Indigenous Leadership Awards

A celebration of the determination, wisdom, and continuum of Indigenous leadership across the region.

2001 – 2014; 2022 – present

Native peoples have persevered as generations of Indigenous leaders and community members have worked tirelessly to protect their sovereignty, families, cultures, and homelands. Today, in tribal council chambers from Northern California to Southeast Alaska, this continuum of visionary leadership and care remains intact as contemporary Indigenous leaders continue to address the many political, cultural, environmental, economic, and social challenges facing them. 

The desire to recognize the determination of Native peoples and the significant achievements of Indigenous leadership are the reasons the Indigenous Leadership Awards (ILA) were created. The awards are a public appreciation—a celebration—of each awardees’ unwavering dedication and impact.  


Nominations for the 2024 Indigenous Leadership Awards are now closed. 

For questions, email

2023 ILA Awardees

The 2023 Awardees to be honored this year represent Native homelands across the Pacific Northwest — the region where Ecotrust focuses its work as an organization — and includes seasoned as well as emerging leaders.

Together with family, friends, and colleagues, the Awardees were celebrated during a ceremony at the Redd on Salmon Street in Portland on October 18, 2023.  

Sgaahl Siid Xyáahl Jaad
(Marina Anderson)

Haida/Lingít | Director, Sustainable Southeast Partnership | Alaska

An emerging leader who is being honored for her dedication to Lingít culture and her leadership to uplift southeast Alaska Native communities and protect the Tongass rainforest.

(Louise Brady)

Lingít | Herring Protectors | Alaska

In recognition of her collaborative efforts to protect Pacific herring through Herring Protectors and Herring Rock Water Protectors, which supports Indigenous harvesters, promotes Traditional Ecological Knowledge and the connection to traditional Tlingit ceremony in southeast Alaska.

Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson

Haida | Attorney, author, activist, artist, and musician | British Columbia

Honored for her abiding commitment to the perpetuation of Haida culture, language, and music and for her influential and substantial impact across Canada in the realm of Indigenous law.

Alyssa Macy

Wasco/Navajo/Hopi | CEO, Washington Conservation Action | Washington

In recognition of her efforts to build strong relationships between Washington Conservation Action and Indigenous communities, her advocacy for salmon protection, and as a leader in Washington state’s environmental community.

Frances G. Charles

Lower Elwha | Lower Elwha K’lallam Tribe Chairwoman | Washington

Honored for her outstanding leadership to remove two dams on the Elwha River and restore the Tribe’s connection to the riverscape and salmon and for her generosity as a mentor and role model to Indigenous women.

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Youth Leadership Council


A 21-member group in grades 6 to 12, along with 5 mentors and the council advisor, will be recognized as emerging leaders for their local community engagement, salmon protection petition and regional campaign, and COVID response. The youth leaders and mentors are

  • Top row, left to right: Weptas Brockie, Addison Carey, Sydney Carey
  • Second row, left to right: Eagle Edmiston, Miracle Edmiston, Penelope Gavin-Harvey, Anthony Greene, Diamond Greene
  • Third row, left to right: Ava Jackson, Muriel Jones-Hoisington, Brooklyn Jones, Malaeloa Malumaleumu, Garian McDonald, Meadow Morris
  • Fourth row, left to right: Madison Munoz, Hiyuum Nowland, Latis Nowland, Lindsey Pasena-Littlesky, Dymond Say, Abraham Shippentower
  • Fifth row: Keyen Singer, Julie Taylor (council advisor), Sunhawk Thomas, Nizhoni Toledo, Brees Van Pelt
  • Sixth row: Kymani Van Pelt, Summer Wildbill

Gabe Sheoships

Cayuse/Walla Walla | Executive Director, Friends of Tryon Creek | Oregon

An emerging leader who will be honored for his efforts to decolonize environmental education, re-Indigenize landscapes, and advocate for Indigenous-led stewardship and First Foods protection.

Corine Pearce

Pomo | Master Artist in Basketry | Northern California

In celebration of her determined efforts to revive the basketweaving traditions of the Pomo people and for her community role as a knowledge holder, culture bearer, and land steward.

Full Awardee and Honoree List

Since 2001, the ILA has recognized 60 outstanding Indigenous leaders for their unwavering dedication to strengthen self-determination and their efforts to uplift their communities and lands. Nominated by their community and selected by their peers, these Indigenous leaders come from all walks of life and represent many different tribes,
villages, First Nations, languages, cultures, and landscapes.


Sgaahl Siid Xyáahl Jaad
(Marina Anderson) (Haida/Tlingit)

(Louise Brady) (Tlingit)

Frances G. Charles (Lower Elwha)

Alyssa Macy (Wasco/Navajo/Hopi)

Corine Pearce (Pomo)

Gabe Sheoships (Cayuse/Walla Walla)

Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson (Haida)

Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Youth Leadership Council



Julie Kitka (Chugach Eskimo)

Paul Lumley (Yakama)

Spring Alaska Schreiner (Inupiaq, Chugach Alaska Native Corporation shareholder and Valdez Native Tribe)

Michelle Week (Sinixt)


Roberta Reyes Cordero (Chumash Nation), Awardee

Annita McPhee (Tahltan Nation)

Eric J. Quaempts (Yakama)

Roy Sampsel (Choctaw/Wyandotte)

Arthur Williams Sterritt (Gitga’at)


Brian Cladoosby (Swinomish), Awardee

Patience Andersen Faulkner (Chugach Eskimo)

Micah McCarty (Makah)

Gail Small (Northern Cheyenne)

Jonathan Waterhouse (S’Klallam/Chippewa/Cree)


Delores Ann Pigsley (Siletz), Awardee

Nora Dauenhauer (Tlingit) (1927 – 2017)

Chief Adam Dick (Kawadillikall Clan of the Dzawatainuk Tribe of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation) (1929 – 2018)

Wayne Warren Don (Cup’ig/Yupik)

Chuck Sams (Cocopa)


Kim Recalma-Clutesi (Kwagiulth/Pentlatch), Awardee

Jessie Housty (Heiltsuk)

Terry L. Cross (Seneca)

Sandra Sunrising Osawa (Makah)


James Manion (Wasco), Awardee

Janeen Comenote (Hesquiaht/Kwakiutl/Oglala Lakota/Quinault)

Allen Pinkham, Sr. (Nez Perce)

Brian Wallace (Washoe)

Patricia L. Whitefoot (Yakama)


Roberta (Bobbie) Conner (Cayuse/Umatilla/Nez Perce), Awardee

Carol Craig (Yakama)

Alfred (Bud) Lane, III (Siletz)

Lillian Moyer (Tahltan)


Guujaaw (Haida), Awardee

Harold Gatensby (Danka Tlingit)

Ilarion Larry Merculieff (Aleut)

Tawna Sanchez (Shoshone Bannock/Ute)

Judith Sayers, PhD (Nuu-chah-nulth)


W. Ron Allen (Jamestown S’Klallam), Awardee

Robi Michelle Craig (Kiks.adi Clan, Steel House, Tlingit)

Leaf Hillman (Karuk)

Chief Robert Simeon Pasco (Nlaka’pamux Nation)

Shawn E. Yanity (Stillaguamish)


Sarah James (Neetasii Gwich’in), Awardee

Clarence Alexander (Dranjik Gwich’in)

Ivan Jackson, Sr. (Klamath/Modoc)

Teri Rofkar (Sitka Tribe of Alaska) (1936 – 2016)

Terry Williams (Tulalip Tribes)


Jeannette Armstrong (Okanagan), Awardee

Billy Frank, Jr. (Nisqually) (1931 – 2014)

Susan Masten (Yurok)

Chief Nathan Matthew (Shuswap Nation)

Agnes Pilgrim (Takelma Band of Siletz) (1924 – 2019)


Kelly Brown (Heiltsuk), Awardee

Carol Craig (Yakama)

Kathleen Hill (Klamath)

Robert Sam (Sitka Tribe of Alaska)

John Ward (Taku River Tlingit First Nation)


Phillip Cash Cash (Cayuse/Nez Perce), Awardee

Susan Burdick (Yurok)

David Hatch (Siletz) (1936 – 2016)

Dennis Martinez (Tohono O’odham)

Pauline Hilistis Waterfall (Heiltsuk)

A photo of a beach


Indigenous Leadership briefings

As a lead-up to the Indigenous Leadership Awards ceremony, our Indigenous Leadership Program curates a series of hour-long, online gatherings. This briefing series features tribal leaders from across the Pacific Northwest, who discuss the historical context of issues tribal communities have confronted over time and the ways Indigenous leaders responded. Attendees learn about little-known eras, issues, and subjects, all from an Indigenous perspective, and about the impact of Indigenous leadership on the well-being of tribal communities and beyond.

Ecotrust Project Team & Services

Want to learn more? Check out the full Ecotrust Staff & Board and all of our Tools for Building Collective Change.

Ecotrust project team

We engage and communicate powerful stories at the intersection of equity, economy, and the environment.

A photo of a man speaking into a microphone at a podium

Any attempt to chart a sustainable course for the future must include the traditions, knowledge, and aspirations of Native people.

—SPENCER B. BEEBE, ecotrust founder


press release


July 17, 2023 | Eight awardees to be celebrated during October 18 ceremony at the Redd on Salmon Street


Blog post

IN MEMORIAM | On August 5, 2022, Alan R. Parker walked on

close up of drum being played with feathered sticks, indigenous community image

Blog post

STAFF VOICES | In place of a land acknowledgement, Ecotrust staff are asking you to support Indigenous communities by taking action 

Image taken from the front door of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation tribal government center on the first night of the Chuweah Creek Fire, July 12, 2021. It started at 7 pm.

Blog post

INTERVIEW | An interview with Cody Desautel about the impacts of climate change on the Tribes’ forest and economy and how they are responding to threats

A portrait of Gabe Sheohips holding a lamprey eel.

Blog post

INTERVIEW | An interview with Gabe Sheoships, the Executive Director of the Friends of Tryon Creek

Mike Durglo, Jr. standing in front of a whitebark pine

Blog post

PARTNER VOICES | An interview with Mike Durglo, Jr., the Tribal Historic Preservation Office director for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

A boat on milky aqua water, with forested hills in the background

Blog post

STAFF VOICES | Centering this region’s Indigenous peoples and traditional land and water management knowledges.


Blog post

STAFF VOICES | Centering this region’s Indigenous peoples and traditional land and water management knowledges.

A sheen of oil chokes a bed of kelp. This marine plant is critical spawning ground for herring -- a staple food for the Heiltsuk community. Photo by April Bencze

Blog post

INTERVIEW | Jess Housty of the Heiltsuk First Nation shares the social and economic impacts following the grounding of the Nathan E. Stewart

A woman in a woven hat stands with a body of water and green hills in the background.

Blog post

INTERVIEW | The story behind the Heiltsuk First Nation investigating and eventually litigating a 2016 diesel spill in unceded territorial waters


Blog post

INTERVIEW | Lisa J. Watt and Doe Hatfield interviewed Alan Parker following the publication of his recent book, Pathways to Indigenous Nation Sovereignty

Ariel image showing the outlines of a salmon farming operation at a distance such that the boats and gates are like drawing lines

Blog post

Tribes respond: Atlantics salmon in the Salish Sea  

PARTNER VOICES | Tribes around the Puget Sound have long objected to Atlantic salmon being farmed in the Salish Sea. An incident last August shows us why.

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