Leiloni is one of the original Uplifters that seeks to empower and unite young leaders to address climate change on the Colorado Plateau. She is a part of the New Mexico Farm to School Alliance, newly elected New Mexico Food & Ag Policy Council Governing Board, Diné Farm to School and Food Policy, advisor for Uplift, Albuquerque Public School District School Health Advisory Council (SHAC), 2018 HERD Fellow with Quivira Coalition and a Student Conservation Association Alumni.