NCAI Honors Distinguished Leaders at 22nd Annual Leadership Awards Banquet

Published on Jan 23, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. | On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) will award six distinguished leaders for Indian Country at NCAI’s 22nd Annual Leadership Awards Ceremony at its Executive Council Winter Session (ECWS). The awards are given annually to individuals or groups who serve as champions in their respective fields.
“NCAI looks forward to recognizing this year’s honorees and celebrating their dedicated efforts serving as advocates and allies of Indian Country,” said NCAI President Fawn Sharp. “The Leadership Awards Ceremony is one small way we can show our appreciation for those who have committed tremendous service to tribal communities.”
Every year NCAI recognizes leadership in five award categories, including: Public Sector, Native American, Government, Congressional, and Special Recognition. This year’s honorees are below:
Public Sector Leadership Award
Portugal. The Man, Grammy Award-Winning American Rock Band from Wasilla, Alaska 
Known for their mega-hit song, “Feel it Still,” Portugal. The Man has shown continued support for America’s Indigenous people beginning with dedicating their Grammy win to the Native youth in the villages of Shishmaref, Barrow and Bethel, Alaska and throughout their national tour by raising visibility and awareness to Native issues and Native people, including land acknowledgements, performances and speeches by local tribal artists, tribal leaders, and activists. 

Native American Leadership Award
Peggy Flanagan, Lieutenant Governor, State of Minnesota
Lt. Governor Flanagan is recognized for her distinguished and now historic career of service and raising awareness about tribal nations, issues, and policy priorities, and civic engagement – first as a state representative and now as the first Native woman to serve as a state’s lieutenant governor.

Congressional Leadership Award

Representative Derek Kilmer, United States Congressman from Washington 
Representative Kilmer was instrumental in pushing for the “Broken Promises” report, and has been a staunch proponent in Congress for pro-tribal sovereignty laws and policies.
Government Leadership Award
Nedra Darling, United States Department of the Interior
For many years, Darling played an instrumental role in informing and guiding the federal government’s administration of its trust responsibility to tribal nations across multiple presidential administrations, and has served as mentor to many young Native professionals. 
Special Recognition Awards
W. Ron Allen, Chairman, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe
Chairman W. Ron Allen has been a leader in Indian Country for decades. His leadership covers all areas of the country from being the Chairman of Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe for over 40 years to being elected to the NCAI Board as President, First Vice President, and Treasurer (most recent) and serving on a number of other boards and leadership positions to help address a variety of issues important to Indian Country such as the budget, fisheries, and government parity.
Senator Tom Udall, United States Senator from New Mexico
Senator Udall has been a tireless advocate for Indian Country, sponsoring or co-sponsoring many key pieces of pro-tribal legislation.
Interested in covering the event? Register here. This is a specific registration for press and is not a registration ticket for the dinner or associated activities. Contact NCAI Press with any questions at To purchase tickets for the Leadership Awards Banquet, please contact Keona Royal at 202-466-7767. 
About the National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit

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