Elizabeth Elliott, Executive Director, Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority in Northern California
Elizabeth Elliott is a 36-year-old nonbinary person hailing from the village of Oleta in Northern California. They were raised in an activist family with the belief that Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world. Their parents instilled in them the value to always fight for those whose voices aren’t being heard. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Science degree but works in Tribal Housing and Wellness, serving as the Executive Director at Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority in Northern California promoting ACEs prevention and education in Indigenous communities. Unfortunately, the government designed public and Tribal housing to make them fail through redlining and depleting funding sources. Elizabeth and their team at Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority work daily to change the fate of their programs by striving to end structural violence and to provide equity. They recognize that until all state and federally recognized tribes have safe, above standard, quality homes, and community centers, they can’t claim to be equitable. That is why Elizabeth designed a program to promote Hope, Healing, and Housing. Since March of 2020, Northern Circle has delivered over $100,000 worth of organic produce and stable shelf items to the front steps of their Tribal member’s homes. Elizabeth’s team was the second Tribal entity to launch ERAP a Department of Treasury program in February of 2021. To date, they have served 485 families spanning over two counties in Northern California. Northern Circle has now expanded to also serve the Pala Band of Mission Indians by administering their emergency rental assistance program. Elizabeth and their staff serve in a technical assistance capacity for sister Tribes throughout California and Nevada. They have also provided Cultural Humility training to many state and Federal partners. Elizabeth dedicates their time outside of work teaching traditional skills to awaken resiliency within the communities they serve. Elizabeth has designed and is implementing a model for teaching and promoting ACEs education and Emotional resiliency to Indigenous students and educators in the school district she resides in. Elizabeth strives for the reduction of Adverse Community Experiences and Adverse Childhood Experiences in the communities she serves. Elizabeth was kindly asked to provide the opening dialogue at the Housing California conference to speak Indigenous values on wealth. This year gave society a mere glimpse of what it is like to be under government control the way Tribal communities have been in California since 1851. They hope to offer up a different perspective to help conference participants to look at wealth through Indigenous eyes in a way that will help alleviate the impact of COVID-19.