ecotrust logo

Indigenous Leadership Award

Indigenous Leadership Award title

Since 2001, we have recognized 54 tribal leaders with Ecotrust’s Indigenous Leadership Award (ILA) for their dedication to their culture and their work to improve economic and environmental conditions of their homelands and people. We host a ceremony celebrating these leaders and present each with a cash award to further their mission in strengthening their communities.

Through the generous support of a private endowment, we are able to award a monetary prize to each honoree. We accept nominations throughout the year prior to the awards ceremony each fall. Both Native and non-Native nominators gather stories, tribal endorsements, supporting materials and recommendation letters with great respect and gratitude for the nominee’s service and dedication. A reading panel comprised of three Ecotrust staff members and several tribal leaders from Alaska to California convenes to peer review the nominations and narrow the field down to five honorees. A final jury panel of senior tribal leaders and Ecotrust’s Board Chair, Spencer Beebe, choose the finalist from among the honorees.

Today we human beings face the biggest of obstacles and the greatest of challenges to our creativity and responsibility. Let us begin with courage and without limitation.” — Jeannette Armstrong

A Circle of Esteemed Leaders

Ecotrust’s Indigenous Leadership Awardees are some of the most distinguished community leaders in the region. In 2012, the organization built on awardees’ collective wisdom by convening the Indigenous Leadership Council, comprised of previous ILA honorees.

The Council will address some of the pressing issues that span Salmon Nation and our wider region. This group of leaders holds long-range vision, resilient societal values, and an historical, traditional knowledge of land and marine ecosystems. Their wisdom and cultural connections can help demonstrate a sense of place in the growing global economy. As representatives of sovereign nations, these leaders forge connections between regional governments by serving as major landowners, committed co-managers in natural resources, and drivers of local and regional economies. Through these roles, they’ll provide guidance and support for Ecotrust’s regional strategy, our policy work with regional and national governments, and our tribal programs in order to deliver equitable, high-impact benefits to the people and places of Salmon Nation and beyond.

The council will be led by some of our most distinguished honorees:

Phillip Cash Cash — Nez Perce/Cayuse
Kelly Brown — Heiltsuk
Jeannette Armstrong — Okanagan
Clarence Alexander — Dranjik Gwich’in
Chairman W. Ron Allen — Jamestown S’Klallam
Guujaaw — Haida
Roberta (Bobbie) Conner — Umatilla /Nez Perce/Cayuse
James Manion — Wasco
Kim Recalma-Clutesi — Kwagiulth/Pentlatch
Delores Pigsley — Siletz

Support Indigenous Leadership

Help Ecotrust expand the impact of indigenous leadership on crucial issues by supporting the Indigenous Leadership Award and the success of the Indigenous Leaders Council. Your involvement will not only support on-going work by awardees and honorees in their communities, but also facilitate and grow the exchange of knowledge across the circle of Native leaders to the broader region and world.

Join us each fall to celebrate the ILA; or make a gift today to support this invaluable network of authentic community leaders.

Our Work

Nomination Guidelines

2012 Award

2011 Award

2010 Award

2009 Award

2007 Award

2006 Award

2005 Award

2004 Award

2003 Award

2002 Award

2001 Award

All Honorees 2001–2012

Jury Panel


Astrid Scholz
tel: 503.467.0758
Download vCard

Jason Pretty Boy
Indigenous Resilience Fellow
tel: 503.467.0803


Copyright © 2013 Ecotrust