Communications and Public Relations Director
Maria Givens is a member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe in northern Idaho and serves as the Communications and Public Relations Director for the Native American Agriculture Fund.
Prior to joining NAAF, she worked as a freelance writer reporting on tribal political issues and native food systems publishing pieces in Vox, the Daily Yonder and Civil Eats. She graduated from the University of Colorado in 2019 with a Masters of the Environment and specialized in Sustainable Food Systems. During graduate school, Maria taught Native high school students tribal sovereignty and leadership through the University of Colorado Upward Bound program.
Before she went to graduate school, Maria worked on agriculture policy in Washington, D.C. at the National Congress of American Indians. Maria was the staff lead for NCAI on the 2018 Native Farm Bill Coalition and handled the telecommunications and cultural protections portfolios for the national tribal organization. She also worked on the Change the Mascot campaign for NCAI.
From 2015-2016, Maria served in US Senator Jeff Merkley’s Washington, D.C. office as a legislative fellow. In Senator Merkley’s Office, Maria worked on legislative efforts to build tribal housing for Columbia River tribes to support the salmon fishing way of life for Northwest Tribes.
Maria has also worked as a policy analyst for the National Indian Health Board, as a field organizer for a congressional campaign in Tacoma, Washington and in the External Affairs office at AT&T. She received her bachelors from the University of Washington-Seattle where she double majored in Political Science and American Indian Studies.
In her free time, she enjoys cooking, playing basketball and picking huckleberries in the Idaho mountains with her family.