CAMBRIDGE, MA – The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development’s Honoring Nations program is pleased to announce the selection of 19 semifinalists for the 2015 cycle of the prestigious Honoring Nations awards. 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 70 outstanding tribal programs representing 110 tribes and five tribal consortia. Nineteen of the most innovative and successful programs were selected 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 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.

“The Harvard Project’s Honoring Contributions in the Governance of American Indian Nations celebrates our peoples, not only as survivors, but as innovators and designers for our next generations,” said Chief Oren Lyons, Chief and Faithkeeper of the Onondaga Indian Nation and chairman emeritus of the Honoring Nations Board of Governors.

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 and is a member of a worldwide family of “governmental best practices” awards programs. As the program’s Director Megan Minoka Hill (Oneida Nation of WI) explains, “By recognizing success, Honoring Nations gives a voice to outstanding examples of innovation and excellence in tribal governance and serves to transform and inspire local governments across the Indian Country and beyond.”

Semifinalists Programs:

  • Academic Readiness Effort, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, California
  • Comanche Nation Funeral Home, Comanche Nation, Oklahoma
  • First to Implement HEARTH Act-Residential Leasing, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, Michigan
  • Flathead Finance Program, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Montana
  • GeoSpatial Information, Chickasaw Nation, Oklahoma
  • Healthy and Whole, Suquamish Tribe, Washington
  • Ho-Chunk Village, Winnebago Tribe, Nebraska
  • Kenai Peninsula CASA, Kenaitze Indian Tribe, Alaska
  • Khapo Kidz Initiative, Pueblo of Santa Clara, New Mexico
  • Menominee Model of Long-Term Care, Menominee Indian Tribe, Wisconsin
  • Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative, Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa
  • Native American Drug and Gang Initiative, Bad River, Ho-Chunk, Lac Court Oreilles, Lac du Flambeau, Menominee, Oneida, Red Cliff, St. Croix, and Stockbridge-Munsee Tribal Communities, Wisconsin
  • New Home Construction Program, Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma
  • Nez Perce Tribe Fisheries Department, Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho
  • Ohero:kon "Under the Husk" Rites of Passage,          Mohawk Nation/Akwesasne, New York
  • School Based Health Centers, Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, Montana
  • Tiny Turtles Preschool Program, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, North Dakota
  • Witaya Care, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Minnesota
  • Yurok Tribe Sustainable Forest Project, Yurok Tribe,  California
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