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2003 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award

Honoree: Agnes Pilgrim

Agnes Pilgrim
Agnes Pilgrim (Photo courtesy Northwest Indian Fish Commission) Download a hi-res image: right-click here and select Save As (10mb TIF)

"Often in our busy lives, we pay lip service to protecting our environment, but when it comes to action, we fall short."
—Agnes Pilgrim

Agnes Pilgrim is honored as a finalist for the 2003 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award for her cultural preservation efforts, environmental advocacy and work with Native American youth. She is a member of the Oregon Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and resides in Grants Pass, Oregon.

As the Elder Advisor of the Southern Oregon University Native American Student Union, Pilgrim is a role model to many students. She has been involved with the Konaway Nika Tillicum Native American Youth Academy at Southern Oregon University since its inception and currently serves as the Elder-in-Residence.

Pilgrim's work with Native American youth has helped ensure the continuation of inter-generational traditions. Pilgrim shares her skills at the annual Culture Camp at the Siletz Reservation. She also visits many of the local elementary, middle and high schools and introduces students to her traditional crafts and culture.

Pilgrim has been an active member of the Cultural Heritage and Sacred Lands Committee of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians for more than twenty years. She also serves on the Table Rock Foundation Board of Directors in Grants Pass, Oregon and carries out some of her Native traditions work through the foundation as a volunteer.

In 1994, the United States Forest Service granted Pilgrim and her tribe the right to use Kanaka Flat as an area to perform the Sacred Salmon Ceremony. In recent years, the ceremony has attracted visits from National Geographic, former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt and Katherine Fuller, President of the World Wildlife Fund.

Pilgrim has worked with great dedication over the years as an environmental advocate. In 2002, she traveled to Washington D.C. with representatives from the Siskiyou Project and the World Wildlife Fund to lobby the Oregon congressional delegation for the Siskiyou Wild Rivers National Monument. She has also worked towards better forest and salmon protections.

Pilgrim graduated from Southern Oregon University and currently serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for First Nations Studies. In 2002, she was recognized as a Southern Oregon University Distinguished Alumnae of the Year.

Agnes Pilgrim is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and the oldest living woman of the Takelma Indians from the Table Rocks area along the Rogue River in southwestern Oregon. She is a traditional dress, basket, hat and necklace maker.


2003 Honorees

Jeannette Armstrong

Billy Frank, Jr.

Susan Masten

Chief Nathan Matthew

Agnes Pilgrim


Learn More

About Agnes Pilgrim:

Indigenous grandmas nearly kicked out of Vatican
Indian Country Today, July 18, 2008

Int'l Grandmothers' Enviro Movement
The New York Times, July 29, 2007

For the Next 7 Generations: The Grandmothers Speak
(YouTube video)


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


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