Campus & Community

Finalists for American Indian awards announced

3 min read

The first-ever American Indian tribally operated eagle sanctuary that helps meet a pueblo’s religious and ceremonial needs, an internationally recognized Native American lacrosse team whose members travel abroad using passports issued by their Indian nation, and a tribal wellness program that prevents and combats diabetes are among the 16 finalists in the University’s American Indian tribal governance awards program for the year 2002.

Administered by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at the Kennedy School of Government, “Honoring Contributions in the Governance of American Indian Nations” (Honoring Nations) identifies, celebrates, and shares information about exemplary tribal government programs among the more than 550 Indian nations in the United States. Honoring Nations is funded by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, and is a member of a growing international family of “governmental best practices” awards programs that spotlight innovative public sector initiatives to shift public perceptions about government and to encourage the replication of effective problem solving. This is Honoring Nations’ third year of awards. Since the program’s inception, 113 tribes have applied for an award and 32 tribal government programs and initiatives have been recognized.

“More than ever, it is critical to draw attention to success stories in tribal governance,” said Oren Lyons, chief of the Onondaga Indian Nation and chairman of the Honoring Nations advisory board. “In the face of a full frontal attack on Indian sovereignty in the courts, these exemplary programs provide compelling evidence that Indian nations can and do use their powers of self-government to make a positive difference for their own citizens and for all Americans.” In fact, Honoring Nations is grounded in the Harvard Project’s 15 years of research and fieldwork, which consistently finds that tribal success in economic, social, and cultural spheres depends, to a large extent, on tribes’ ability to function as self-governing political entities.

For Honoring Nations 2002, the 16 finalists were chosen out of a pool of 80 applications from 61 tribes and multi-tribe collaborations. At each stage of the selection process, applications are judged on the criteria of effectiveness, significance, transferability, creativity, and sustainability. On June 18, in Bismarck, N.D., the finalists will make presentations to the public and the Honoring Nations advisory board, which will then select eight programs to receive “high honors” and $10,000 to share their success story with others.

The 16 finalists for 2002:

Bringing Financial and Business Expertise to Tribes
Borrego Springs Bank, Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians (La Mesa, Calif.)

Cherokee Nation History Course
Human Resources Department, Cherokee Nation (Tahlequah, Okla.)

Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
Yakama, Umatilla, Nez Perce, and Warm Springs Tribes (Portland, Ore.)

The Coyote Valley Tribal EPA
Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians (Redwood Valley, Calif.)

Gila River Youth Council
Gila River Indian Community (Sacaton, Ariz.)

Government Reform, Dine’ Appropriate Government and Local Governance Projects
Office of Navajo Government Development, Navajo Nation (Window Rock, Ariz.)

The Healing Lodge
Colville, Spokane, Kalispel, Kootenai, Coeur d’Alene, Nez Perce, and Umatilla Tribes (Spokane, Wash.)

Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse
Haudenosaunee/Iroquois Confederacy (Nedrow, N.Y.)

“Nation Building” among the Chilkoot Tlingit
Chilkoot Indian Association (Haines, Alaska)

Safe, Clean Waters
Lummi Tribal Sewer and Water District, Lummi Indian Nation (Bellingham, Wash.)

Southwest Oregon Research Project (SWORP)
Coquille Indian Tribe (North Bend, Ore.)

Umatilla Basin Salmon Recovery Project
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (Pendleton, Ore.)

Whirling Thunder Wellness Program
Winnebago Tribal Health Department, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska (Winnebago, Neb.)

Ya Ne Dah Ah (Ancient Teachings) School
Education Department, Chickaloon Village Tribal Council (Chickaloon, Alaska)

Yakama Nation Land Enterprise
Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation (Toppenish, Wash.)

Zuni Eagle Sanctuary
Zuni Fish and Wildlife Department, Pueblo of Zuni (Zuni, N.M.)