2023 Arizona American Indian Excellence in Leadership Awards

Awardees will be honored at the dinner ceremony at the Heard Museum on Nov. 30th, 2023. 

We have sold out for this year’s event. For questions call 602-264-6768. 

To view previous winners, click here. 

Arizona American Indian Excellence in Leadership Awards Event Details

Date: Thursday, November 30, 2023

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

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



Congratulations to the 2023 Awardees:

Ivan Makil  (Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community)

Kent C. Ware Lifetime Achievement Award

Founder, Generation Seven Strategic Partners & Former SPRMIC President

Joy Hanley  (Navajo)

Phyllis J. Bigpond Lifetime Achievement Award                 

Former Board Chair of the Association on American Indian Affairs

Ofelia Zepeda (Tohono O’odham)

Spirit of the Heard Award 

(presented by the Heard Museum)

Shawn Martinez  (Navajo)

Man of the Year Award

Director of Live Presentation for the Phoenix Suns

Dr. Michelle Huyser (Navajo)

Woman of the Year

Research Fellow, Phoenix Indian Medical Center

Resident Physician, UCSF East Bay Surgery

Urias Communications

Business of the Year

Katreena Hayes-Wood 

Friend of the Community

Co-Founder, Native American Women’s Conference

Reva Stewart (Navajo)

Volunteer of the Year

Community Advocate/ Fraudulent Rehabilitation Homes 

Jalen Harvey (Navajo)

College Student of the Year Award

University of Arizona / UNITY Western Representative 

Elise Lamas (Tohono O’odham)

High School Student of the Year Award

Copper Canyon High School / FINAL Youth Council Secretary

Artie Steele (San Carlos Apache Nation)

College Student of the Year Award

San Carlos Apache College

Michael Tupponce Jr (Chickahominy Indian Tribe Eastern Division)

High School Student of the Year Award

Junior, Country Gardens Charter 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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