4 Nevada tribal members honored with American Indian Achievement Awards
CARSON CITY, Nev. — Four Nevadans were honored on Saturday, Nov. 18, 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, were this year’s honorees at the eighth annual American Indian Achievement Awards Banquet and Silent Auction.
“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, in a press release promoting the event. “This awards banquet recognizes this good work and the lasting impact it has on our Nevada tribes.”
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.
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.
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.
This year, the event featured the Mt. Edgecumbe High School Yu’pik Dance Group from Sitka, Alaska. The students performed traditional Yu’pik songs and dances as part of the dinner.
The phrase “Indian Education” itself invokes generations of federal legislation aimed to assimilate via education. Modern day, the Title VI Indian Education Program administered by the Bureau of Indian Education provides federal funds to various educational institutions of students enrolled in federally recognized tribes.