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Purpose

The Native American Student Advocacy Institute (NASAI) has assembled a dedicated community of educators and tribal education leaders to address the educational challenges facing Native students. NASAI seeks to galvanize and build national networks to enhance the academic performance of American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander students and to close the educational achievement gap.

Dr. Henrietta Mann Leadership Award

The Dr. Henrietta Mann Leadership Award is presented to Native (American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander) individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to Native students, advancing Indigenous communities, and fostering the development of future leaders. The award honors those individuals who exemplify the spirit of Dr. Mann’s legacy.

The presentation of the Dr. Henrietta Mann Leadership award at the annual NASAI conference provides an opportunity for our community to thank and acknowledge leaders for their tireless advocacy and work to improve lives within our Native communities.

Biography of Dr. Henrietta Mann

Dr. Henrietta (Henri) Mann is a renowned leader in Native education and has been recognized nationwide for her leadership, vision, and inspirational guidance in this field.

Dr. Mann is a Cheyenne enrolled with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, and the founding president of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 1954, a master’s degree from Oklahoma State University in 1970, and a PhD in American studies from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, in 1982. Native American education has been the foundation of her work for more than 50 years.

Dr. Mann was the first individual to occupy the endowed chair in Native American Studies at Montana State University, Bozeman, where she is professor emeritus and continues to serve as special assistant to the president. She was employed at the University of Montana, Missoula, where she was director/professor of Native American studies for 28 years. She has also taught at the University of California, Berkeley; the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University; and Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kan.

In addition, Dr. Mann has served as the director of the Office of Indian Education Programs and deputy to the assistant secretary for Indian affairs. She also served as the national coordinator of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act Coalition for the Association on American Indian Affairs.

In 1991, Rolling Stone named Dr. Mann one of the 10 leading professors in the nation.

Learn more about Dr. Mann:

Quotes from Dr. Mann:

  • “The longest journey a leader will ever take is the one from the head, to the heart, and back again.”
  • “We are the keepers of this Earth. Those are divinely mandated instructions to us. We are at an incredible challenge at this point of our journey. We have been blessed by being Indigenous. What a blessing, and what a responsibility.”
  • “A Sundance woman is like the morning star, filled with spiritual beauty, wisdom, and knowledge. Men and women are the most powerful of the polarities. We walk beside men as equal partners. It takes men and women who have respect and love for one another to live within the embrace of Father Sky and Mother Earth.”
  • “This Earth is our mother and something that all leaders of the world should put first and treat this Earth as we would do our very own mothers: with respect, with love, and protection.”

2018 - Dr. Henrietta Mann Leadership Awardee

Dawn Kauʻilani Sang

Dawn Kauʻilani Sang is the current director of the Office of Hawaiian Education in Hawaiʻi’s Department of Education. She guides the work of the nearly 14,000 educators in the development and implementation of Hawaiian knowledge—language, cultural practice, history, and place—in schools across the state. Sang’s dedicated leadership has improved the lives of the 180,000+ students in our public system. Dawn Kauʻilani Sang has, over the last two decades, become one of the most formidable advocates and leaders of Hawaiian and Native education.

Past Dr. Henrietta Mann Leadership Awardees

2017: Karen Francis-Begay

Karen Francis-Begay is assistant vice president of tribal relations at the University of Arizona (UA). She serves as key representative and liaison between tribal leaders and the university to strengthen partnerships and advance mutual goals.

2016: LuAnn Leonard

In 2008, LuAnn Leonard was appointed to an eight-year term on the Arizona Board of Regents by then-governor Janet Napolitano. Leonard, who is Hopi and Tohono O‘’odham, is the first Native American to serve on the board.

Leonard is currently the executive director of the Hopi Education Endowment Fund, a nonprofit organization that provides scholarship funds for Hopi students throughout the United States, as well as educational programs for the Hopi people.

2015: Dr. Keiki Kawai‘ae‘a

Dr. Keiki Kawai‘ae‘a is a highly respected advocate and leader of the Hawaiian language movement. For the last 36 years, her life has been dedicated to the betterment of Native children and families through the strengthening of Hawaiian language education. Dr. Kawai‘ae‘a is the director of Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.