Maia grew up in Philadelphia, where the impacts of pollution and environmental degradation were directly tangible. From a young age, Maia cherished moments in the outdoors and developed a special appreciation for conserving the beauty of precious ecosystems. Her love for the outdoors inspired a move to Colorado, where she graduated from Colorado College with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. Her undergraduate thesis focused on cross-cultural communication as a civic skill for cross-cultural alliances in Indigenous rights movements. Her advocacy for indigenous and human rights, cultural preservation, environmental stewardship, and community engagement has culminated in various organizing, academic, and community involvements.
While working in Washington D.C, at the Office of Native Affairs for the ACHP, Maia developed and proposed a Native youth program in sacred landscape preservation as a part of UNDRIP and Generation Indigenous initiatives. Last year, Maia was one of the organizers for Uplift, a SHiFT youth-award winning conference and movement to empower youth leadership in climate action on the Colorado Plateau. Maia founded and currently organizes a film series in Vancouver called ‘350 Films for Justice,’ she is also an Assistant Director for Community Eats, a food waste, and local community lunch initiative. Maia is working on her Master’s degree in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC with a focus on land-based trauma and community healing from forced displacements due to mega resource development projects, climate change, and environmental degradation. Maia is humbled and honored to bring together the power of youth, storytelling, and advocacy for human and environmental rights at COP23 with the SustainUS delegation.