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New Indigenous Leaders Council will guide Northwest

48 past winners of Ecotrust’s Indigenous Leadership Awards come together in creation of council.

Ecotrust is inaugurating a Northwest Indigenous Leaders Council, designed to serve as an advisory board on issues ranging from watershed and salmon restoration to fisheries, forestry, economic and cultural issues. Ecotrust will challenge the new council to help the region see the long-term economic value of environmental restoration and strong tribal sovereignty and Native culture.

The council will bring together the 48 past winners of Ecotrust’s Indigenous Leadership Awards. Now in its 11th year, the ILA has honored a diverse array of leaders across Indian Country, including The Honorable Ron Allen, Chairman of Jamestown S’Klallam, who led the development of the first Native American Embassy in Washington, D.C.; Roberta Conner, from the Umatilla Indian Reservation in northeast Oregon and head of the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute; Alaskan Native Clarence Alexander, recently honored by President Obama for his work on the Yukon River in Alaska and British Columbia, and Delores Pigsley, who was instrumental in the federal restoration of the Oregon coast Siletz Tribe in 1977 and has served as chairwoman of the tribe for 26 years.

The establishment of the tribal council marks the beginning of a new push at Ecotrust to better tap the knowledge base and successes of Native and First Nations people in rebuilding the economic, cultural and natural resources we all depend on. “Seasoned tribal leaders working together can achieve greater impact across Salmon Nation and serve as models for other regions of the world as well,” said Rick George, Vice President of Policy and Indigenous Affairs at Ecotrust. “There is a wealth of opportunities where the council could offer expertise in our region.” The council will formerly convene in October 2012, in conjunction with the 2012 Indigenous Leadership Awards.

Nominations for the 2012 ILA open February 1. For more information, or to nominate an Indigenous leader, visit: www.ecotrust.org/ila

WATCH: Delores Pigsley and other leaders speak at the 2011 ILA.