Phoenix Indian Center Announces Leadership Awards Recipients

Posted By on June 23, 2021

The Phoenix Indian Center, a leader in the American Indian community and the oldest American Indian nonprofit in the United States, announced the 2021 Arizona American Indian Excellence in Leadership Awards recipients.

For 38 years, the Leadership Awards have recognized individuals, companies and organizations for their excellence of work, innovation in approach and impacts within Arizona’s American Indian community.

“I am honored by the strong leadership and work ethic shown by each of these awardees. It is an understatement to say the past year has not been easy, yet these leaders never faltered in their service to Indian Country. Their impressive work on a local and national scale has illustrated what we have always known: Strong leadership and commitment to community are inherently part of our values as Indigenous peoples. I look forward to watching their continued success,” said Traci Morris, president of the Phoenix Indian Center board of directors.

The 2021 honorees are:

Kent C. Ware Lifetime Achievement: Dr. James RidingIn (Pawnee), Retired, Arizona State University

Phyllis J Bigpond Lifetime Achievement: Barbara Poley (Laguna and Hopi), Retired, Hopi Foundation Lomasumi’nangwtukwsiwmani

Man of the Year: Christopher Sharp, M.S.W., M.P.A (Colorado River Indian Tribes and Mohave), Director of the Office of American Indian Projects & Clinical Assistant Professor, Arizona State University

Woman of the Year: Ethel Branch (Navajo), Interim Executive Director + Board of Directors Chairperson, Navajo + Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund

Business of the Year: Titan Facility Services LLC, David Beaver (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska) – CEO

Volunteer of the Year: Medicine Wheel Riders and the Rez Riders

Friend of the Community: Raul Mendoza (Tohono O’odham), Retired, Educator and Basketball Coach

Female College Student of the Year: Trinity Manuelito (Navajo), Student – Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Male College Student of the Year: Shay Allison (Navajo), 2021 Graduate – Arizona State University

Female High School Student of the Year: Angel Polk (San Carlos Apache), Student – Xavier College Preparatory High School

Male High School Student of the Year: Stephen Louis (Navajo), 2021 Graduate – Higley High School

Founded in 1947, the Phoenix Indian Center directly serves more than 7,000 individuals annually and more than 20,000 through related outreach by providing services in workforce development, cultural enrichment, youth services and prevention programs.

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