Nevada Indian Commission to honor Nevadans at American Indian Achievement Awards banquet Nov. 2

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CARSON CITY, Nev. — The Nevada Indian Commission will honor four Nevadans at 5 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Governor’s Mansion in Carson City for their contributions to the American Indian community. The American Indian Achievement Awards Banquet and Silent Auction is now in its fourth year and is the first statewide effort to recognize people in the state who have positively influenced the lives of American Indians.

Gov. Brian Sandoval has proclaimed November as American Indian Heritage Month.

“Congratulations to the recipients of this year’s awards at the American Indian Achievement Awards banquet,” Gov. Sandoval said. “Each winner has shown leadership and a commitment to preserving the American Indian community in our great state. I applaud their work and the work of the American Indians in Nevada.”

NIC chairman Richard Arnold said the event continues to recognize Nevadans who are dedicated to representing American Indian people in a positive light.

“The banquet continues to be a huge success and allows us to raise funds to support our efforts in establishing a cultural center at the former Stewart Indian School (in Carson City),” Arnold said.

The five NIC members selected the 2013 award recipients.

“The awards banquet … celebrates the extraordinary leadership and achievements of Nevadans working in and for Indian Country,” NIC Executive Director Sherry Rupert said. “The event is a great way to celebrate these individuals and to celebrate American Indian Heritage Month.”

Award winners in each category are as follows:

  • American Indian Community Leader of the Year: Arlan Melendez, chairman of the Reno Sparks Indian Colony, for his visionary leadership and steadfast advocacy on health care issues on behalf of American Indians statewide and nationally.
  • American Indian Youth Services/Role Model of the Year: Dr. Debra Harry, a Pyramid Lake Paiute tribal member, for her advocacy of human rights and for cultivating of a new generation of leadership committed to the protection and perpetuation of the rights, culture and life ways of indigenous peoples in the Great Basin.
  • American Indian Youth Ambassador of the Year: Jordan M. Williams, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Lame Deer, for her outstanding leadership, academic achievement and athleticism, and for being a positive role model for other American Indian youth.
  • Contributor and Supporter of the Year: Paulette Cummins, vocational rehabilitation counselor with the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, for her passion in ensuring that American Indian constituents attain a positive employment outcome from their participation in the state’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Ralph Burns of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, a 2013 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Award, will entertain, along with traditional American Indian storytellers Norm Cavanaugh of the Western Shoshone and Juanita Kinalichini of the Moapa Band of Paiutes. All proceeds from the event will benefit the establishment of a Stewart Indian Cultural Center.

For information on the Nevada Indian Commission and the American Indian Achievement Awards, visit www.nic.nv.gov. For information on the Stewart Indian Cultural Center, visit www.StewartIndianSchool.com. Details: 775-687-8333 or llotts@nic.nv.gov.

The Nevada Indian Commission’s mission is to ensure the well-being of American Indians statewide through development and enhancement of the government-to-government relationship between the state of Nevada and Indian tribes, and through education for a greater cultural understanding of the state’s first citizens. The NIC was established in 1965 to be the conduit between the governor and the 27 federally recognized Nevada tribes.

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Chris Moran
About Chris Moran 214 Articles

Chris Moran has lived in Reno since 1996, and currently works at the Nevada Division of Tourism as a public relations specialist. She is a former editor and writer at the Reno Gazette-Journal, and has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Her hobbies include skiing, hiking, reading, photography, coffee and coffeehouses, and exploring Nevada. Check out her blog at www.ChrisinNevada.wordpress.com.