Ecotrust’s Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership application process begins

Release Date: 01-24-2006

Oakley Brooks

Senior Media Manager
503.467.0779

PORTLAND, Ore. — Ecotrust announces the new nomination cycle for the 2006 Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership. While the nomination process is open throughout the year, for the 2006 awards, all nominations must be received by April 14th. The Buffett Award is a recognition program administered by Ecotrust and generously funded by the families of Peter and Howard Buffett to honor outstanding individuals who serve as leaders in their community in all capacities and whose leadership improves the social, economic, political or environmental conditions in their community. Ecotrust established the award in 2001.

Individuals are eligible if they are First Nation or tribal members, over 35 years of age, and work, or have worked, with an indigenous organization or community within the Pacific salmon territory of North America. The Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership has quietly become one of the most important resources for supporting tribal leaders within the lands and waters of Salmon Nation. The award recognizes leaders for their drive as catalysts for better conditions in their communities. Often unnoticed and unacknowledged by the surrounding community, there is little, if any, outside financial support for these communities. Under such conditions, fostering and celebrating this leadership is even more vital and necessary.

The Award itself makes a modest investment in the mid-career endeavors of these amazing people ($25,000 to the Awardee, $2,500 each to four finalists). But the Award is much more than a simple cash prize. Ecotrust invests in the work of a wide range of indigenous people from Salmon Nation. Nominators from tribal communities, leader families, and partner organizations gather stories, materials, and letters of support for the Reading Panel. A panel comprised of a majority of indigenous readers, along with Ecotrust representatives, selects the five finalists from the pool of nomination letters. The Reading Panel forwards these five to the Final Jury comprised of senior tribal leaders along with one non-voting member, Ecotrust President Spencer Beebe. The Jury chooses the recipient. The 2006 Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership Ceremony is planned for June 14th, 2006 in Portland, Oregon.

“Honoring and listening to the people who have lived successfully in this place the longest may be the most important thing we do. The 25 Buffett finalists in these first five years have become a wise council of elders for those hoping to rebuild Salmon Nation,” said Spencer B. Beebe, President of Ecotrust, “We look forward to having 100 in this council of indigenous leadership in 2021.”

In addition to the Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership, Ecotrust provides a variety of other projects and services through its Indigenous Affairs Program. In collaboration with the Klamath Tribes, Ecotrust has written and published Klamath Heartlands: A Guide to the Klamath Reservation Forest Management Plan. Additional projects include land repatriation, Native forestry and timber marketing, native youth leadership, salmon marketing and the Elakha Alliance. Ecotrust is a non-profit organization committed to building Salmon Nation and strengthening the communities and environment from Alaska to California. For more information about Ecotrust and all the Buffett Award honorees, see the website www.ecotrust.org/buffettaward/.

To see the complete Buffett Award nomination guidelines and a nomination letter template, go to www.ecotrust.org/buffettaward/guidelines.html. For hard copy, additional information and assistance, contact Elizabeth Woody at 503-467-0751, or email Liz or Ecotrust, 721 NW Ninth Ave., Suite 200, Portland, Oregon 97209. You may download a copy of this press release at: www.ecotrust.org/press/buffett2006.pdf