Carson City event will honor four people for contributions to American Indian community | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City event will honor four people for contributions to American Indian community

Guy Clifton
Special to the Appeal

The Yupik Dancers will perform at the American Indian Achievement Awards.

Four Nevadans will be honored on Saturday at the Governor's Mansion for their contributions to the American Indian community.

Fawn Douglas, Loni Romo, Quecholli Fortunate Eagle and state Sen. Julia Ratti, D-Sparks, are this year's honorees at the eighth annual American Indian Achievement Awards Banquet and Silent Auction.

The event, which also celebrates American Indian Heritage Month, starts at 4:30 p.m.

"It is a great honor to be able to celebrate American Indian Heritage Month and the outstanding role models in Nevada's tribal communities," said Sherry L. Rupert, executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission. "This awards banquet recognizes this good work and the lasting impact it has on our Nevada tribes."

Gov. Brian Sandoval proclaimed November as American Indian Heritage Month for Nevada.

The banquet culminates a statewide effort to recognize Nevadans who have positively influenced the lives of American Indians.

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Douglas, the Community Leader of the Year, is a member of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe, where she previously served as a tribal councilwoman. In 2015, Douglas graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, with a bachelor's in arts, painting and drawing. During her time at UNLV, Douglas served as a member of the Native American Student Association. She's recognized for her organizing and activist work supporting American Indian causes.

Romo, the Youth Services Role Model of the Year, is a member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. She's pursuing a master's in counseling at the University of Nevada, Reno. She has dedicated her career to supporting American Indian students' journey through education. Romo has worked as a counselor at Pyramid Lake High School, served as the Native American Graduate Advocate in the Washoe County School District, and was a student leader for the Intertribal Higher Education program at UNR.

Fortunate Eagle, the Youth Ambassador of the Year, is a member of the Stillwater Shoshone Tribe. During his time at Reed High School, Fortunate Eagle was involved in the Native American Club and was president for two years. He advocated for native students at Reed, helped to organize club events, and organized students on important issues. He learned the Paiute language because he genuinely wanted to preserve it for future generations. Fortunate Eagle is now the Reed High School Paiute language instructor, the youngest person to teach at that level.

Ratti, the Contributor/Supporter of the Year, was instrumental in the passage of Senate Bill 244, a bill that integrates American Indian beliefs in the event of disruption, discovery, disposition and repatriation of human remains or other important American Indian cultural resources. Thanks to her efforts, American Indians in Nevada have a voice in what happens when their ancestors' sacred remains and or funerary objects are disturbed on state and private land.

The American Indian Achievement Awards helps raise funds to support preservation of the Stewart Indian School. Tickets are $60 and can be purchased online at http://www.stewartindianschool.com.

This year, the event will feature the Mt. Edgecumbe High School Yu'pik Dance Group from Sitka, Alaska. The students will perform traditional Yu'pik songs and dances.

The Nevada Indian Commission selected the 2017 award recipients. The group's mission is to ensure the well-being of Nevada's American Indians, 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.

For information on the Nevada Indian Commission and the Achievement Awards Banquet visit http://www.nic.nv.gov and for information on the Stewart Indian School Living Legacy visit http://www.StewartIndianSchool.com or contact Denise Becker at 775-687-8333 or dmbecker@nic.nv.gov.