CARSON CITY – The Nevada Indian Commission will honor two Nevadans and one corporate supporter for their contributions to the American Indian community Nov. 17 at the Stewart Indian School Gym in Carson City.
The American Indian Achievement Awards Banquet and Silent Auction, now in its ninth year, is a statewide effort to recognize Nevadans who have positively influenced the lives of American Indians.
This year’s honorees include Laurie Thom as community leader of the year, Christina Thomas as the youth services role model of the year, and Barrick Corporate Social Responsibility Division-Native American Affairs Team as the contributor/supporter of the year.
“A lot of great work is being done in Nevada’s tribal communities and the Commission is honored to be able to celebrate those accomplishments,” said Sherry L. Rupert, executive director of the Nevada Indian Commission. “All of this year’s recipients have served as outstanding role models and made a lasting impact for our Nevada tribes. We are proud to recognize their efforts.”
The event also celebrates American Indian Heritage Month. Gov. Brian Sandoval proclaimed November as American Indian Heritage Month in Nevada.
Thom has served her people as the chairman of the Yerington Paiute Tribe beginning in 2015. She has worked tirelessly on behalf of the community – whether it is being a leader in education reform or meeting with congressional leaders on issues of trust land responsibilities.
Thomas is an educator and activist making a difference in the maintenance of indigenous culture. After learning the Paiute language in her early 20s, she became an advocate for the continued teaching and revitalization of the language. She has taught Paiute language through programs at the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and at Reed High School in Sparks, contributing greatly to the development of these programs.
Barrick Corporate Social Responsibility Division, Native American Affairs team is an arm of the international mining company that has meaningfully contributed to the support and advancement of eight Western Shoshone Nevada tribes and communities for over the past decade.
These partnership endeavors have made a significant impact among the communities of Battle Mountain Band, Elko Band, Wells Band, the South Fork Band of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone, the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, Ely Shoshone Tribe, Shoshone-Paiute Tribe of Duck Valley and the Yomba Shoshone Tribe.
The American Indian Achievement Awards help raise funds to support preservation of the Stewart Indian School, according to Rupert, the longest serving executive director of the commission. Tickets are $60 and can be purchased at www.stewartindianschool.com.
This year’s event will feature a performance by Taylor Susan, the reigning Miss Indian World.
Susan, 25, is a citizen of both the White Mountain Apache Tribe and the Walker River Paiute Tribe of Nevada. This past May, she graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in political science with an emphasis in law and public policy and obtained two minors in chemistry and theater.
The Nevada Indian Commission selected the 2018 award recipients. The agency’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 www.nvculture.org/indiancommission.