Kara Briggs Joins Ecotrust as VP of Tribal Lands & Waters Stewardship
Release Date: 02-01-2024

Newly-developed role to be catalyst for deepening natural resource-related work with tribes in Ore, Wash., and Calif., and Alaska Native Communities

Portland, Ore. – Feb. 1, 2024 – Ecotrust has hired Kara Briggs to be Vice President of Tribal Lands and Waters Stewardship. In this position, Kara will provide strategic leadership and vision to unify a body of work across Ecotrust programs that advance tribally led stewardship of forests, coastal lands, and fisheries. Kara will also oversee the administration of the Indigenous Leadership programs, which includes Ecotrust’s annual Indigenous Leaderships Awards.

Most recently, Kara, who is Sauk-Suiattle/Yakama, served as a vice president of tribal affairs for The Evergreen State College, and has a long background in government, communications, and tribal relations. She previously worked two decades including at The Oregonian and The Spokesman-Review as a staff writer and holds a Master of Public Administration from The Evergreen State College.

The creation of the position, and Kara’s hire, are the most recent milestones in Ecotrust’s decades-long commitment to working alongside Tribes and First Nations, starting with its foundational partnership with the Haisla First Nation in 1991.With the release of the 2021 Strategic Plan, Ecotrust set forth a refreshed vision that places tribal leadership and stewardship firmly at the center of our efforts around building climate resilience and strengthening lands and waters stewardship throughout the region.

Utilizing her knowledge of tribal protocols, law, policy, and existing relationships throughout Indian Country, Kara will lead a body of work that aims to meaningfully address and to reverse the dispossession of tribal communities from their homelands; to support tribal stewardship of their homelands and waters, including in the areas of forestry, fisheries, agroforestry, coastline and river management; and uplift Indigenous leaders from across the region who are building climate resilience, investing in cultural continuity, and strengthening sovereignty of their communities among other efforts. This work encompasses the geographic breadth of Ecotrust’s service area along the western United States, from Alaska to California. Currently, Ecotrust is stewarding more than $12 million in related grants and philanthropic investments.

“Ecotrust is poised to work with Tribes to impact the pressing matter of today, how changes in our climate and our oceans are impacting the lands and waters where we live, from Alaska to California,” Kara said. “In all this work we seek to support the Indigenous leadership of tribes and urban Native communities.”

Kara joins the organization as the second hire of an Indigenous woman at Ecotrust’s executive level in the last year, preceded by the hire of Ronda Rutledge, Cherokee Nation, as the organization’s Executive Director in September 2023.

“Our ambitious strategic plan directs us to make progress in advancing Indigenous lands and waters stewardship,” said Olivia Rebanal, Ecotrust’s Chief Impact Officer. “Kara’s arrival, bringing deep relationship with our regional tribes, and expertise in tribal policy, is a key moment for Ecotrust to catalyze this work.”

Kara will work primarily from her home on the Tulalip Tribes’ Reservation north of Seattle.


About Ecotrust

At Ecotrust, we work in partnership from California to Alaska toward the vision of a more just, prosperous, and climate-smart future. Across more than 30 projects and with hundreds of partners, our approach focuses on impact at the intersections of equity, the economy, and the environment. Together, we uplift Indigenous leadership to respond to contemporary lands and water management challenges, connect schools with local producers, provide technical support for community-centered businesses, and more. We welcome you to join us in the pursuit of radical, practical change. Learn more at ecotrust.org.