Gov. Lewis among honorees at the American Indian Excellence in Leadership awards
Gila River Indian News
The Phoenix Indian Center celebrated its 37th Annual Arizona American Indian Excellence in Leadership Awards, where Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis was the recipient of the Man of the Year Award. The event was held at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale, Ariz., Wednesday, Nov. 13.
The event brought together 350 people for this year’s ceremony. Patricia Hibbler, Phoenix Indian Center CEO, said, “I look forward to everyone connecting and, most importantly, hearing from the awards recipients and why they are so gracious in receiving their award.”
Upon receiving the award, Gov. Lewis stated, “There has been monumental change, but there is still more work to be done.” These are the words bestowed to Gov. Lewis by his father, Rodney B. Lewis. For that, Gov. Lewis said, “I accept this award on behalf of all my past leaders of my people, of the Akimel O’otham and Pee Posh including those current and past elected leaders.”
“My proudest role is to be a father to my son, Daniel Lewis,” said Gov. Lewis. In addition to recognizing his family in attendance, Gov. Lewis recognized and expressed deep appreciation for his staff present. Gov. Lewis also acknowledged the GRIC Urban Members Association and thanked the Phoenix Indian Center for providing services for those that reside off the reservation.
Thirteen awards were given to statewide nominees. Ten of the 13 were present to receive their awards this year. Musician Gabriel Ayala, last year’s Man of the Year, emceed the event alongside Ms. Jowun Ben, last year’s Outstanding High School Student awardee. Ira H. Hayes American Legion Post No.84 provided the posting and retirement of the colors for the evening.
Kent C. Ware Award – Rick Baker (Hopi) – Physical Education Teacher, Hopi Junior Senior High School
Phyllis J. Big Pond Award – Tia Bruised Head (Walla Walla/Yakama/ Diné) – Counseling Faculty Scottsdale Community College
Spirit of the Heard Award – Baje Whitethorne, Sr. (Navajo) – Renowned Artist (presented by the Heard Museum)
Man of the Year – Honorable Governor Stephen R. Lewis (Gila River Indian Community) – Governor, Gila River Indian Community
Woman of the Year – Honorable Representative Jennifer Jermaine (White Earth Ojibwe) – State Representative, Arizona Legislative District 18 and Honorable Representative Wenona Benally, former (Navajo) – Assistant Attorney General, Pascua Yaqui Tribe
Business of the Year – Indian Country Today – Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock Tribe), Editor
Volunteer of the Year – Sheila Lopez (Diné) – Diversity Program Manager, Intel Corporation
Friend of the Community – Tony Davis – Detective, City of Phoenix Police
College Student of the Year – D. Gonzales (Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community) – Northern Arizona University
College Student of the Year – Shailene Edwards (San Carlos Apache) – Arizona State University
High School Student of the Year – Tristan Craig (White Mountain Apache Tribe/Navajo) 12th Grade – New School for the Arts and Academics
High School Student of the Year – Candice Joe (Navajo) 12th Grade – Sierra Linda High School