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The Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award: Guidelines

Nominations are now open. The deadline for submission of documents is April 15, 2014.

The families of Peter and Howard Buffett founded the Ecotrust leadership award to honor outstanding individual leaders in the indigenous communities of Oregon, Washington, California, Western Montana, Nevada, Idaho, Alaska, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. The Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award is a recognition program with an endowed monetary award. This award recognizes an individual who demonstrates durable qualities of leadership for improvement of the social, economic, political and environmental conditions in his or her homelands. Honorees are respectfully asked to attend the annual awards ceremony that is traditionally held in November.

Who is eligible?

Individuals are eligible if they are First Nation or tribal members, over 35 years of age, and work, or have worked, with an indigenous organization or community within the states of Oregon, Washington, California, Western Montana, Nevada, Idaho, Alaska, or the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. We refer to the major part of this geography as the Pacific salmon territory of North America. The nomination is stronger if the individual has support of his or her tribes or work organization. The nominee is someone who is working on issues which serve to improve the community's resource base, cultural base, economic security or health and wellness. Previous finalists of the award are ineligible with the exception of the finalists of 2001–2002 who did not receive a cash award, but Ecotrust requires nominators submit a new packet of materials. Current employees of Ecotrust and its affiliates are ineligible.

How do I nominate someone?

Ecotrust accepts nominations all year but announces the specific nomination deadline and award ceremony date during the second quarter of the year.

Specific criteria:

What qualities are valued in this award?

The Reading and Jury Panels use these values in the determination of the finalists and awardee:

How may the fellowship be used?

This award is a cash resource in recognition of outstanding leadership. It also affords Ecotrust the important opportunity to expand its knowledge of and experience with indigenous communities. There is potential to share information, learn and encourage mutual enrichment. The award may be used by the recipient for activities in any combination of the following areas:

At the core of this program is a dialogue about the importance of what is presently happening in indigenous communities, and how others can support these communities and core values.

What will the awardee need to provide Ecotrust?

The one-year fellowship does not represent a grantor-grantee relationship. It is a relaxed mutual exploration of the awardee's topic and activity. Ecotrust and the awardee will begin with an agreement in principle for the year of the fellowship, and statement of expectations of positive outcome. Completion of the fellowship concludes with a one- to two-page statement of use of funds written to Ecotrust, explaining how the award made a difference in the life and community of the individual.

What happens in the selection process?

Ecotrust typically accepts nominations year round but announces the specific nomination deadline and award ceremony date in February every year. After the nominations are closed, a Reading Panel, which includes three Ecotrust staff people and at least three outside readers, read all nominations. A majority of the Reading Panel is always Native people, ideally from various locations in the bioregion, who use a consensual process to select five nominations to forward to the Final Jury. The Final Jury is comprised of eminent indigenous leaders who agree to make the final selection of the awardee and guide the program's processes and policy. The Final Jury members include Dalee Sambo Dorough (Inupiaq), Alan Parker (Chippewa-Cree), Chief Leah George-Wilson (Tsleil Waututh Nation), Antone Minthorn (Cayuse), and non-voting members, Ecotrust founder and Board Chair, Spencer B. Beebe and Elizabeth Woody (Navajo-Warm Springs-Wasco-Yakama).

For the nominator

Please submit one nomination letter and one nomination contact form for each nomination. Formats of both are online or you may call, write, or email us for materials or assistance. Please note, the nomination letter is critical and has the greatest persuasive influence in the review selection and so it is very important that the letter follow the recommended format. The nomination contact form helps the staff to keep in touch with the nominator and nominee if there are any questions. The nomination letter template may assist you in the format and content of the letter and facilitate the reader's understanding of the nominee's qualities. The nomination should describe the candidate's accomplishments in detail, using the template as a guide.

The deadline for submission of documents for the 2014 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award is April 15, 2014. Please send nominations to Jason Pretty Boy, Indigenous Resilience Fellow.

Nominations or questions may be directed to:

Jason Pretty Boy, Indigenous Resilience Fellow - Ecotrust Leadership Award
721 NW 9th Avenue, Suite 200
Portland, OR 97209
United States

tel: +1 503.467.0803, cell: +1 208.871.8009
fax: +1 503.222.1517

Our Work

Nomination Guidelines

2012 Award

2011 Award

2010 Award

2009 Award

2007 Award

2006 Award

2005 Award

2004 Award

2003 Award

2002 Award

2001 Award

All Honorees 2001–2012

Jury Panel


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


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