Our core team has experience in government affairs, public policy, communications, field, and development. The organizational base of our work is a rotating staff of grassroots Native organizers intentionally hired from the communities in which we serve.
Brian "BB" Melendez
President & Chief Executive Officer
Northern / Southern Paiute - Western Shoshone
Brian “BB” Melendez is an enrolled Tribal citizen of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony. For the past two decades, he has worked to uplift his community as a grassroots organizer. Melendez is a formerly elected Tribal Legislator on the Tribal Council of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, a Sundance Chief and spiritual leader for his Tribe’s summer ceremonies and other ritual dances, and a former Federal Operations Officer for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He is also a published American Indian spirituality scholar and the host of the Coffee with an Indian podcast. Brian holds a master’s degree in justice management and a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Nevada, Reno. He previously served as a probation officer building culturally relevant prevention programs for Native families and youth in Reno. In his free time, Brian is composing a novel and is hoping to be completed with the task by the end of 2022.
Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors is composed of thinkers, creators, artists, and scholars. Our organization is led by open-minded and open-hearted Native community leaders who believe in the vision of the work.
Luiseño, Northern Paiute, & Western Shoshone
Northern / Southern Paiute
Frequently Asked Questions
Who gave you the authority to do what you're doing?
Do you work with Non-Natives?
We believe that all people have gifts and talents. We also think that some of these people will commit to beautiful causes beyond our efforts. Our staff has, combined, more than sixty years of experience in the work in this lifetime alone. We don't know everything about culture, language, or customs... no one does. But, like many others before, we learn from dancing, singing, praying, putting our blood in the dirt, and suffering for answers. We are Great Basin people. I suppose the dirt and the sun give us authority on our lands.
Yes. We work with anyone willing to be of service to the common good, the preservation and protection of nature, the uplifting of civil and human rights, the empowerment of historically marginalized peoples, and anyone who has care and consideration for Indigenous Nations. We work with people who possess open minds and open hearts. At Tribal Minds, our purpose is to be of service to Indigenous communities and we work with anyone dedicated to that same mission.
Why are you sharing our culture?
How is your version of spirituality different than others?
We come from reservations, from the cities, from the desert, from the mountains, from the woods; we are modern, we are unorthodox, we are young, and we're old enough to change the world. What we do is land-centric, grounded in community and culture. We dance in the sun and under the moon, with red paint on our bodies. We are a Great Basin grassroots organization. Some of us are Anishinaabe, Mohawk; some of us are Purépecha. Collectively, we are part of the Starvillage Family. We believe in each other and what we do.
In these uncertain times, our beliefs systems have the power to re-connect humans back to the earth. Many of our prophecies tell us that one day there will be hardships and a change in the way we've been living. We’re doing our best to empower and support our Tribal brothers and sisters who need to care for their Tribal communities. It doesn't matter how remarkable our ways of life are if we lay back when needed the most. We can share ourselves safely, tactfully, and discretely without losing anything. Our ways of life are beautiful and we honor those differences and similarities.