Suzanne Benally

Board Co-Chair; Trustee, Elected 2020
Boulder, Colorado

Suzanne Benally is Navajo and Santa Clara Tewa. She grew up in the community of Shiprock, New Mexico on the Navajo Nation.

Suzanne is the Executive Director of the Swift Foundation, a foundation dedicated to protecting biocultural diversity, regenerative land practices, local economies, and advocating for systemic changes to address the root causes of our ecological crisis.

Suzanne has worked in higher education and the non-profit sector for 35 years. She served as the Executive Director of Cultural Survival, an international Indigenous rights advocacy organization that works to support and advance Indigenous Peoples’ rights, self-determination, land, language, culture, and political resilience. Formerly, she served as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Naropa University, and was a core faculty member and previous chair of the environmental studies department. Her extensive experience spans positions devoted to social justice, diversity, and equity.

Suzanne currently chairs the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples. She is a cohort member of the Rothko Chapel’s Spirituality and Social Justice initiative to further contemporary understandings about spiritualty and social justice.

Deeply committed to social, environmental and climate justice, her work, passion, and interests center on relationships and interconnectedness between land, spirituality, culture, and people as reflected in narratives and stories past and present. In her work, she draws on her professional experience and cultural background advocating for transformative practices that address issues of racism, equity, justice, and Indigenous Peoples’ rights; and, most importantly, engaging work that draws hope now and for new generations to come. Suzanne lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Naropa Campuses Closed on Friday, March 15, 2024

Due to adverse weather conditions, all Naropa campuses will be closed Friday, March 15, 2024.  All classes that require a physical presence on campus will be canceled. All online and low-residency programs are to meet as scheduled.

Based on the current weather forecast, the Healing with the Ancestors Talk & Breeze of Simplicity program scheduled for Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday will be held as planned.

Staff that do not work remotely or are scheduled to work on campus, can work remotely. Staff that routinely work remotely are expected to continue to do so.

As a reminder, notifications will be sent by e-mail and the LiveSafe app.  

Regardless of Naropa University’s decision, if you ever believe the weather conditions are unsafe, please contact your supervisor and professors.  Naropa University trusts you to make thoughtful and wise decisions based on the conditions and situation in which you find yourself in.