Native American Times
By Thom Wallace March 1, 2011
WASHINGTON – The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) has announced the recipients of the organization’s prestigious Indian Country Leadership Awards. Senator Daniel Akaka (D – HI) Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and long time tribal leader and advocate Billy Frank Jr. will be honored Monday by the organization for outstanding contributions to Indian Country. Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation who passed away in 2010, will be recognized posthumously among the 2011 recipients. NCAI will honor her by naming the organization’s fellowship program in her honor.
“Unwavering leadership is an important quality of a hero in Indian Country; each of the awardees have proven their commitment through actions, changing Indian Country for generations to come,” said Jefferson Keel, President of NCAI and Lieutenant Governor of the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma. “It is a personal honor to be able to posthumously recognize the lasting legacy of Wilma Mankiller. Her example as a tribal citizen and tribal leader is a standard that will live forever.”
The organization will name its fellowship program, “The Wilma Mankiller Fellowship Program for Tribal Policy and Governance.”
NCAI, the nation’s oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization, will present the awards during a Monday evening award reception held in conjunction with its Executive Council Winter Session in Washington, D.C.