INDIGENOUS HEALTH AND WELLNESS CONNECTIONS
IHAWC is a Native American-led organization that serves Indigenous individuals and families by inspiring a balanced lifestyle. IHAWC provides community events, educational opportunities, and access to resources that promote and build strong communities through finding balance and harmony in our physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental capacities.
Shelby Chapoose-Ute Indian Tribe (Uncompahgre Band) passionately works to perpetuate Tribal severity and strengthen the communities she serves. For 12+ years she has assisted with and overseen multiple Tribal, State, Federal, and education programs on Tribal Language Preservation, Tribal Land & Water Rights, Tribal Education, and Tribal Health & Wellness endeavors. Her work expands various communities including both urban and rural areas of Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, South Dakota and most importantly her own community; The Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah & Ouray Reservation. Through grass root approaches, she is able to find sustainable solutions that best fit the needs of her communities. Shelby believes that everyone deserves access to healthcare, and the opportunity to contribute to the world around them.
Running Into Culture Program Director
Boozhoo! Shayla R. Manitowabi-Huebner is a proud citizen of Wiikwemkoong First Nation in Ontario, Canada. With a current base in the Greater Salt Lake Area, Shayla is dedicated to empowering Indigenous communities. Guided by an adopted and urban Native perspective, Shayla aims to embody the spirit of mino-bimaadiziwin (the good life), actively reclaiming what it means to be an Indigenous woman. Her goal is to deepen her involvement within her tribal community.
A holder of B.S. and M.S. degrees in Exercise Science from Northern Michigan University and The University of Texas at Arlington, Shayla has established a robust academic foundation. She is also actively pursuing a Public Health Training Certificate for American Indian Health Professionals at Johns Hopkins University.
Shayla leads "Running Into Culture” at Indigenous Health and Wellness Connections, a running program tailored to culturally enrich Native youth experiences. When not pursuing professional endeavors, Shayla enjoys engaging in strength training, learning Anishinaabemowin, exploring traditional foods, travel, dancing at powwows, and running competitively.
Founder & Interim Board Chair
Chase Hobson was raised in the Greater Salt Lake Area. He is Yurok, Hoopa, Modoc and Klamath and a citizen of Elk Valley Rancheria (EVR) in Northern California. Chase holds a BA in Integrated Studies of American Indian Studies and Peace and Justice Studies, and a minor in French from Utah Valley University. His academic career also consisted of internships with EVR, American Indigenous Business Leaders, Indian Gaming Association, classes at Johns Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health and certificates in Tribal Leadership & Governance from California Tribal College. Currently, he is a juris doctor candidate for the class of 2026 at the University of New Mexico School of Law.
Chase is an involved Tribal member and cares deeply about issues facing his community, culture, and Indigenous people all over Turtle Island. He saw an opportunity to be of service when he became a principal founder of IHAWC, where he continues to support the mission and vision through his service on the board.
He grew up in Hawaii and Georgia. He graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a Bachelor’s of Science in exercise physiology with an emphasis in program design. He then attended a Doctorate of Chiropractic program at the University of Western States in Portland. He worked in two chiropractic facilities in Portland as part of his training.
Meredith Little grew up in Page and Prescott, Arizona. She is a proud member of the Diné (Navajo) tribe. Meredith has 3 children and has resided in Provo for over 15 years. She has a bachelor’s degree from BYU in English and two minors in History and American Indian Studies. Meredith currently is the full time Trade Scholarship Director and Grant Writer for American Indian Services; a national nonprofit organization that provides college scholarships for American Indian and Alaksa Native students. Meredith also serves as the Director for American Indian/Alaska Native Education for Provo City School District. As the American Indian Education Director, she is in charge of overseeing the education and cultural preservation of over 200 American Indian/Alaska Native students in the Provo area (grades Kindergarten through 12th). Meredith and her family are happy to reside in the state of Utah and she loves working with Utah communities because it allows her to serve and highlight the voices of the Indigenous community.
Hunter Warren is a member of the Navajo (Diné) Tribe. He is Tábąąhá (Water’s Edge Clan) born for Bit’ahnii (Within His Cover Clan). His maternal grandfather is Táchii’nii (Red Running into the Water People Clan). His paternal grandfather is Kin łichii’nii (The Red House People clan). He is originally from Red Mesa, Utah, located on the Northern part of the great Navajo Reservation, but currently resides in Blanding, UT. He graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree from Utah State University Blanding with a minor in Native American Studies and Sociology in 2021. He then went on to receive a Masters of Social Work degree again from Utah State University Blanding in 2023. Hunter is very passionate about the work he does and the people that he interacts with. While attending college, he served in the student association for 4 years, 2 years as the Native American Representative and the other 2 years as the Blanding Vice President. He then went on working as a Sexual Violence Prevention Intern for Utah State University Blanding for a year, the USU Blanding Tribal Liasion for a year, the American Indian Services Blanding PREP Site Coordinator for 3 years, and as a Gentle Ironhawk Shelter Resident Advocate with Utah Navajo Health Systems for a couple months. Hunter's earliest work within his community was with his local chapter government of Red Mesa for a summer youth employment program. Taking on these opportunities has led him to now become a School Based Mental Health Therapist with Utah Navajo Health Systems working with students in the San Juan School District in Southeastern Utah
Lorna Joseph-Loy is an enrolled member of the Paiute Shoshone-Mono tribes of Lone Pine, California. She graduated from Prescott College with a Bachelor’s in education with duo certification in elementary and special education. She has a Master’s in educational leadership with administrator certification. She has worked in education for 29 years. Most of her career has been working with Native American students on the Navajo reservation. She is passionate about teaching and learning, especially with the Indigenous population. Her areas of expertise in education are early childhood development, literacy, English language learning, Indigenous issues in education, curriculum, instruction and assessment, coaching and mentoring teachers, and educational leadership. Lorna currently has multiple careers. She’s partners in a land development and construction firm and she is co owner in an education consulting company. Operating professionally in two diversifying fields has helped her gain critical skills and experience as a business owner, advisor, and consultant. Lorna is passionate about IHAWC’s mission and vision, Lorna brings to IHAWC expertise in strategic planning, business development, her knowledge of tribal communities, and program management.
Cassandra Manning is a member of the Ute Indian Tribe. She was born and raised on the Uintah & Ouray Indian reservation in Fort Duchesne Utah. She attended Salt Lake Community College and graduated with an Associate of Applied Science degree. She has 3 daughters, 10 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren. Cassandra has been the Program Director of the Ute Indian Tribe Painted Horse Diabetes Prevention Program (PHDPP) for thirteen years, the Site Coordinator for the Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country (GHWIC) for five years, and a community partner with Utah State University (USU) Tribal and Rural Opioid Initiative. Other accomplishments include the Epsilon Sigma Phi IOTA Chapter 2013 Diversity/Multicultural Team Award, the Utah Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Diversity Team Award, and the Family Health and Wellness Tribal and Rural Opioid Initiative Award. Throughout the years, Cassandra has expanded her partnerships to include Tribal departments, federal agencies, State departments, and local organizations. She is actively involved in promoting wellness in her Tribal community and gets great satisfaction in the work that her program does in promoting healthy lifestyles.
Ashanti Moritz is the Behavioral Health Operation Coordinator at Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake. She was the business development and outreach director for Warrior Spirit Recovery, a drug and alcohol addiction recovery treatment center in Tooele, Utah, which has been a vital partner in USU Extension's efforts statewide to build a community approach to addressing the opioid crisis. As a diversity issue, people who use drugs are a marginalized population, and people with this disorder are routinely stigmatized and discriminated against. Many experience housing insecurity, encounters with law enforcement, and problems in their social lives, all of which compound the social exclusion that they experience.
As an indigenous woman who is in long-term recovery herself, Moritz uses her life experiences to bring people in her community together to build a recovery-ready environment. She is a vital member of the Tooele Rural Opioid Healthcare Consortium, the Tooele Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome working group, and the Tribal and Rural Opioid Initiative and has been a courageous community partner and advocate for people with substance use disorders. Ashanti always shows up to community events to help with advice,
financial support, volunteers, and promotion. She recognizes the importance of supporting community events, even those outside of the recovery community, because they create the community cohesion that is so necessary.
She has served as a cultural guide to USU partners to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a non-USU Extension employee, she has gone above and beyond to build inclusivity and diversity outreach in our opioid harm reduction. Her leadership has been a driving force for our efforts to reduce overdose death not just in Tooele, but in statewide tribal and rural efforts.
Celessta Merrill is a proud member of the Navajo tribe. Her clans are Tł’izídaałchií born for Tó’aheedlíinii. She was born and raised on the Navajo reservation in Hogback, NM. She completed her ADN from Utah State University, then received her BSN from Dixie State University. She worked as a registered nurse for more than 6 years before going back to school to complete her Masters degree in nursing. She graduated from Westminster College in 2019 with her Masters degree in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. After Graduate school she worked as a TelePrimary Care Nurse Practitioner at the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center for 3 years serving the Veteran population in Oklahoma, Montana, Colorado, Nevada and Idaho. She left the VA in 2022 to serve her Native community. She currently works for IHS in New Mexico at the Gallup Indian Medical Center as a Family Nurse Practitioner. Celessta is very passionate about disease prevention and promoting spiritual, mental and physical health and wellness in all her patients.