Honoring Nations Awardee Profiles

2018
2018. Quapaw Nation Agricultural Programs. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Like many Native nations, the Quapaw Nation relies on gaming income to fund government operations and to create employment opportunities for tribal citizens. But tribal leaders are also committed to diversifying the economy and limiting dependence on casino revenues. Drawing on its people’s farming heritage, the Nation has built an array of businesses that reduce reliance on external food sources and provide tribal citizens and their neighbors with healthy, locally raised food—a win for Quapaw economic development and for Indigenous food sovereignty.

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2018. Environmental Program Report | Native Village of Kotzebue. View Report (PDF)Abstract

A field of long grass with a fishing structure in the center of the imageThe Native Village of Kotzebue is the tribal government for the Iñupiaq people of Kotzebue, Alaska. Located on the coast in northwest Alaska, 30 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Kotzebue often hosts research teams eager to study the region’s ecology. For years, researchers lacked accountability to the local people; they did not consider them as equal partners in research and rarely credited the Indigenous knowledge shared. In the late 1990s, the Village government launched its Environmental Program to advance science-based research, driven by tribal priorities and rooted in long-held Iñupiaq values. Through this approach, the tribe is now a full research partner in the majority of projects concerning its land and waters, benefiting its citizens, and producing Best Available Science through the integration of Indigenous knowledge with western science.

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2018. Health Aide Training Programs | Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Six individuals dressed in medical garb conducting a health trainingThe opportunity to see a medical professional when needed is something that many people living in the United States take for granted. For those living in rural Alaska however, visiting a medical professional is rarely easy. Communities are isolated, medial needs are significant, and patients' cultural and linguistic backgrounds can affect diagnoses and treatments. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium has taken on these challenges by educating village residents to serve as the primary medical providers within the state's tribal health care system.

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2018. Myaamiaki Eemamwiciki Program | Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

Three baskets that have spoons, forks, and knives. Myaamiaki language cards in front of each basket.The United States has a shameful history of displacing its original inhabitants from their homelands and attempting to wipe out their cultures. Such actions had a devastating effect on the Miami people, who, by the 1990s, became scattered across the country, resulting in an ongoing struggle to maintain their cultural identity. In response, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma created the Myaamiaki Eemamwiciki (the Miami Awakening) program. Rooted in strengthening their kinship ties to one another within a strategic educational framework, Myaamiaki Eemamwiciki helps citizens reconnect to their Indigenous knowledge and value system. And, as tribal citizens reconnect with the knowledge of their ancestors, they are creating a new understanding of what it means to be Myaamia.

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2018. Quapaw Nation Agricultural Programs | Quapaw Nation. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

The inside of a greenhouseLike many Native nations, the Quapaw Nation relies on gaming income to fund government operations and to create employment opportunities for tribal citizens. But tribal leaders are also committed to diversifying the economy and limiting dependence on casino revenues. Drawing on its people’s farming heritage, the Nation has built an array of businesses that reduce reliance on external food sources and provide tribal citizens and their neighbors with healthy, locally raised food—a win for Quapaw economic development and for Indigenous food sovereignty.

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2018. Sitka ICWA Partnership | Sitka Tribe of Alaska. View Full Report (PDF)Abstract

Two people standing on a boatThe safety and well-being of children is vital to a Native nation’s future. For years, tribal and state agencies in Alaska have taken different approaches to the needs of vulnerable families, leading to large numbers of children being adopted outside their home communities. With the goal of securing better outcomes for tribal families, the Sitka Tribe reached out to its state child protection counterparts to build more collaborative relationships to benefit tribal families. The Sitka ICWA Partnership is breaking new ground through brave communication, joint case management, and cooperative staff training.

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2018. Wellness Programming | Yurok Tribe. See Full Report (PDF)Abstract

Employee standing by a desk at the Wellness ProgrammingAcross the US, alcohol and opioid abuse have seriously disrupted countless lives. The Yurok reservation and its surrounding area are no exception—intergenerational poverty, high incarceration rates, and failed treatment attempts combine to create a cycle of violence and despair. In response, the Yurok Tribe is purposefully using its tribal justice system to improve outcomes for offenders with substance abuse problems. By infusing traditional Yurok values into the tribal court’s structure and proceedings, the Tribe’s Wellness Programming is building better futures for all community members.

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Google Arts & Culture Profile

2016
2016. Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative | Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Two people standing in front of plumbing infrastructureIndoor plumbing is a basic amenity that most Americans take for granted. In parts of rural Alaska, however, providing water and sewer service is not an easy task. The harsh climate requires special adaptations, costs are high, and many small communities lack the expertise needed to manage complex systems. To address these challenges, the Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative facilitates cooperation among Alaska Native villages to assist them with the operations of their own water and sewer systems as effectively and inexpensively as possible.

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2016. Calricaraq: Indigenous Yup'ik Wellbeing | Yukon Kuskokwim Delta Tribal Communities. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Four elderly people sitting in a row at a table for a group meetingColonization dramatically altered the lives of Alaska Native peoples, and the intergenerational pain – the historical trauma – caused by these changes deeply affects Alaska Native communities today. Among the Yup’ik of the Yukon Kuskokwim delta region, for example, rates of mental and behavioral health problems are extremely high. Calricaraq, a program hosted by the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, seeks to improve individual and community wellbeing using the traditional philosophies that have guided Yup’ik life for generations. This approach is succeeding where Western approaches have failed.

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2016. Čáw Pawá Láakni - They Are Not Forgotten | Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Person holding up a large research book with post-it tabs in an office settingContemporary place names throughout the United States reflect the history of colonization. The explorers and settlers who named mountains, rivers, and other natural features after themselves or their heroes were unaware or indifferent to the fact that waterways, features of the land, and places already had ancient names. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation have undertaken an ambitious project to organize, give preeminence to, and systematically disseminate their knowledge of the land.

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2016. Chickasaw Nation Sick Child Care Program | Chickasaw Nation. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Elderly woman in medical gown with a health care office in the backgroundWorking parents face a dilemma when a child falls ill. Staying home to provide care or finding a relative or friend to help can be a major challenge, especially for single parents, two-worker families, and employees whose jobs offer limited flexibility. The Chickasaw Nation Sick Child Care Program offers a safe and nurturing place for mildly ill children to spend the day and gives working parents the assurance that their children are receiving proper care.

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2016. Native American Drug and Gang Initiative Task Force | Intertribal Nations of Wisconsin. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Persona at desk with computer screens and surveillance camerasDrug dealers and gang members threaten the well-being of communities throughout the United States. In Indian Country, jurisdictional issues and a lack of trust in law enforcement complicate the apprehension of drug- and gang-involved offenders. Tribal Police Departments in Wisconsin formed the Native American Drug and Gang Initiative Task Force to strengthen their ability to deal with these illegal activities with support from the tribal governments. The Task Force facilitates inter-agency cooperation and helps tribes take the lead in addressing public safety threats to their communities.

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2016. Project Tiwahu: Redefining Tigua Citizenship | Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. View Report (PDF)Abstract
Bronze sculpture with a blue sky backgroundEstablishing the criteria for citizenship is an inherent right of national governments around the world. This right determines who can be a citizen and how citizenship is transferred through generations. Yet for Indian nations, history complicates efforts to fully exercise sovereignty. Project Tiwahu –Redefining Tigua Citizenship was an Ysleta del Sur Pueblo wide – initiative to reform and self-determine enrollment as an exercise of tribal sovereignty. Reform efforts addressed the hard questions about belonging and built consensus around a new, more inclusive approach to tribal citizenship.

 

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2015
2015. Academic Readiness Effort | Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Official tribal seal for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash IndiansGrounded in the concept of “amuyich,” or generosity, the Santa Ynez Academic Readiness Effort tackles the Native nation’s once-major educational achievement gap head-on by providing comprehensive support for Santa Ynez Chumash students at every step of their educational journeys – from birth through adulthood. Last year, an incredible 97% of Chumash students graduated high school – and the tribe is poised to reach 100%. Graduates and students alike are role models for the next generation and are equipped to serve as leaders and key decision makers for the nation. By providing students with mentorship, tutoring, and assistance, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians is creating a brighter tribal future.

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2015. Ho-Chunk Village | Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Tribal statues in foreground with housing development in background.Like many other Native nations, the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska grapples with a lack of housing for its people, especially for the tribe’s rapidly growing middle class. In response, community leaders developed Ho-Chunk Village, a 40-acre master planned community that is transforming the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska by purposefully providing home-ownership opportunities, integrated rentals for elders, and space for businesses in a walkable community. In developing Ho-Chunk Village, the Winnebago Tribe is showcasing how a tribal government, nonprofit, and tribal enterprise can work together in creative ways.

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2015. Kenaitze Tribal Court | Kenaitze Indian Tribe. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Tribal and Alaska court professionals seated at a conference table discussing cases.Recognizing that creating and maintaining a justice system is vital to a strong society, the Kenaitze Indian Tribe of Alaska developed its own tribal court in 1986 – despite the fact that in Alaska, few if any tribes had taken this step before. Since then, the Kenaitze Tribal Court has worked diligently to expand its jurisdiction over a range of issues. Its leadership in child advocacy has been especially pioneering – in Alaska and beyond. By collaborating with state, tribal, local, and nonprofit agencies, the Court helps ensure that Native children are protected and kept safe – and reinforces the tribe’s assertion of jurisdiction over young tribal citizens. Today, nearly 100% of children in the tribal court system are placed with family or other tribal members. The Kenaitze Tribal Court gives tribes everywhere compelling proof that quality Native justice systems are foundational to effective governance and to the defense of sovereignty.

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2015. Nez Perce Tribal Fisheries Department | Nez Perce Tribe. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Workers at tribal fishery standing in water transferring healthy salmonDisagreements between tribes and their neighbors over natural resource management are common throughout the US, and local misunderstandings and differences of opinion can lead to strained and even hostile relationships. The Nez Perce Tribe founded its Fisheries Department in exactly such an environment. Declining fish stocks led to resource competition and increased pressure on treaty rights. Today, the department works cooperatively with neighboring jurisdictions to monitor fish numbers, manage fish hatcheries, and promote habitat restoration throughout the Tribe’s traditional lands.

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2015. Ohero:kon "Under the Husk" Rites of Passage | Haudenosaunee Confederacy. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Teenager holding tobacco leaves clipped onto a wire to dry.The teenage years are an exciting but challenging phase of life. For Native youth, racism and mixed messages about identity can make the transition to adulthood particularly fraught, and may even lead to risky or self-destructive behavior. Within the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, a groundbreaking initiative to restore rites of passage for youth has engaged the entire community. The Ohero:kon ceremonial rite guides youth through Mohawk practices and teachings in the modern context, strengthening their cultural knowledge, self-confidence, and leadership skills.

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2015. School-Based Health Centers | Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes. View Report (PDF)Abstract

Two people sitting on the right with a large anatomy poster behind themSituated in the “most unhealthy county in the state of Montana” and confronting staggering indicators of poor health among their people, the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Reservation decided their children deserved better. The tribes made a bold move that is as simple as it is logical: they established and staffed full service health clinics in the schools on their reservation. Financed largely through Medicaid reimbursement, the high quality health care now available to tribal youth includes dental care, mental health services, nutrition counseling, and medical care. The School-Based Health Centers are not only an outstanding example of self-determination but are also a powerful reminder that having healthy citizens is critical for building strong nations.

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2014
2014. Lummi Wetland and Habitat Mitigation Bank | Lummi Nation. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Three professionals docking a boat.Tribal land is a scarce resource, and tribal leaders often face competing demands concerning land use. Especially pressing are the potential tradeoffs between development and environmental stewardship. The Lummi Nation was eager to develop housing and commercial properties but wanted to make sure that these projects would not damage ecologically sensitive areas on the reservation. To help manage development on its lands, the nation created the first tribally operated commercial wetland mitigation bank in the country. The Lummi Wetland and Habitat Mitigation Bank sells mitigation credits to both tribal and non-tribal projects, helping the nation balance its development and preservation goals. 

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