NASAI | June 11-13, 2017

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Dr. Henrietta Mann Leadership Award

The Dr. Henrietta Mann Leadership Award is presented to Native (American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian) 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, Kansas.

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.”

Past Dr. Henrietta Mann Leadership Awardees

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. She currently chairs the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. Leonard served as co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee for Northern Arizona University as well as other subcommittees of the Arizona Board of Regents.

Leonard is a graduate of Northern Arizona University. She began her professional career as a social worker for the Phoenix Indian Center in 1983. She has spent more than 29 years working with the Hopi Tribe government focusing on education.

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. Under her leadership, the fund has grown in value from $10 million to over $21 million.

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. She is world-renowned for her research; her work in Indigenous pedagogy; and her support of accreditation for Indigenous education systems, programs, and communities.

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. Her experience as a teacher in Hawaiian language immersion programs in P–12 and postsecondary education has helped her develop and refine teaching and learning processes that are grounded in Hawaiian epistemology, ontology, and axiology. Dr. Kawai‘ae‘a’s many publications have helped other Hawaiian educators better understand how to support the growth of children, especially those of Hawaiian ancestry, through Hawaiian culture–based educational frameworks.

Dr. Kawai‘ae‘a has participated in policy development, research, and programming that have enabled Hawaiians and other Native communities worldwide to exercise their right to educate their young in Indigenous ways. As she says, though our language may no longer live in our homes, we can, through education, build a new generation that can communicate at home, in schools and work places, and beyond, in the language of our ancestors.