In recognition of innovation and excellence in American Indian tribal governance, the “Honoring Nations” awards program recently selected 14 finalists. The finalists will make public presentations to the Honoring Nations advisory board on Nov. 1 in Tulsa, Okla. The advisory board then selects up to seven programs to receive “high honors” and $10,000 to share their success stories with others. They also designate up to seven “honors” programs that will receive $2,000.
This year’s finalist programs include a tribal language program that builds fluency through language immersion classrooms, university degree programs, and community language activities; an advisory, advocacy, and monitoring group composed of 60 Alaskan tribes and Canadian First Nations; and a tribal farm and agricultural center.
“In 2005, Indian nations are now, more than ever, taking charge of their own destinies and making remarkable progress on their reservations and tribal lands across many different areas of governance,” said Honoring Nations Director Amy Besaw. “Through its awards program, Honoring Nations recognizes innovative programs and initiatives operating throughout Indian Country and provides a unique opportunity for our tribes to learn about and replicate these outstanding tribal governance success stories in their own communities.” Administered by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at the Kennedy School of Government (KSG), “Honoring Contributions in the Governance of American Indian Nations” (Honoring Nations) identifies and celebrates outstanding examples of tribal governance among the more than 560 Indian nations in the United States.
Currently in its fifth year of awards, Honoring Nations is a member of a worldwide family of “governmental best practices” awards programs that share a commitment to the core idea that government can be improved through the identification and dissemination of examples of effective solutions. Since its inception in 1998, 64 tribal government programs and initiatives have been recognized. The Ford Foundation sponsors Honoring Nations.
This year’s 14 finalists were chosen from applicants representing 41 Indian nations and seven intertribal collaborations. Applications were judged on effectiveness, significance, transferability, creativity, and sustainability. The 2005 finalist presentations will take place Nov. 1 at the Tulsa Convention Center Assembly Hall. Honorees will be announced and awarded at a ceremony and reception. The public is invited to attend.
The 2005 Honoring Nations finalists
Akwesasne Freedom School, Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, Rooseveltown, N.Y.; Cherokee Language Revitalization Project, Cherokee Nation Language Department, Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah, Okla.; Choctaw Tribal Court System, Choctaw Tribal Court, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Choctaw, Miss.; Flandreau Police Department, Flandreau Santee Sioux Executive Council, Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, Flandreau, S.D.; The Hopi Land Team, office of the chairman, Hopi Tribe, Kykotsmovi, Ariz. Miccosukee Tribe Section 404 Permitting Program, Real Estate Services, Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, Miami; Migizi Business Camp, education department, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Manistee, Mich.; Navajo Nation Sales Tax, Office of Navajo Tax Commission, Navajo Nation, Window Rock, Ariz.; ONABEN’s Innovative Models for Enterprise Development, a Native American business network, confederated tribes of Grand Ronde, Warm Springs, Siletz, Umatilla, Cowlitz and Colville, and Tigard, Ore.; Oneida Nation Farms, cultural heritage, Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, Seymour, Wis.; Professional Empowerment Program, DNGE/Employee Services Program, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Sisseton, S.D.; Siyeh Corporation, Blackfeet Nation, Browning, Mont.; Tribal Monitors Program, Tribal Historic Preservation Office, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Fort Yates, N.D.; and Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council, Koyukon and Gwich’in Athabaskan, Yupik, and Tlingit, Fairbanks, Alaska.