Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Awards 2022 Awardees Announced

Release Date: 04-27-2022

Jessica Douglas

Indigenous Storytelling and Engagement Fellow
503.803.8566

Four leaders will be celebrated for their tireless contributions to uplifting Indigenous communities and food sovereignty.

PORTLAND, Ore.  — April 27, 2022 — Ecotrust today announced the awardees of the 13th annual Indigenous Leadership Awards. They are: Julie Kitka (Chugach Eskimo), Paul Lumley (Yakama), Spring Alaska Schreiner (Chugach Alaska Corporation and the Valdez Native Tribe), and Michelle Week (Sinixt).

Since 2001, the Indigenous Leadership Awards (ILAs) have recognized 56 outstanding Indigenous leaders for their unwavering dedication to strengthen tribal sovereignty and their efforts to 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 celebrate the work of Indigenous leaders throughout northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British Columbia, and Alaska.

“Selected by a group of distinguished Indigenous leaders, these four award recipients embody the unique values of an Indigenous leader, someone who is humbly grounded in and supported by Indigenous people, guided by their elders and cultures, and an inspiration to future generations of Indigenous youth.” said Lisa Watt (Seneca), director of the Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Program.

Now, after a seven-year hiatus, Ecotrust is proud to announce the return of the awards to recognize the outstanding work of tribal leaders. This year’s awardees feature Indigenous leaders from Alaska and Oregon. The awardees will be celebrated in a ceremony, surrounded by their family and peers, on Thursday, June 23, 2022, in the Main Hall of Redd East, Ecotrust’s regional food hub and event space located at 831 SE Salmon Street in Portland, Ore.

The Indigenous Leadership Award is a distinguished honor, as it is determined by Indigenous leaders. The awardees are chosen by a four-member selection panel consisting of previous ILA recipients, all of whom are outstanding Indigenous leaders themselves: Susan Masten ‘01 (Yurok), James Manion ‘09 (Wasco), Kim Recalma-Clutesi ‘10 (Kwagiulth/Pentlatch), and Jonathan Waterhouse ‘12 (S’Klallam/Chippewa/Cree).

The selection panel reviewed nomination packages made up of letters of recommendations submitted by peers, governing councils, community members, and colleagues, to make their decision. In their deliberation, the selection panel chose to honor Julie Kitka (Chugach Eskimo) and Paul Lumley (Yakama) for their impactful and decades long leadership to advocate and advance the rights and opportunities of Indigenous people through federal, state, local, and private avenues. Spring Alaska Schreiner (Chugach Alaska Corporation and the Valdez Native Tribe) and Michelle Week (Sinixt) were chosen for their evolving leadership to protect and promote Indigenous food sovereignty and their efforts to provide nutritionally rich First Foods to tribal communities impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information on the 2022 ILA awardees and their achievements, please visit the Indigenous Leadership Awards project page.

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About the Indigenous Leadership Awards

The Indigenous Leadership Awards is a celebration of the determination, wisdom, and continuum of Indigenous leadership across our region. Since its founding in 2001, 56 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, artists, resistors, and catalysts for change. All are united in their drive to protect and uplift tribal communities. For more information, visit the Indigenous Leadership Awards website.

About Ecotrust

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.