The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development’s Honoring Nations program announced its list of semifinalists for the 2016 Honoring Nations Awards. Selected from more than 80 entries, the prestigious group of 18 semifinalists represents a wide range of justice, education, cultural affairs, economic development, environment and natural resources, intergovernmental relations, health and social services, and government performance programs across Indian Country. Honoring Nations identifies, celebrates and shares excellence in American Indian tribal governance. At the heart of Honoring Nations are the principles that tribes themselves hold the key to generating social, political, and economic prosperity and that self-governance plays a crucial role in building and sustaining strong, healthy Indian Nations.

This year’s applicants included 83 outstanding tribal programs representing 135 tribes and 10 tribal consortia. Eighteen of the most inventive and successful programs were chosen to advance as semifinalists (see below). These programs have demonstrated tremendous impact in their communities and evidenced great effectiveness, significance to sovereignty, transferability and sustainability – the criteria by which Honoring Nations assesses applicant programs. Each of these programs will be presented to the Honoring Nations’ Board of Governors, and the Board will select six applicant programs to receive site visits. In October, the Honoring Nations Board will select three programs as High Honors and as many as three other programs will be selected as Honors. Awarded programs provide models of success.  By sharing their best practices, all governments – tribal and non-tribal alike – can benefit.

“Honoring Nations is providing an extraordinary centerpiece to the convergence of a wonderful spirit between the hard work of tribal leaders at one level and the hard work by their people on the ground,” said Regis Pecos (Cochiti), Chairman of the Honoring Nations Board of Governors.

As a member of a worldwide family of “governmental best practices” award programs, Honoring Nations is the flagship program of The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The program’s director, Megan Minoka Hill (Oneida Nation of WI) explains, “These awards recognize exemplary creativity and innovation in tribal governance. Time and time again, Honoring Nations awardees provide valuable lessons and practices for local governments, both tribal and non-tribal, to learn from and hopefully replicate.”

Semifinalist Programs:


Moana Palelei HoChing
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