NCAI Announces 2012 Indian Country Leadership Awards & Tribal Exchange Winners

Published on Mar 06, 2012

Leadership Awards presented to Congressman Don Young, Larry Echo Hawk - Assistant Secretary Indian Affairs, American University WINS Program, and Dr. Eddie Brown. Team from Wingate High School in New Mexico honored for winning Stock Market Game/Tribal Exchange. 

Washington, D.C. – The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has announced the recipients of the organization’s prestigious Indian Country Leadership Awards. Congressman Don Young (R – AK) Chair of the House Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs, Larry Echo Hawk - Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, the American University’s Washington Internships for Native Students (WINS) program, and the accomplished Dr. Eddie F. Brown, Professor, Arizona State University will be honored at the organization’s Indian Country Leadership Award Banquet held during 2012 NCAI Executive Council Winter Session. The organization will also recognize the winners of the 2011-2012 Tribal Exchange Game from Wingate High School in New Mexico. 

The organization’s Indian Country Leadership Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations to Indian Country in four categories: Congressional Leadership Award, Native American Leadership Award, Governmental Leadership Award, and Public Sector Leadership Award.

NCAI, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization, will present the awards during a Tuesday evening award reception held in conjunction with its Executive Council Winter Session in Washington, D.C.

Congressional Leadership Award – Congressman Don Young

Representative Young has been a champion for Indian Country for 20 terms in the United States House of Representatives. Representative Young knows tribes are fully capable of self-determination and he supports sovereignty in his legislative efforts on tribal priorities from energy to healthcare. In the 112th Congress, Representative Young became the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs and his leadership has been critical to enabling tribes to fully pursue economic development.

Native American Leadership Award – Dr. Eddie F. Brown, Professor, Arizona State University

Dr. Brown’s career has spanned the highest levels of tribal, state, and federal administration and universities. He has developed key bipartisan policy, conducted research, and informed social work practice to benefit Native families, communities, and governments. His endeavors ensure tribal sovereignty and strengthen the sustainability of tribal nations. He has served as the Co-Chair of the NCAI Policy Research Center’s Advisory Board since it was founded in 2003 and he continues to be a powerful advocate for Indian Country.

Governmental Leadership Award - Larry Echo Hawk - Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs

As the longest serving Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in over a decade, Larry Echo Hawk’s commitment to restructuring federal relations with Native nations has resulted in considerable improvements in the nation-to-nation relationship. Highlights of Mr. Echo Hawk’s accomplishments include the historic $3.4 billion Cobell Settlement; $1 billion in water settlements; passage of the Tribal Law & Order Act and implementation of a pilot program that reduced crime on four reservations by a combined 35 percent; and, sweeping trust reform.

Public Sector Leadership Award – American University - Washington Internships for Native Students (WINS) Program

The Washington Internships for Native Students (WINS) program offers Native students an invaluable opportunity to develop professionally while living, studying, and interning in Washington, DC. WINS plays a critical role in building a pipeline of young Native leaders who are prepared to lead Indian Country in the new era of nation-to-nation relations. Since 1994, over 900 students representing over 80 tribes have participated in WINS, and WINS alumni now hold key positions in the federal government and myriad national Native organizations, including NCAI.

2011-2012 Tribal Exchange Winners
The Stock Market Game / Tribal Exchange program teaches valuable financial life skills and team building while facilitating inter-tribal connections for American Indian and Alaska Native students. This program builds essential reading and math skills while preparing our Native youth to be the financially responsible leaders of tomorrow.

The Exchange is a 10-week program open to teams of Native students in grades four through twelve. Each team is given $100,000 in game money to invest in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. The team that increases the value of the investment most by the end of the game period wins. 

The program addresses an important need in Indian Country despite today’s increasingly complex global economy, the FDIC has noted that 44.5 percent of Native people are unbanked or underbanked almost double the national rate. The Treasury Department reported that in 2001, 86 percent of tribal lands lacked a single financial institution, including a simple ATM. 

This 2011-12 competition winners are from Wingate High School in New Mexico. The team included Nigel Nakai, Kayla Platero, Alicia Billey, Frances Shorty and their Advisor Bruce Lewis.

The program is funded through a grant from the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), which allows students attending BIE schools to participate in the program for free. Over 1,500 students have participated since the program’s inception.

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