Blair Gilbert, Executive Director/Chairman

Native Name: Saka Mahto  “Claw of the Bear”

Northern Cherokee/Ojibwa

Blair Gilbert is the founder, originator and executive producer of Flying With Eagles. Inc. Through his vision and determination, the program was developed and has been provided to hundreds of Native American youth, both in traditional reservation settings as well as non-Indian facilities.

Gilbert is a lifetime member of NCAI (National Congress of American Indians) and has served as vice president and a member of the Board of Directors for the United American Indians of the Delaware Valley in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a member of the Baltimore American Indian Center in Maryland.

He served on the executive committee of the Native American International Caucus and chaired the communications committee.  He was chairman of the Northeast Region of the Native American International Caucus and served on the executive committee and chaired the telecommunications committee for the Mayor’s Commission on Native American Affairs in the City of Philadelphia.

Gilbert has presented on numerous occasions before the Indian Prayer Breakfast at the U.S. Senate in Washington, DC, spoke for many groups on Native American spirituality and has been a guest on radio and television shows where the focus was on the Native American culture.

He was selected as subject matter expert (SME) and the lead technical consultant by Bureau of Indian Affairs to oversee the design and development of a 1,195 mile, $51.3 million fiber optic network connecting the seven Montana Indian Reservations

Bill Martin, Member, Board of Directors

Native Name: Cetan Duta “Red Hawk”

Cherokee/Creek

Bill Martin is a Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor, with 41 years of experience as a director, counselor, consultant and manager for drug, alcohol and human services programs.

Martin is a recovering alcoholic whose son committed suicide. While recovery groups, counseling and treatment were helpful to him, he says spiritual power has made the difference in his own recovery. He says that when he recovered ritual traditions of his People, particularly the sweat lodge and the sun dance, he recovered his sense of self and his relationship to the Creator.

He is a private counselor offering group and individual therapy for chemically dependent and/or co-dependent clients. He has administered and developed programs for substance abuse rehabilitation in public and private agencies, hospitals and treatment centers throughout Minnesota.

He has a passion for teaching Native American youth to help each other to escape the deadly temptations of alcohol and drug abuse. He has worked to develop the Flying With Eagles Inc., effort since 1994. He has helped to develop the program and has led workshops in all the Native American Youth Experiences.

Dr. Ben Bushyhead, Member, Board of Directors

Eastern Cherokee

Ben Bushyhead, PhD, has worked in myriad health and social service organizations. He has served as director of local and statewide non-profit organizations. He has been strongly involved in issues related to Native American concerns, including passage of Federal and state laws. He has keynoted national and local events, in addition to conducting workshops, on issues of justice, race relations, prejudices and concerns of the poor. He has developed and conducted programs for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He also worked with several state prison systems. In 1994 he was the recipient of the Federal Bureau of Prisons Religious Services Award and continues to serve as a consultant with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

He worked in the field of Alcoholism and Other Substances of Abuse as a counselor, trainer and administrator. He directed a National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Project, Morningstar, Inc. successfully demonstrating that traditional Native American religions, supplemented with sports and self-esteem components is an effective treatment modality for alcohol and drug abuse among the population. His service included detoxification and long-term residential treatment programs.