Events & Announcements


    Honoring Nations 2016 Award

The Harvard Project Awards Six Native Nations the 2016 Honoring Nations Award

Phoenix, AZ – Honoring Nations, a national awards program, awarded six exemplary tribal programs for outstanding excellence in governance at the National Congress for American Indians’ (NCAI) 73rd Convention in Phoenix, AZ. As the flagship program of The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development (Harvard Project), Honoring Nations began in 1998 to recognize and celebrate American Indian governments who were successfully addressing the most pressing issues across Indian Country.
Honoring Nations Board of Governors presented the awards to the winners at NCAI on October 12th in front of an audience of more than 500 Native community members and tribal leaders. During the awards ceremony, each of the finalists offered a short presentation describing the ways in which they were solving the challenges of water sanitation, historical trauma, illegal drug and gang activities, child care for mildly ill children, citizenship criteria, as well as the creation of a living ethnogeographic atlas.
Three “High Honors” and three “Honors” recipients were selected from a pool of 87 applications representing over 65 tribal nations. These  awardees are positively impacting their communities and have shown immense effectiveness, cultural relevance, transferability, sustainability, and significance to sovereignty – the standards by which Honoring Nations Board of Governors assess applicant programs. Megan Minoka Hill (Oneida Nation WI), the Honoring Nations Director, explains, “The goal of Honoring Nations is to provide examples of government success that can be used as lessons for Indian Country and beyond. This year’s awardees are not only providing examples of success, but they are reshaping the way we think and approach governance issues.”
The six programs will join a family of 124 past awardees, and share their stories of lessons learned, challenges met, and victories achieved. The 2016 awardees will receive a monetary award and will be the focus of the Harvard Project’s upcoming reports, educational materials, and world class exhibits. In addition, this year’s winners will be featured on the Harvard Project’s 
Honoring Nations Google Map, which will include a tribal profile from Tiller’s Guide to Indian Country.

This year’s award winning programs include:  

  • Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative – Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (High Honors)

The Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative assists and empowers 27 Native villages to provide safe, cost-effective drinking water and sewer services to nearly 10,000 community members.  Working with each village to operate and maintain their systems, the Collaborative hires and trains local residents as full-time water and sanitation system operators.

  • Calricaraq: Indigenous Yup’ik Wellbeing – Yukon Kuskokwim Delta Tribal Communities (Honors)

Calricaraq: Indigenous Yup’ik Wellbeing is an elder-driven traditional Yup’ik healing program that honors ancestral wisdom to address historical trauma. Centered around Calricaraq values and cultural approaches, the program utilizes community gatherings, talking circles, and workshops to help community members reconstruct their Yup’ik identities, heal, and find balance.

  • Čáw Pawá Láakni – They Are Not Forgotten – Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (High Honors)

They Are Not Forgotten is a living atlas of the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla nations that contains 643 data entries of places, waterways, areas, trails, and bodies of water as well as over 70 maps and illustrations. The atlas is actively utilized to protect treaty rights, assist in the management of natural resources, and transmit traditional cultural, linguistic, and ecological knowledge.

  • Chickasaw Nation Sick Child Care Program – Chickasaw Nation (Honors)

The Chickasaw Nation Sick Child Care Program provides nurturing care for mildly-ill children of Chickasaw employees, citizens, and community members. Addressing a critical dilemma, the Program offers working parents the assurance that their children are well cared for and safe while staying in good standing with their employers.

  • Native American Drug and Gang Initiative Task Force – Intertribal Nations of Wisconsin (Honors)

The Native American Drug and Gang Initiative Task Force is a dedicated law enforcement unit that addresses illegal drug and gang activities on tribal reservations in Wisconsin. A multi-pronged effort, the Task Force is grounded in community and tribal government cooperation to address threats through education, coordination, and law enforcement agency operations.

  • Project Tiwahu – Redefining Tigua Citizenship – Ysleta del Sur Pueblo (High Honors)

Project Tiwahu was a pueblo-wide initiative designed to reform and self-determine citizenship requirements through intergenerational focus groups, executive education for Tribal Council, and comprehensive community outreach and feedback. An exercise of tribal sovereignty, Project Tiwahu removed federally mandated enrollment requirements that would have resulted in tribal self-termination. Based at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Honoring Nations is administered by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development. The Harvard Project’s goal is to understand the conditions under which self-determined social and economic development is achieved among American Indian nations.
For more information about Honoring Nations, visit the Harvard Project’s web site at or call 617-495-1480.