2022 Arizona American Indian Excellence in Leadership Awards 

The Phoenix Indian Center proudly announces the 2022 Arizona American Indian Excellence in Leadership Awards honorees!  This annual event boasts an impressive list of leaders whose work impacts the American Indian Community statewide and nationally. Awardees will be honored at the dinner ceremony.

Date: November 30, 2022

Time: Registration 5:00 PM | Dinner 6:00 PM

Location: Heard Museum (2301 N. Central Ave. | Phoenix, AZ)

Congratulations to the 2022 Awardees:

Al Pooley (Hopi/Navajo)

Kent C. Ware Lifetime Achievement Award

Founder, Native American Fatherhood and Families Association

Linda Salabiye Yazzie  (Navajo)

Phyllis J. Bigpond Lifetime Achievement Award                 

President of the Holbrook School District Governing Board

Jones Benally (Navajo)

Spirit of the Heard Award 

(presented by the Heard Museum)

Allen King (Zuni Pueblo/Navajo)

Man of the Year Award

Vice President, Sunrise Native Recovery

Pilar Thomas (Pascua Yaqui)

Woman of the Year

Partner, Quarles & Brady LLP

Native Art Market

Heather Tracy – Co-Founder (Navajo)

Business of the Year

Alberto Esparza

Friend of the Community

President, I Rise Foundation

Glory Ann Lewis-Garcia (Yavapai Apache Tribe)

Volunteer of the Year

Recovery Activist/ Entrepreneur American Indian Arts and Food

Cante Zephier (Yankton Sioux Tribe/Navajo/Spirit Lake Dakota)

College Student of the Year Award

Senior, Arizona State University

Avery Hines (Yavapai Apache Nation)

High School Student of the Year Award

Senior, Mingus Union High School

Sumaya Quitugua (Acoma Pueblo)

High School Student of the Year Award

Senior, Perry High School

More Information

The Phoenix Indian Center is organizer and host of this annual awards process and is proud to continue the legacy of presenting leadership awards to individuals in the American Indian community.  This awards process has continued for over thirty-five years and is formerly knows as the NARD or Native American Recognition Days Awards.  There are several categories to recognize individuals in Arizona for the exemplary work they do.

Click here to view a list of past awardees.

Nominations are open to the general public. Co-workers, friends, family, businesses, and organizations may nominate an individual. We encourage you to notify the individual that you are submitting their name, complete the nomination form fully, and submit with supporting documents such as a resume and awards.  Once we receive the nomination information, the Phoenix Indian Center will contact the nominee to congratulate them and obtain additional required information if necessary.

Adult Award Criteria

  • Demonstrated excellence of leadership in the community or business
  • Demonstrated creativity and initiative in their profession with regards to representing the American Indian community
  • Provided valuable length of service to the community by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for American Indians
  • Exhibits commitment to service to the community by devoting time and energy to areas outside of their normal business to the American Indian community
  • Affects positive change in the profession, workplace, school and community
  • Is respected and seen as a leader amongst peers
  • Have shown leadership in self or through school clubs, activities and demonstrated excellence in academics, creativity and initiative
  • Demonstrates strong leadership that is both culturally and non-culturally-based
  • Is perceived as a leader amongst peers, educators and community.
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above
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