The Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award
The awards process moves through two tiers of panels. A Reading Panel of at least three Ecotrust staff people and at least three outside readers examines all nominations. A majority of the Reading Panel will always be Native people, ideally from various locations in the bioregion. The panel uses 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. They also have served or presently serve on Ecotrust and Ecotrust Canada's Board of Directors. The present Final Jury members are Dalee Sambo Dorough (Inupiaq), Alan Parker (Chippewa-Cree), Chief Leah George-Wilson (Tsleil Waututh Nation), Kathy Hill (Klamath Tribes), Antone Minthorn (Cayuse), and non-voting members, Ecotrust founder and president, Spencer B. Beebe and program director, Elizabeth Woody (Navajo-Warm Springs-Wasco-Yakama). Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson (Haida Nation) and Gerald Amos (Haisla Nation) were on the original Jury Panel.
Leah George-Wilson is the elected Chief and member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) located in North Vancouver, BC. Ms. George-Wilson is also elected co-chair for the First Nations Summit (2004–present). Currently, she is Director of Treaty, Land and Resources for the TWN. She previously served as Self-Government Coordinator and as a speaker on First Nations governance. She is a board member for the Legal Services Society, the Canadian Tourism Commission and Ecotrust Canada. Leah holds an anthropology degree from Simon Fraser University.
Alan Parker (Chippewa-Cree, Rocky Boy Indian Reservation) is a member of the faculty at Evergreen State College and Director of the Northwest Indian Applied Research Institute (NIARI). He is the former director of the National Indian Policy Center at George Washington University; Chief Counsel, then Staff Director, for the Select Committee on Indian Affairs at the U.S. Senate; and President of the American Indian National Bank. He currently is serving as Secretary to United League of Indigenous Nations. Recently, Alan Parker survived a series of heart attacks and was featured in the Indian Country Today article "Miracles happen."
Kathleen Hill (Klamath Tribes) earned her law degree from the University of Washington in 1994 and received a Master of Law degree in International Sustainable Development, focusing on water and the sustainability of tribal nations. She is a small business owner and lives and works in Chiloquin, Oregon, with her Lakota husband, Joseph Dupris. Kathy was an Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award (formerly known as the Buffett Award) finalist in 2002 and presently serves on the Ecotrust Board. She and Joseph currently work on tribal water and environmental issues with the National Tribal Water Council.
Dalee Sambo Dorough (Inuit, Alaska) has been active in the promotion and protection of indigenous human rights at the United Nations, the Organization of American States and other international forums. She has also worked for years with numerous Tribal leaders throughout Alaska. She holds a Ph.D. in Law from the University of British Columbia (2002) and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (1991) from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
Antone Minthorn (Cayuse) is the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indians Board of Trustees Chairman and held this position for five years prior to his recent re-election, and General Council Chairman for 15 years. He began his career with the tribes as Resident Planner in the early years of the Development Office and eventually coordinated the collaborative and historic water exchange project known as the Umatilla Basin Project, which restored salmon to the Umatilla river after a 70-year absence. This work through the years to advance tribal sovereignty and salmon restoration has brought him great respect within the United States and from Tribal leaders from many nations. Antone was the first Vice President of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and has been Chairman of the ATNI Economic Development Committee since 1985.
Spencer B. Beebe, Ecotrust President, is a fourth generation Portlander who spent fourteen years with the Nature Conservancy before helping found Conservation International in 1987. In 1991, he founded Ecotrust to focus his work on the rain forests of home. He serves on the boards of Ecotrust and Ecotrust Canada, Ecotrust Forest Management, Inc., the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute and Walsh Construction Company of Portland.
Elizabeth Woody, the first Director of Ecotrust's Indigenous Leadership Program, supports a growing network of Native American and First Nations leaders. The Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award recognizes five tribal leaders each year for their catalytic efforts to strengthen communities. Woody inaugurated the first award in 2001 (formerly known as the Buffett Award) and continues to support the Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award process as a way of honoring hard work, relationship building, and finally, celebration.