2019 Arizona American Indian Excellence in Leadership honorees announced

(Photo: Phoenix Indian Center)

Cross country coach, tribal leader, a current and former state representative, and national news organization among distinguished awardees

News Release

Phoenix Indian Center

The Phoenix Indian Center announces the recipients of the 2019 Arizona American Indian Excellence in Leadership Awards. This annual recognition celebrates individuals and organizations in Arizona who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to the advancement, promotion, and development of the cultural, educational, social, economic, or political welfare of the American Indian community, or have provided significant contributions to the American Indian economy.

"Each year we have an exceptional group of honorees who have made a tremendous impact in the American Indian community, and this year is no exception," said Phoenix Indian Center CEO, Patricia Hibbeler. "We invite the entire Arizona community to join us in celebrating and recognizing the awardees at the annual leadership awards dinner. We congratulate these remarkable individuals and organizations," added Hibbeler. 

The 2019 award recipients are:

Rick Baker, Tewa/Hopi Tribe

Kent C. Ware Lifetime Achievement

Educator, Hopi Junior/Senior High School

Cross Country coach with 27 state championships

Tia Bruisedhead, Walla Walla/Yakama/Diné

Phyllis J. Bigpond Lifetime Achievement

Counseling Faculty, Scottsdale Community College

Change maker through counseling and teaching

Baje Whitethorne, Sr., Navajo

Spirit of the Heard Award (presented by the Heard Museum)

Renowned Navajo Artist, Founder of Art of the People

Honorable Stephen Roe Lewis, Gila River Indian Community

Man of the Year

Governor, Gila River Indian Community

Committed to promoting and protecting the Community's shudag (water) and agricultural development

Honorable Jennifer Jermaine, White Earth Ojibwe

Woman of the Year

State Representative, Arizona House of Representatives

Chairwoman for the statewide taskforce investigatingmissing and murdered women and girls advocate

Wenona Benally, Navajo

Woman of the Year

Assistant Attorney General for Pascua Yaqui Tribe and former State Representative

Missing and murdered women and girls advocate

Indian Country Today

Business of the Year

Mark Trahant - Editor (Shoshone-Bannock Tribe)

Committed to preserving culture and tradition through journalism

Sheila Lopez, Diné

Volunteers of the Year

Diversity Program Manager, Intel Corporation

Volunteer and advocate for LGBTQ2S

Tony Davis

Friend of the Community

Detective, City of Phoenix Police Department

Committed to protecting and advocating for the American Indian Community

Shailene Edwards, San Carlos Apache Tribe

Female College Student of the Year

Student - Arizona State University

Young Leader committed to Health and

Wellness in the American Indian Community

D. Gonzales, Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community

Male College Student of the Year

Student - Northern Arizona University

Young Leader and Entrepreneur 

Candice Joe, Navajo

Female High School Student of the Year

Student - Sierra Linda High School

Youth Leader, Future Inspired Native American Leaders Corresponding Secretary

Tristan Craig, Navajo/White Mountain Apache

Male High School Student of the Year

Student - New School For the Arts and Academics

Youth Leader, Future Inspired Native American Leaders Council Member

The Arizona American Indian Excellence in Leadership Awards dinner will take place on Wednesday, November 13, 2019, at The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona, at 5:00 p.m. Individual tickets can be purchased for $60 at www.phxindcenter.org or by calling 602-264-6768. Sponsorship and table purchase opportunities are also available. For details Click Here.

About Phoenix Indian Center

Founded in 1947, the Phoenix Indian Center is the oldest American Indian non-profit organization in the United States. Each Year, the center directly serves more than 7,000 individuals, and more than 20,000 through related outreach, by providing services in the areas of job readiness, cultural enrichment, youth services, and prevention programs. Learn more at www.phxindcenter.org.

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(Image: Phoenix Indian Center)
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