2010 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award
December 1, 2010 — Ecotrust today recognized four innovative indigenous leaders for their efforts to improve conditions in their communities. The recipients were selected by a panel of tribal leaders, and their efforts span areas including youth advocacy, cultural restoration, filmmaking, political organizing and scholarship.
The Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award is one of the preeminent programs honoring and supporting tribal, First Nation, and Alaska Native leaders in the West. Tribes and First Nations are more than an ethnic or minority demographic; they are nations and representative governments, major land owners, committed co-managers in natural resources, and they are major drivers of local and regional economies. Tribes, First Nations, and Alaska Natives hold long-range vision, sustainable societal values and a history of the land and marine and terrestrial ecosystems that provide a sense of place in the growing global economy.
The 2010 Indigenous Leadership Award will celebrate the four honorees on December 2, 2010.
Awardee: Kim Recalma-Clutesi, Ogwi’low’gwa
(Kwagiulth/Pentlatch - Qualicum Indian Reserve, BC) is honored for her work as an activist, political organizer, consultant to government departments, and elected leader of the Qualicum Band of Indians of Vancouver Island, British Columbia; as a cross-cultural interpreter; as a prominent teacher, academic researcher, and expedition leader in the field of ethno botany; as a recognized expert on intellectual property rights and the repatriation of sacred artifacts and objects; and as a reporter, photographer, historian and award-winning videographer and producer.
Recalma-Clutesi has worked for decades at every level — tribal, university, provincial, and Canadian federal — in the struggles for indigenous language and ceremony reclamation, and the struggles to regain access to native lands and traditional foods. As a member of the Ninograd Collective, in the role of Potlatch Recorder, she has devoted herself to learning, teaching, interpreting, and preserving the Kwagiulth/Pentlatch ceremonial heritage for her people. Read more »
Finalist: Terry L. Cross, Hah-ne-ga-noh
(Seneca Nation of Indians/Bear Clan - Portland, OR) is honored for his leadership as a steadfast advocate for Indian children and their families. Cross founded the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), based in Portland, and for decades has lead this national organization as its director. NICWA provides culturally sensitive training for tribal child welfare workers. Cross works at all levels of government — local, state, and national — to implement effective public policy law to protect Indian children. Noted teacher and author of books, articles, and training manuals for welfare workers, Cross is of Seneca descent, a member of the Bear Clan. Read more »
Finalist: Jessie Housty
(Heiltsuk First Nation - Bella Bella, BC) is honored for her leadership and creativity as an outstanding emerging leader working through the Qqs Projects Society to improve cultural opportunities for youth and the wider community. She is of Heiltsuk First Nation descent. Her tireless efforts to create the Thistalalh Memorial Library in Bella Bella, on the coast of British Columbia, brought her community its first public access to books and reading programs. A student of medieval literature, researcher of native plants, and a volunteer in Haiti after the recent earthquake, her primary work continues to be the creation of programs to help youth succeed. Her latest initiative is for a First Nations Youth Corp of volunteers. Read more »
Finalist: Sandra Sunrising Osawa
(Makah - Seattle, WA) is honored for her visionary, award winning career as an independent filmmaker, writer, producer and director of projects that tell Native stories from the indigenous point of view. She is of Makah descent, and has worked tirelessly advocating for the inclusion of Native American film technicians, writers, actors, producers and directors, literally changing the nature of the film industry. Her numerous documentary films have aired on PBS and commercial television, and non-commercially, and have screened nationally and around the world at film festivals. She co-founded and co-owns Upstream Productions, working to explore contemporary images of Indian people, exploding pernicious stereotypes, preserving important unreported history, and mentoring other students of film. Read more »