Recipients of Arizona American Indian Excellence in Leadership announced

Phoenix Indian Center awards individuals and organizations for leadership in the American Indian community in Arizona.

Phoenix, Arizona - The Phoenix Indian Center announces the recipients of the 2018 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 in Arizona or have provided significant contributions to the local 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. "Please join us as the community comes together to celebrate and recognize the awardees at our annual leadership awards dinner. Congratulations to these remarkable individuals and organizations! Let's spread the word about the great things these leaders have accomplished."

The 2018 award recipients are:



Kent C. Ware Lifetime Achievement

Baje Whitethorne, Sr. (Navajo)

Renowned Navajo Artist, Founder of Art of the People

Phyllis J. Bigpond Lifetime Achievement

Delia Carlyle (Ak-Chin Indian Community)

Tribal Council Member and former Chairwoman

Community and Civic Leader



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

LuAnn Leonard (Hopi/Tohono O'odham)

Executive Director, Hopi Education Endowment Fund

Community Leader, Committed to the Advancement of Higher Education



Man of the Year

Gabriel Ayala (Yaqui)

Classical Guitarist

Classically Trained Musician, Composer, and Award Winning Artist



Woman of the Year

Dawn Melvin (Navajo/Hopi)

Tribal Tourism Relations Manager, Arizona Office of Tourism

Leader in Partnership Development and Tribal Tourism Relations



Business of the Year

KUYI Hopi Radio

Bonnie Secakuku - General Manager (Hopi)

Committed to Preserving Culture and Tradition Through Radio



Volunteers of the Year

Phoenix Indian Medical Center Auxiliary

Top Community Supporter and Volunteer Group



Friend of the Community

Eve's Fund for Native American Health Initiatives

Barbara Crowell Roy - President

Commitment to Health & Wellness in the American Indian Community



Female College Student of the Year

Jennifer Jones (Navajo)

Senior - Arizona State University

Young Leader, Royalty and Commitment to Renewable Energy Generation



Male College Student of the Year

Lyndon Guy (White Mountain Apache)

Junior - University of Arizona

Young Leader,



Female High School Student of the Year

Jowun Ben (Navajo)

12th Grade - Camelback High School

Youth Leader, Vice President of Future Inspired Native American Leaders



Male High School Student of the Year

Adam Cardona (Gila River Akimel O'odtham)

12th Grade - Cesar Chavez High School

Youth Leader, President of Cesar Chavez Youth Council

KJ Bowen Scholarship Awardee

Netawn Marsoobian (Navajo)

12th Grade - Chandler High School

Youth Leader, President of Chandler High School Native American Club

Join in the celebration! The Arizona American Indian Excellence in Leadership Awards dinner will be held on Wednesday, November 14, 2018, at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort and Villas in Scottsdale, Arizona, dinner and program begin at 6:00 p.m. Individual tickets can be purchased for $60. Sponsorship and table purchase opportunities are also available. For details and to purchase tickets, Click Here.

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