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2002 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award

Honoree: John Ward

John Ward
John Ward

John Ward is honored as a finalist for the 2002 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award for his leadership in protecting the Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN) traditional territory as well as his watershed planning and salmon conservation efforts. Ward currently serves as the Spokesperson for the TRTFN and resides in Atlin, British Columbia.

Ward's work on the Tulsequah Chief Project Environmental Assessment and subsequent court challenges helped the TRTFN oppose the Tulsequah Chief Mine and its 99-mile access road through their territory. The TRTFN traditional territory includes the Taku River Watershed, which is the prevailing salmon producer of Southeast Alaska.

Under Ward's leadership, the TRTFN is in the process of developing a Taku River watershed plan in conjunction with the Salmon Treaty Commission and a land protection plan for joint planning with the British Columbia government. Ward has also worked very hard to develop sustainable economic opportunities such as the Taku wild smoked salmon venture, a community-supported business that builds on existing skills while creating new economic prospects for a remote community.

John Ward has served the TRTFN in other leadership capacities. For six years, he served as the Crow Clan Director. He also held the positions of Clan Director for TRTFN Land and Resources and Clan Director for TRTFN Administration.

Ward has worked in many capacities over his lifetime including as an evangelic pastor. He also worked as the Regional Manager for the Council of Yukon Indians (now the Council of Yukon First Nations) National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program. During his eight years there, Ward developed and implemented a community driven support program. Ward also spent many years working as a heavy-duty mechanic.

John Ward is an avid hunter and enjoys many traditional activities including relearning his language. He wants to ensure that the Tlingit language is preserved and becomes a living language that people use in their daily life.

Ward has also helped with the restoration and reopening of the Nakina Historic Trail. He walks the heritage trail to Nakina River at least once a year, raises funds for trail maintenance and accompanies the work teams of TRTFN youth on trail maintenance projects.


2002 Honorees

Kelly Brown

Carol Craig

Kathleen Shaye Hill

Robert Sam

John Ward


Astrid Scholz
tel: 503.467.0758
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Jason Pretty Boy
Indigenous Resilience Fellow
tel: 503.467.0803


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