Gov. Lewis is recognized as an Honorary Champion for Change in D.C.

Roberto A. Jackson

Gila River Indian News



Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis was selected as an Honorary Champion for Change awarded by the Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) at a reception in Washington D.C., on Feb. 11. 


“He’s done so much for Indian Country and we’re really grateful that he’s able to accept this award,” said Nikki Pitre, Acting Executive Director for the CNAY at the Aspen Institute.


Every year in conjunction with the National Congress of American Indians Executive Session, the CNAY hosts what they call Champions Week and select five young people as Champions for Change. The Champions for Change program is a Native youth leadership initiative designed to highlight positive stories of impact from Indian Country. 


Shavaughna Underwood (Quinault Indian Nation), Warren Davis (Navajo Nation), Isabella Madrigal (Cahuilla Band of Indians & Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians), Owen Oliver (Quinault Indian Nation (Chinook) & Isleta Pueblo), and Jazmine Wildcat (Northern Arapaho) were selected as the 2020 Champions for Change.


Gov. Lewis joins Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sec. Sally Jewell, Rep. Deb Haaland, Rep. Sharice Davids, among other past recipients of the Honorary Champion for Change award.


Gov. Lewis was selected for championing young women and girls with his support of VAWA and his “vision for the next generation,” and “making sure that youth are empowered and that their voice matters,” according to Pitre.  


The CNAY was founded in 2011 by former U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan and is a policy program part of the Aspen Institute. “We have grown into a lot of leadership and recognition programs, which includes Champions for Change,” said Pitre. 


Gov. Lewis was joined by GRIC youth including members of the Akimel O’odham/Pee Posh Youth Council and Miss Gila River Tyler Owens and Jr. Miss Gila River Susanna Osife. He was also congratulated by NCAI President Fawn Sharp.