PORTLAND, Ore. — July 17, 2023 — Ecotrust today announced the recipients of the 2023 Indigenous Leadership Awards. Leaders to be honored with the Award include: Sgaahl Siid Xyáahl Jaad (Marina Anderson) (Haida/Tlingit), Kh’asheechtlaa (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), and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Youth Leadership Council — the first group to be nominated for the honor.
Since 2001, the Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Awards (ILAs) have recognized 60 outstanding Indigenous leaders for their unwavering dedication to strengthen self-determination and uplift the environmental, cultural, economic, and social conditions of their communities and homelands. The Awards are funded through a private endowment that was established in 2000 to recognize the work of Indigenous leaders throughout northern California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and southeast Alaska.
“Guided by Indigenous values, elders, and cultures, the 2023 Indigenous Leadership Awardees are diligently working to ensure healthy, safe, and vibrant futures for tribal communities and homelands. Their unshakeable commitment and impact on a wide range of issues and needs are deeply meaningful. Ecotrust is honored to recognize them and their humble dedication,” said Lisa J. Watt (Seneca), Director of the Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Program.
The Awardees will be celebrated on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, in the Main Hall of Redd East, Ecotrust’s regional food hub and event space, at 831 SE Salmon Street, Portland, OR. More information about the event and purchasing tickets will be available soon.
The 2023 Awardees
The ILAs are a distinguished honor, as it is determined by Indigenous leaders. The Awardees are chosen by a selection panel consisting of previous ILA recipients who review substantial nomination packages made up of letters of recommendations, reports, articles, and media submitted by governing councils, community members, and colleagues.
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.
- Sgaahl Siid Xyáahl Jaad (Marina Anderson) (Haida/Tlingit) | Director, Sustainable Southeast Partnership
An emerging leader who is being honored for her dedication to Tlingit culture and her leadership to uplift SE Alaska Native communities and protect the Tongass rainforest.
- Kh’asheechtlaa (Louise Brady) (Tlingit) | Herring Protectors
In recognition of her collaborative efforts to protect Pacific herring through Herring Protectors, which supports Indigenous harvesters and 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
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
In recognition of her efforts to build strong relationships between Washington Conservation Action and Indigenous communities, her advocacy for salmon protection, and her leadership in Washington state’s environmental community.
- Frances G. Charles (Lower Elwha) | Lower Elwha K’lallam Tribe Chairwoman
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 of youth 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.
- Gabe Sheoships (Cayuse / Walla Walla) | Executive Director, Friends of Tryon Creek
An emerging leader who will be honored for his efforts to decolonize environmental education, re-Indigenize landscapes, and his advocacy for Indigenous-led stewardship and First Foods protection.
- Corine Pearce (Pomo) | Master Artist in Basketry
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.
Profiles of each awardee and their achievements will be featured on the Ecotrust website at ecotrust.org starting mid-July through mid-September.
About the Indigenous Leadership Awards
The ILAs are a celebration of the determination, wisdom, and continuum of Indigenous leadership across our region. Since its founding in 2001, 60 exceptional Indigenous leaders have been recognized. These individuals are some of the most distinguished community leaders in the Pacific Northwest, representing a diverse spectrum of Indigenous cultures, languages, communities, and professions. They are negotiators, culture bearers, environmentalists, educators, advocates, scientists, knowledge holders, linguists, farmers, artists, resistors, and catalysts for change. All are united in their drive to protect and uplift tribal communities. For more information, visit ecotrust.org/indigenous-leadership-awards.
Ecotrust creates and accelerates triple-bottom-line innovations to benefit our region and inspire the world. Our work is rooted in the region from California to Alaska that holds productive lands and determined people. On the farm, at the coast, in the forest, and across our cities, we work in partnership towards an equitable, prosperous, climate-smart future. We recognize the legacy of colonialism and the deep inequities of this place, and we believe that radical, practical change is possible and necessary. Since 1991, we have created durable change and sparked ideas across the globe. Join us at ecotrust.org.