About Us

Red Star International, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides programs and services aimed at building the capacity – the potential to understand and respond to health issues – of indigenous governments, organizations, programs and communities. Services include, but are not limited to, public health training, program development and evaluation, and community assessment and improvement planning.

our vision

Healthy and vibrant communities resulting from Indigenous peoples exercising their right to self-determination to the fullest extent.


To advance community wellness by strengthening public health infrastructure and performance of Indigenous governments, organizations and communities through purposeful planning, action and leadership.


  • Self-determination as defined by those we serve.
  • Partnership to achieve shared outcomes.
  • Integrity as evidenced by actions, process and product.
  • Transparency – open, honest and accountable.
  • Greatest good for all; putting others before ourselves.

Self-determination is the principle that Indigenous Peoples and Tribal Nations have the inherent right to freely assert their sovereignty and political status. A strong Tribal public health infrastructure supports self-determination by providing a solid foundation from which meaningful planning and action can advance community wellness.

Governing Board

President & CEO


Aleena M. Kawe is an enrolled member of the Texas Band of Yaqui Indians with cultural ties to Old Pascua Pueblo in Tucson, Arizona. Aleena has more than 20 years experience working with indigenous communities in the U.S., and more recently in the Pacific Islands and New Zealand. Much of her work has focused on strengthening partnerships to advance shared goals in the areas of public health capacity, tribally-driven and participatory research practices, community health assessment, and improvement planning. She is a strong advocate for indigenous self-determination and healthy communities.

Aleena has a Master’s degree in Public Health, Community Health Practice Concentration, from The University of Arizona, and a Bachelor’s degree in Education. Prior to Red Star, Aleena served as Education Director for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, where she led the development of a culturally based charter high school and tribal library. She served as the administrator for the American Indian Research Center for Health at the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, and worked in Native American student affairs at the University of Arizona and Pima Community College.

Aleena is married to Frank Te Mihinui Kawe (Ngāti Ranginui/Ngāti Kahungunu), who is active in the traditional voyaging practices of the Maori people of Aotearoa (New Zealand).


Christina E. Oré, MPH (Quechua) bio coming


Karen Francis Begay (Navajo) bio coming


John R. Lewis (Mojave/Pima/Tohono O’odham Nation) bio coming