Dancer from the 2009 Inaugural Pow Wow

(Courtesy: Vincent Schilling)

Dancer from the 2009 Inaugural Pow Wow

American Indian Society’s 2013 Inaugural Ball and Powwow Announces “Lifetime Legacy Award” Winners

The American Indian Society's 2013 Inaugural Ball and Powwow has annouced this years "Lifetime Legacy Award" winners. 

The AIS Lifetime Legacy Award, presented by the American Indian Society of Washington, DC, is awarded to a Native American whose life's work has led to the improvement and empowerment of Native Americans through social, political, legal, environmental, or educational initiatives. This award is the organization's most prestigious award and past honorees include Floyd Crow Westerman, Mitchell Bush, and LaDonna Harris.

With incredible live performances including Grammy winner Star Nayea and Native American Music Award winners Michael Bucher and Levi and the Plateros, the Inaugural Ball and Powwow is a four-day extravaganza to be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriot Hotel in Arlington, VA on January 18 – 21.  "Lifetime Legacy Award" winners will be honored during the American Indian Inaugural Ball on January 20. 

According to the 2013 Inaugural Ball Chairman Peter J. Homer, Jr. (Mohave/Shasta, Colorado River Indian Tribe), “We selected four individuals who have shown outstanding leadership and dedication to the improvement of the lives of Native Americans. These two men and two women have dedicated their lives to empowering their people – we want them to know that their people recognize their sacrifices and appreciate all they have done.”

Here are the 2013 honorees:

Billy Mills

Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota (Sioux) (Oglala Lakota) is the National Spokesperson for Running Strong for American Indian Youth and the only American to ever win the 10,000 Meter Olympic Gold. For nearly 30 years, Mills has worked tirelessly through his Running Strong organization, building water wells, log homes, dialysis clinics, youth centers, and a Boys and Girls club, bringing basic necessities to the people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Mills is also a motivational speaker and best-selling author who travels 300 days a year bringing his message of empowerment to native youth across the world.

Elouise Cobell

Elouise Cobell (Blackfoot Confederacy) was an elder and activist, banker, rancher, and the plaintiff in the groundbreaking litigation Cobell v. Salazar, which challenged the United States' mismanagement of trust funds belonging to more than 500,000 individual Native Americans. The settlement is the largest ever in a class action against the federal government

Billy Frank, Jr.

Billy Frank, Jr. (Nisqually), Chairman, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) is a respected environmental leader and treaty rights activist, known for his intense dedication to the treaty fishing rights cause. Also known for promoting cooperative management of natural resources, Frank has received numerous awards, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award (1990), for humanitarian achievement and the Albert Schweitzer Prize (1992), for humanitarianism.

Gay Kingman

Gay Kingman (Cheyenne River Sioux, South Dakota), Executive Director to the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association and a fierce defender of tribal rights and sovereignty, is honored for her 25-year career as teacher, principal, tribal college president, and her work as former Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians and Public Relations Director of the National Indian Gaming Association.

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American Indian Society's 2013 Inaugural Ball and Powwow Announces "Lifetime Legacy Award" Winners

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