The Nevada Indian Commission will honor four Nevadans on Nov. 5 at the Governor's Mansion in Carson City for their important contributions that have helped the American Indian community in Nevada.
The 2011 American Indian Achievement Awards Banquet and Silent Auction is the first statewide effort to recognize those individuals in the state who have influenced the lives of American Indians.
Gov. Brian Sandoval has proclaimed November as American Indian Heritage Month.
"I congratulate the recipients of this year's awards at the American Indian Achievement Award Banquet," Sandoval said. "I applaud the award winners for their leadership and commitment to preserving the American Indian community in Nevada."
The chairman of the Nevada Indian Commission also praised the recipients and the program.
"Last year's first annual American Indian Achievement Awards ceremony was a resounding success," said Ted Quasala. "The Nevada Indian Commission is proud and honored to be a part of recognizing those Nevadans who have unselfishly contributed to making Indian country a better place. "Congratulations to all the nominees."
The five-member Indian Commission Executive Board selected the award recipients. The commission's mission is to ensure the well-being of American Indian citizens statewide through development and enhancement of the government-to-government relationship between the state of Nevada and Indian tribes and through education for a greater cultural understanding of the state's first citizens. The commission was established in 1965 to be the conduit between the governor and the 27 federally recognized Nevada tribes.
"Each and every one of this year's recipients is well-deserved," said Sherry Rupert, executive director of the commission. "They all have shown remarkable leadership and achievement. We are very pleased to be able to honor these four individuals during American Indian Heritage Month."
Receiving Achievement Awards in each category are:
- American Indian Community Leader of the Year: Wanda Batchelor, chairwoman of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, for her exemplary leadership. She is the tribe's first chairwoman and has been active in the preservation of cultural and traditional interests for tribes and tribal interests on the state and federal level.
- American Indian Youth Services/Role Model of the Year: Sheryl Hicks, Walker River Paiute tribal member, for her commitment and dedication to the advancement of American Indian youth in Nevada and her assistance in developing the first Paiute language course within the Washoe County School District.
- American Indian Youth Ambassador of the Year: John Rupert, 10, a descendent of the Duck Valley Shoshone-Paiute Tribe and the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California, for his outstanding leadership, academic achievement, cultural knowledge and being a positive role model for other American Indian youth.
- Contributor/Supporter of the Year: Hilman Tobey, 96, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, for his lifelong contribution to the American Indian traditional way of life. His knowledge of the traditional culture of Nevada's tribes and traditional American Indian arts has served to educate the public and his community about Northern Nevada.
Gayle Johnson, a Bishop Paiute tribal member, will provide the evening's entertainment, with all proceeds from the evening benefiting the Stewart Indian Cultural Center.
For information on the Nevada Indian Commission and the Achievement Awards Banquet, visit www.nic.nv.gov, and for more information on the Stewart Indian Cultural Center, visit www.StewartIndianSchool.com.