San Diego, CA – From 87 applicants, six tribal governance programs have been selected as 2015 Awardees by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development’s  Honoring Nations program at the National Congress of American Indian’s 72nd Annual Convention in San Diego, CA. The prestigious Honoring Nations award identifies, celebrates, and shares exemplary programs in tribal governance. At the heart of Honoring Nations is the principle that tribes themselves hold the key to generating social, political, cultural, and economic prosperity and that self-governance plays a crucial role in building and sustaining strong, healthy Indian nations.

As Honoring Nations Board Chairman, Regis Pecos (Cochiti Pueblo) says, “Honoring Nations celebrates the resilience of Indian Nations in response to the challenges they face in the maintenance of the Original Instructions as our Forefathers did, in their time, defining our inheritance of a way of life.”

Administered by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development (Harvard Project) at Harvard Kennedy School, Honoring Nations is a member of a worldwide family of “governmental best practices” awards programs that share a commitment to the core idea that government can be improved through the identification and dissemination of examples of effective solutions to common governmental concerns.  At each stage of the selection process, applications are evaluated on the criteria of effectiveness, significance to sovereignty, cultural relevance, transferability, and sustainability. Since its inception in 1998, over one-quarter of all tribes in the US have applied for an award; currently 124 tribal government programs have been recognized from more than 80 tribal nations.

Honoring Nation’s Program Director Megan Minoka Hill (Oneida Nation WI) explains, “The Honoring Nations awardees are exemplary models of success and by sharing their best practices, all governments – tribal and non-tribal alike – can benefit.”

Presentations and dissemination of the work of the 2015 Awardees will include exhibits at the Smithsonian Institution, a web platform through Google Cultural Institutes and Google Earth, written and video reports and case studies, executive education curriculum, and national presentations.

The six tribal programs awarded for excellence and innovation in governance include:

  • Academic Readiness Effort – Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians
  • Ho-Chunk Village – Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska
  • Kenaitze Tribal Court – Kenaitze Indian Tribe
  • Nez Perce Tribe Fisheries Department – Nez Perce Tribe 
  • Ohero:kon “Under the Husk” Rites of Passage – Haudenosaunee Confederacy
  • School Based Health Center – Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes


Moana Palelei HoChing
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