Phoenix Indian Center presents leadership awards

December 4, 2015


Christopher Lomahquahu, GRIN


The Phoenix Indian Center held its annual leadership award ceremony honoring 12 individuals for their achievements in education and for their commitment to tribal communities.


The Arizona American Indian Excellence in Leadership Awards ceremony was held Nov. 19 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort ballroom.


Rodney Lewis, Gila River Indian Community, received the Kent C. Ware Lifetime Achievement Award. Lewis was GRIC’s general counsel and led negotiations for the settlement of the Community’s water rights claims. The Arizona Water Rights Settlement Act was signed by former President George W. Bush in 2004.


Lewis said there have been many signs of progress for American Indians in Arizona.


“There has been monumental change, but there is more work to be done,” said Lewis.


He was thankful for the Community and it’s past leadership for supporting him during his legal career.


Izaiah Lopez, a senior at Cesar Chavez High School, was named High School Student of the Year.  Lopez’s parents are Calvin Lopez, Tohono O’odham Nation, and Dora Barehand, GRIC District 6. 


The award is given to high school students who exhibit leadership skills while participating in organizations and groups, including maintaining a high grade point average in their academics. 


Lopez has matured into an exceptional student (3.2 grade point average) while staying active as a volunteer. “I was the shiest person in the room, but once you get out of your shell you realize how much you can do,” said Lopez.


After graduation, Lopez said, he would like to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Biology.   


The other awardees were Lucille Watahomigie (Hualapai Tribe), Herman Honanie (Hopi Chairman), Dr. Manley Begay (Navajo), Patty Ferguson-Bohnee (Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe), Yellow Bird Productions (Ken and Doreen Duncan), Canyon Records (Owner Robert Doyle), Robert Johnston (Muscogee Creek, Choctaw), Maria Bartlett (Pascua Yaqui Tribe), Waylon Phillips (San Carlos Apache), and Kristiann Ferreira (San Carlos Apache).