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2007 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award

Finalist: Michael Pavel, Ph.D.

Michael Pavel, Ph.D.
Michael Pavel, Ph.D. (Photo by Mark Warren)
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"We as human beings were given the charge to care for, to nourish and protect this way of life. The more we live productively and in harmony, we all reap the rewards."
     —Michael Pavel, Ph.D.

Michael Pavel, Ph.D., who carries the traditional name of ChiXapkaid, is an honored 2007 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award finalist for his work as a Salish traditional bearer, professor, traditional artist, researcher, author, environmental conservationist and community leader. Pavel has worked throughout his life to bridge the divide between Indigenous ways of knowing and knowledge systems of contemporary society. He is an enrolled member of the Skokomish Tribal Nation.

Pavel is a Tradition Bearer of the Southern Puget Salish traditional culture and a leader in the traditional society in the House of slanay on the Skokomish Reservation. His training has been on-going since the age of thirteen and has primarily focused on learning the language, traditions, history and ceremonial way of life among the tuwaduq (Twana) and other Pacific Northwest Salish peoples. Pavel had the opportunity to apprentice with his late uncle, Bruce Miller (subiyay) and other elders.

Pavel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling Psychology, College of Education, Washington State University, Pullman. He is the co-author of The American Indian and Alaska Native Student's Guide to College Success (2007). Pavel has presented research findings on the positive influence of traditional knowledge in the education of Indigenous youth.

Pavel is currently working on two projects: one funded by the Kellogg Foundation entitled In Our Mother's Voices and another with the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission to develop a comprehensive middle school curriculum on environmental conservation and salmon restoration entitled Shadow of the Salmon. Pavel has also worked to prevent environmental degradation of the Hood Canal and Puget Sound watersheds.

A well-published author and researcher, Pavel's writing includes books, national studies, book chapters, major foundation and professional reports, journal articles and book reviews. He has served as the Principal Investigator on various grants and contracts including the recent Graduate and Professional School Attainment: The Impact of Gates Millennium Scholarship Funding (2007). Pavel is a national keynote speaker, facilitator and presenter in both academic and service presentations around the country including the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education and the National Symposium on Postsecondary Student Success.

From 2002 to 2005, Pavel served on the Editorial Board of the American Educational Research Journal: Section on Social and Institutional Analysis. He is a member of the Council of 100 Distinguished Native Leaders, Scholars, and Elders at the American Indian Graduate Center. In 2007, the Washington State Indian Education Association honored Pavel as the Indian Educator of the Year.

Pavel received a Ph.D. in Higher and Adult Education from Arizona State University in 1991 and a M.Ed. in 1986. He also received a B.A. in Urban Affairs in 1981 from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Pavel currently lives in Skokomish, Washington with his wife Susan and two sons Kaid'dub and Akea.


2007 Honorees

Roberta (Bobbie) Conner

Carol Craig

Alfred (Bud) Lane III

Lillian Moyer

Michael Pavel, Ph.D.


Learn More

Michael Pavel, Ph.D. Bio (81kb pdf)

The American Indian and Alaska Native Student's Guide to College Success
D. Michael Pavel, Ella Inglebret

Choosing the right college is a big decision for most people. American Indian and Alaska Natives are no exception, but finding a college that offers a good educational program in their major plus a strong support system for tribal traditions makes that decision even more complex. This volume will help Native people clarify their postsecondary aspirations, improve their college choice, and increase their success in college. After a thorough examination of the issues that should be considered, Pavel and Inglebret present the different types of colleges available, programs and services to meet the special needs of Native students, and financial aid options. By answering many of the basic questions students have about going to college, Pavel and Inglebret help to demystify the process and encourage more Native students to pursue a college education.


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


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