Board Members

Wilhelm Meya is the Chairman and Executive Director of The Language Conservancy. He is a national advocate for endangered languages and draws on more than 20 years of experience in higher education, linguistics, and nonprofit management. Under Mr. Meya’s leadership, the Conservancy has become the chief promoter of worldwide action for protecting languages and preserving cultures.

Ben Black Bear (Sičháŋǧu Lakȟóta) serves as the Lakota Translation and Language Specialist for the Lakota Language Consortium. His other credentials include positions as the former Vice President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the founder of the Lakota Studies Department at Sinte Gleska University, and the current director of Lakota Studies at St. Francis Mission.

Kevin Locke (Húŋkpapȟa Lakȟóta) is a Standing Rock Sioux tribal member. A visionary Hoop Dancer who also plays the indigenous Northern Plains flute, Mr. Locke is a traditional storyteller, recording artist and educator who serves as the board’s cultural ambassador.

Dr. Janine Pease (Crow) is an educator and advocate. She is the founding president of Little Big Horn College, past president of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, and former director of the American Indian College Fund. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education and the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities. She has also served as a trustee of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.

Jan Ullrich is Linguistic Director and Vice-Chairman of The Language Conservancy. He is one of the world’s leading applied linguists and the foremost authority on the Lakota language. Mr. Ullrich brings these skills and specializations in curriculum development and teacher-training to his leadership of TLC’s endangered language programming work.