ecotrust logo

2011 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award

Dee Pigsley
Delores Ann Pigsley

September 1, 2011 — Ecotrust announces today the five native leaders chosen by a panel of senior tribal leaders and key staff to be honored at the 2011 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Awards (ILA). These visionary leaders were chosen for their dedication to improving the social, economic and environmental conditions of their homelands and people.

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 2011 Indigenous Leadership Award Ceremony will take place November 2, 2011 at the Portland Art Museum.

Awardee: Delores Ann Pigsley

(Siletz tribe, Oregon) Delores holds the record for the longest time a woman has served on a tribal council in the Northwest, serving 32 of the 34 years since the Siletz tribe won restoration in 1977. Twenty-six of those years she served as tribal chair. In that time, Delores has represented the best interests of her tribe with city, county, state, and federal officials, has testified before Congress in support of adequate funding for native programs, and has worked tirelessly for tribal sovereignty. She also is a strong advocate for developing tribal youth physically, mentally, and culturally to ensure the Siletz' traditions continue to future generations. Delores was the youngest of eight children of Alfred and Maude Lane, she had four brothers and three sisters. Her father, brother and sister have served on the tribal council and also been in local politics. Delores married Don Pigsley, a member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, in 1962. They had three children: Timothy, Troy and Quanna. Timothy is employed at Chemawa Indian School, Quanna lives in Siletz and Troy, who worked for the Northwest Portland Indian Health Board passed away in 1998.

Honoree: Nora Dauenhauer

(Tlingit tribe, Alaska) With her first language of Tlingit and second of English, Nora has dedicated her life work to transcribing, translating, preserving, and resurrecting her native language. Now as an elder, she is looked to locally, nationally, and internationally for her expertise of the Tlingit language. Her books, articles, and plays are read and performed both near and far. Her work has earned her numerous awards and an honorary Doctor of Humanities from the University of Alaska Southeast.

Honoree: Wayne Warren Don

(Cupik/Yupik tribes, Alaska) A former army officer raised on Nunivak Island, Alaska, Wayne received both a Western and cultural education. While serving as tribal chairman since 2007, he has brought the tribe into financial profitability, created new programs, and grown the tribe's assets more than eightfold. He is also a true leader in his ability to act as a social and cultural bridge between the youth and elders, and in creating the first-ever cultural, academic, and tourism camp in Alaska. The camp creates a new economic development opportunity for the tribe as well as creating a place for cultural preservation and cultural and academic teaching.

Honoree: Clan Chief Adam Dick

(Kwakwaka'wakw Nation, British Columbia) A traditionally trained leader of the Kwakwaka'wakw Nation, Kwaxsistalla was born in 1929 at Tlamataxw (Campbell River), BC. His name, Kwaxsistalla, bequeathed to him by his father, grandfather and previous generations who held the name, means "Smoke From His Fire Reaches around the world." Chosen by his elders at a young age to be trained as a Clan Chief and Potlatch speaker, Kwaxsistalla never attended Western school nor learned to read or write. Because of his unique training he is widely sought out for his cultural knowledge of the potlatch, traditional naming, social and economic systems, and important ceremonial aspects of life, as well as on the intricacies of the Kwak'wala language and history. Kwaxsistalla and his partner, film director and cultural specialist Kim Recalma-Clutesi, Ogwaloqwa, of the Qualicum First Nation live at Qualicum on Vancouver Island.

Honoree: Chuck Sams

Citizen of the Cocopah Nation with family ties to the Yankton Sioux and Cayuse Tribe in Oregon, Chuck has dedicated his work and board volunteer service to the conservation, protection and repatriation of tribal land and natural resources in the Northwest through both native and non-native organizations. His work helps support healthy, vibrant tribal communities. Through his efforts, he has helped reconnect youth to the way of the salmon and foster an intergenerational sharing of knowledge. Chuck, his wife Lori, and their three children, Rosey, Chauncey, and Clara live in Pendleton, Oregon.


2011 Honorees

Clan Chief Adam Dick

Nora Dauenhauer

Wayne Warren Don

Delores Ann Pigsley

Chuck Sams


Astrid Scholz
tel: 503.467.0758
Download vCard

Jason Pretty Boy
Indigenous Resilience Fellow
tel: 503.467.0803


Copyright © 2013 Ecotrust