Staff Directory



DIW Leadership


Louise Matson (White Earth Band of Ojibwe),

Executive Director

Louise graduated from St. Olaf College with a BA and later received a teaching license from Concordia College for Grades 1-6. She worked for the first Boys & Girls Club located in a school for 5 years before being hired at the Division of Indian Work in 2002. She directed the Youth Leadership Development Program before being hired as the Executive Director in November 2014. 

Louise was a founding Board member and is the current Board chair of Bdote Learning Center, a Dakota and Ojibwe Immersion School located in South Minneapolis. She served as a mentor for Big Brother Big Sister for over ten years. She is a member of Philips Indian Educators and Steering Committee member for the Memorandum of Agreement between the Metropolitan Urban India Directors group and the Minneapolis Public Schools.

Phone: 612-279-6370


Shanah Regguinti (Leech Lake and Oneida Wisconsin),

Director of Programs

Before taking over his current position, Shanah came to DIW in September of 2010 to work in the YLDP department leading up the Live It! program for 2 years. 

"My passion is to help the American Indian community in any way I can. I try to do something each day that will make tomorrow a little easier for my community."

Phone: 612-279-6353


Ardie Medina (Lac du Flambeau Anishinaabe),    

Development Officer

Ardie came to DIW in November of 2013. She has over 23 years of experience in grant writing and fundraising, working with such organizations as Tubman, Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis, and the Loft Literary Center prior to coming to DIW. 

Phone: 612-279-6325


 JOhn Pepper   

Chief Financial Officer

John has extensive experience in finance/accounting, information technology, human resources, and administrative and strategic operations. He has 30+ years experience as a non-profit financial and administrative director in the Twin Cities and Washington D.C and has built multiple non-profit companies from the ground up, to financially stable multi-million dollar companies. 

Phone: 612-276-1559

DIW Staff


Aaron Johnson (Leech Lake Anishinaabe), Tobacco Cessation Coordinator, HTHP Youth Worker

Aaron has worked in a variety of programs at DIW including: YLDP, be@school, Agindaasodaa! and Healing Spirit. As the current DIW Tobacco Cessation Coordinator, Aaron works with community organizations to reduce commercial tobacco use and instill traditional tobacco values within the Twin Cities Native population.

Phone: 612-279-6352


Adam Kiel (Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin),YLDP Youth Worker and Reading Coach

Adam's focus is to inspire youth to achieve academic success via culturally-based reading activities and writing exercises.

An avid bicyclist, he can often be seen rolling along the Twin Cities trails.

Phone: 612-279-6322


Al Hardy (White Earth Band of Ojibwe), Maintenance

Al has worked at DIW for almost 12 years. Previously, he worked for Pillsbury and ADM, retiring after 24 years of service. 

In his free time, Al is an avid golfer and works as a ranger at Meadowbrook Golf Course. 

Phone: 612-279-6329


Amy Nelson(Bois Forte Band), Domestic Abuse Service Center Advocate, Strengthening Family Circles

Amy started working for DIW in April 2018. Before starting here, she spent the last 7 years working for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community in Prior Lake, MN.

She has worked at the Lake Region Law Enforcement Center in Devils Lake, ND as a correction officer, working with incarcerated Native American youth and adults. She has also done volunteer work for the Spirit Lake Head Start Program as Vice President of the Parent Committee.

She is an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band, and a lineal descendant of Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, and Fort Peck Sioux. 

Phone: 612-279-6370


Ashley Zukowski, Administrative Assistant

Ashley started working for DIW in May of 2018. She is a recent college graduate who studied Social Change through Art and spent 4 months interning at Two Rivers Gallery prior to this. 


Phone: 612-279-6355


Cassie Buffalohead(Ponca Tribe, Oklahoma), SFC Home Visitor

Cassie came to DIW in October of 2015. She attended Augsburg University and received a degree in social work.

She has experience working at social service agencies such as PRISM and The Bridge for Youth prior to coming to DIW. 

Phone: 612-279-6376


David Nelson, Development Associate

David started with DIW in April 2018. He comes to DIW with previous volunteer and fundraising experience, having worked with the Greater Twin Cities United Way, Feline Rescue Inc., and served on the Board of Directors for the Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) and KFAI-FM, Fresh Air Radio. 

Phone: 612-279-6321


Denise Bevins (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe), Food Shelf Manager and DIW Receptionist

Denise started working as a receptionist and was hired in June as the Food Shelf Manager. She loves working with Elders and the community, and is welcoming to everyone who enters DIW. 

Phone: 612-279-6343


Emily Gobernatz, SFC Counselor and Educator

Emily started at DIW in May of 2018. She has a BA in Criminal Justice from Minnesota State University Moorhead as well as an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. 

Before coming to DIW, she worked as a Case manager for youth experiencing homelessness and sexual exploitation. She also worked as a Counselor at a women's shelter providing individual and group conseling to women and their children. 

When Emily is not working, she enjoys being with friends and family (and her very cute dog).

Phone: 612-279-6374


Linda Sanders, Administrative Assistant

Phone: 612-279-6312


Madelynn (Madge ) Ducheneaux (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, South Dakota), YLDP Youth Worker and reading coach

Madge is currently the Dakota language instructor at Nawayee Center School, having formerly been the Dakota language instructor here at DIW. Madge had worked with DIW in the past and returned in September of 2016. 

Phone: 612-279-6371


Marie Armstrong (Tlingit and Tsimshian from Northwest Coast), PSOP Home Visitor, Anpa Waste House Manager

Marie came to DIW in the fall of 2017. Marie has her Bachelor's degree in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota. Her background includes working with children as a teacher's assistant at the American Indian Magnet School and teaching in YMCA's School Success summer school program.

Phone: 612-279-6362


Marisa Carr (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe), Live It! Coordinator

Marisa coordinates Live It!, a culturally-specific teen pregnancy prevention and sexuality education curriculum program for Native youth and families, at the Division of Indian Work. Before working with Live It! she coordinated the Agindaasodaa reading intervention program and ATODP/Culture & Prevention programs, also at Division of Indian Work, and taught for an Ojibwe language immersion pre-school program.

She attended the University of Minnesota, where she completed a B.A. in American Indian Studies with an Ojibwe language focus. In addition to her work with Live It!, she works locally and nationally as a playwright and actor. 

Phone: 612-279-1502


Marissa Lussier (Mdewakatan Dakota, Prairie Island Indian Community), Be@School Attendance Liaison

Marissa is a recent graduate from Augsburg College entering her first job here at DIW. Prior to taking this position, Marissa enjoyed her time off traveling and volunteering in her community which is also what she enjoys in her free time. She has extensive experience working with children, students and older adults which she has gained from working with SPPs Indian Education Program, and AIFACs.

Phone: 612-236-3910


Melissa Grimmer, SFC Counselor

Phone: 612-279-6314


Mike Loud, Healing Spirit Case Manager

Phone: 612-279-6333


Nichelle Wynde, YLDP Youth Worker

Phone: 612-249-6371


Patty Thunder Hawk (Ho Chunk and Dakota), ATODP CULTURAL Coordinator

Patty came to DIW in May 2011. She has worked with youth for 21 years.

Phone: 612-279-6360


rica Rivera (Seneca Nation of Indians), Volunteer coordinator, YLDP Youth Worker

Started at DIW in May, 2014 with the Youth Leadership Development Program and is involved with the CDF American Indian Freedom Schools. 

Phone: 612-279-6323


Sandra Rivera (Seneca Nation), Elder Service Coordinator

In May 2017 Sandra joined DIW to serve Native American Elders aged 60+ in the Twin Cities metro area. Sandra has over 20 years of experience working within the community and looks forward to connecting elders with resources, social activities and community events. 

Elders bring her a lot of joy through the sharing of good stories and laughter. 

Phone: 612-279-6379


Stephanie Koslowski (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of SD), SFC Counselor/Educator

Stephanie originally came to DIW in March of 1994 and worked as a Counselor/Educator in the Family Violence program until May of 2003. In May of 2008 she then worked as a Home Visitor at the Numpa House until January of 2011. Since leaving DIW in 2011 Stephanie completed social work graduate school at the University of St. Thomas and graduated in 2012 with a Masters degree in clinical social work. Stephanie is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker and very happy to be back at DIW in her favorite position as Counselor/Educator in the Family Violence Prevention Program. 

Phone: 612-279-6319


Susan Quist, HTHP Youth Worker

Susan came to DIW in the Spring of 2013 and worked until the summer of 2017 with the SMART Nations program at Anishinabe Academy, at which time she transferred to work with our HTHP program. Susan has worked for many years with youth in educational and experiential settings, including New Directions, Wilderness Canoe Base, PCYC Alternative School, and Four Directions Charter School. She is a graduate of North High School in Minneapolis, the University of Minneapolis Twin Cities Campus (B.S) and Mankato State University (M.S)

Phone: 612-279-6305


Takayla Lightfield (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Mnicoujou Lakota), Health Educator Family Spirit Home Visiting Program

Takayla was born and raised in South Dakota. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota Morris, majoring in American Indian Studies, Human Services, and Psychology. After college, she lived in South Korea and taught English as a Foreign Language to elementary students. She has been serving the American Indian communities back home on her reservation and here in the Twin Cities for the last six years. Takayla is also a trained labor and delivery doula and Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor. She lives in Richfield with her husband, daughter and family dog, and enjoys traveling, gardening and beading.

Phone: 612-276-1570