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2009 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award

Finalist: Allen Pinkham, Sr.

Allen Pinkham, Sr.

Allen Pinkham, Sr. is an honoree for the 2009 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award as a statesman for the Nez Perce Tribe, improving social conditions and cultural understanding on the Nez Perce reservations for his storied career as community leader, scholar, and advocate for his people and lands.

Pinkham served in different leadership positions within the Tribe, including as elected Chairperson of the Executive Committee, and formerly served as President of Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and vice-President of the National Congress of American Indians. He served as a Board of Trustees member for the National Museum of the American Indian, and board member of the National Council of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial.

Underpinning this career of leadership is a lifetime rooted in place and culture. At a relatively young age, Allen’s family and Tribe selected him as a storyteller. He respectfully accepted this designation, learning stories from his elders, passing on the traditions and always working to preserve traditions and cultural heritage of the Nez Perce people.

Allen Pinkham, Sr. is a respected scholar, having co-authored Salmon and His People: Fish and Fishing in Nez Perce Culture (1999), and contributed a chapter to Alvin Josephy, Jr.’s publication Lewis and Clark Through Indian Eyes.

His leadership serving on the Tribal Executive Committee is directly linked to tribal resurgence and strengthening, evidenced by acquisition of 23,000 acres of land during that timeframe. He has been instrumental in seeing Nez Perce treaty fishing rights translate into salmon enhancement, protection, and restoration on the upper reaches of the Columbia and Snake River basins.

Pinkham, Sr. is directly associated with the founding and ongoing leadership of the Chief Joseph Foundation. Founded in 1993, the CJF emphasizes Nez Perce horse culture, seeking to better the community through Appaloosa horse conservation and maintenance, as well as youth education and development. The CJF has a Mounted Scholars program, working to increase student performance through horse culture and curriculum, and continues to work with Special Olympics Idaho in development of an equestrian program.

He is currently working on a major work with Dr. Steve Evans connecting and understanding oral history associated with the Lewis and Clark Expedition’s experience with the Nez Perce Tribe in 1805 and 1806.


2009 Honorees

Janeen Comenote

James Manion

Allen Pinkham, Sr.

A. Brian Wallace

Patricia L. Whitefoot



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


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