Board of Directors

Board of Directors

The Four Rivers Institute is very fortunate to have a committed board who represent diverse backgrounds and expertise.  These individuals understand and support our mission and have offered their time and resources to meet our goals and objectives.

Senior Vice President at GF Real Estate Group Shane Seibel is a member of the Southern Ute Tribe who comes to the Board with a wealth of management and investment experience.  Having grown up here in Southern Colorado on the Reservation he also brings a vast knowledge of the land and it’s stories. As the Senior Vice President of the Tribes development company, The Tierra Group, he has overseen one of Indian countries great success stories.  We are proud to welcome Shane and family to the project!
Esther G. Belin is a writer who was raised in Lynwood, California. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 2000 she won the American Book Award for her first book of poetry, From the Belly of My Beauty (University of Arizona Press, 1999.)  Belin was one of the cofounders for the Women of Color Film and Video Collective. As a student at UC Berkeley, she produced five videos.  Aside from her academic success,  Esther and her family have been exploring navajo land for years and are advocates of experiential and adventure education.  A second-generation, off-reservation Navajo (Diné), Esther Belin currently lives with her husband and family in Durango, Colorado, where she teaches in the Writing Program at Fort Lewis College.
Robert Baker is a Southern Ute Tribal member, River Guide and multi media artist.  He embodies the very spirit of the Four Rivers Institute.  A graduate of NAIA with a degree in Cultural and Language preservation Robert brings his many talents to bear through the creation of the first culturally based adventure business in the Four Corners.  He is a mentor to the youth and an inspirational leader.
Christine MyersAn enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, has a major in Indigenous Agricultural Enterprise and participates in the John F. Reed Honors Program towards a minor in the Rhetoric of Inquiry.As a member of the Fort Lewis College American Indian Business Leaders (AIBL), Christine assisted in formulating the Four Rivers Institute business plan. As an elected student senator for the Associated Students of Fort Lewis College (ASFLC) in the 2010-2011 school year, Christine has been focused on synergistically combining Liberal Arts education with contemporary concepts in Indigenous agriculture and stewardship curriculum for the Native American Indigenous Studies Department at Fort Lewis College through promoting “Social Enterprise” and experiential “community-based learning”.Christine’s interdisciplinary research interests are in edible and medicinal crops production strategies and in restoring a sense of Indigeny by addressing health, ecological, and economic concerns on a bioregional scale.
Melissa Lewis-BarnesMelissa is a Navajo(Dine) tribal member and graduate of Fort Lewis College.  She is an entrepeneur who owns her  own business ( Durango Custom Hats and Saddles) in Durango CO.  She is an active member of the local community and shares a special affinity with Native youth.  Her own experience of growing up on the reservation before leaving to attend prep school on the east coast gives her a unique perspective on education and a sense of broadening horizons through adventure.  Her husband Tom serves in the community as a firefighter
Chris BabbsChris has been an educator for 43 years as a teacher and school head.  He graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in history and from the University of Colorado with a M.A. in history.  After a full career in teaching, he was head of school at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School for 8 years and Colorado Academy for 17 years.  He has extensive experience in the design and evaluation of experiential and outdoor education programs as well as preparing students for various post secondary education opportunities.  He has helped develop foreign exchange programs and student internship programs.  He was founder of the Horizons program at Colorado Academy, a summer educational program for economically disadvantaged children, and a past member of the board of Colorado Outward Bound.  He is now retired and living in Mancos, Colorado.
Clarence SmithClarence is a Member of the Pikuni Tribe also know as the Black Feet in Montana, He raises his 13 year old daughter Brittney and is currently in college at Fort Lewis in Durango; studying International Business. He recently was re-elected as the Native American Honor Society President, and is part of other positive Native groups on the college campus. Clarence also serves as a member of the International World Trade Center and is the founder of the organization All Peoples Lodge.