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Nevadans honored at American Indian awards banquet

Nevada Appeal Staff Report

The Nevada Indian Commission will honor four Nevadans for their contributions to the American Indian community during its annual American Indian Achievement Award Banquet on Saturday.

“Congratulations to the recipients of this year’s awards at the American Indian Achievement Award Banquet,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval, who proclaimed November as American Indian Heritage Month. “Each winner has shown leadership and a commitment to preserving the American Indian community in our great state. I applaud their work and the work of the American Indians in Nevada.”

The American Indian Achievement Awards Banquet and Silent Auction will be at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Governor’s Mansion. It is in its fourth year and is the first statewide effort to recognize people who have positively influenced the lives of American Indians.

“The banquet continues to be a huge success and allows us to raise funds to support our efforts in establishing a cultural center at the former Stewart Indian School,” said Richard Arnold, commission chairman.

The five members of the Nevada Indian Commission, which was established in 1965 to be the conduit between the governor and the 27 federally recognized Nevada tribes, selected the 2013 award recipients.

Ralph Burns of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Western Shoshone Norm Cavanaugh and the Moapa Band of Paiutes’ Juanita Kinalichini will entertain, with all proceeds from the event benefiting the establishment of the Stewart Indian Cultural Center.

Receiving Achievement Awards are:

American Indian Community Leader of the Year: Arlan Melendez, chairman of the Reno Sparks Indian Colony, for work on health care.

American Indian Youth Services/Role Model of the Year: Dr. Debra Harry, a Pyramid Lake Paiute tribal member, for her advocacy of human rights.

American Indian Youth Ambassador of the Year: Jordan M. Williams, Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Lame Deer member, for being a role model for other American Indian youth.

Contributor and Supporter of the Year: Paulette Cummins, vocational rehabilitation counselor, Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, for ensuring that American Indians get jobs via participating in the state’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program.