102-year-old Lakota Winyan makes Hall of Fame

Left to Right: Bobbi Meszaros, Board Member, Walter Lamer, Board President, Ben Night Horse Campbell, Joy Harjo, Jamer Parker Shield, CEO, Ernie Stevens Jr., Famous Dave Anderson, Emil Notti, Richard West, Holly Cook, Board Member, Frances Alverez, Board Member, Front sitting: Marcella Lebeau.(Courtesy Photo)


OKLAHOMA CITY – The sounds of drumming, honor songs and the Southern Cheyenne color guard and more than 1,000 people attended the 2021 induction ceremony for the National Native American Hall of Fame (NNAHF), to honor eight Native American icons.

In its third induction event, NNAHF added eight contemporary Native Americans to the role of contemporary Native Americans who have “survived colonization and remained resilient in keeping traditional languages alive, cultural practices performed and sacred sites safe.”

Walter Lamar, (inducted in 2019), NNAHF Board President summed it up: “The Hall of Fame is committed to being the camp circle, where our stories continue to be told honoring our relatives, our heroes.  Those currently standing in the Hall of Fame have distinguished themselves in the arts, athletics, government, advocacy, education, military service, the written word and even space travel.  Their stories represent strength, resiliency, intellect, bravery, creativity, commitment, dedication and a true representation of who we are.”

2021 inductees included: Dave Anderson, Business Category, aka “Famous Dave”, Choctaw/Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojiibewe who established Famous Dave’s Barbeque, a national Restaurant franchise. He also served in many other offices and has dedicated time and resources to at-risk Indian youth and has been nationally, regionally and tribal recognized time over again.

Ben Nighthorse Campbell: Government Category; Northern Cheyenne, first Native American to serve in the U.S. Senate in more than 60 years.  He served 22 in public office, first at a state legislator in Colorado then U.S. House of Representatives and two terms in the U.S. Senate.  He was one of 44 tribal chiefs, Korean veteran, award-winning silversmith and captain of the U.S. judo team in the 1964 Olympics.

Joy Harjo: Writing Category, Muscogee Creek, fist Native U.S. Poet Laureate, critically acclaimed poet, who has received numerous national awards and fellowships for her many books and is a founding member of Native Arts and Cultures Foundations

Marcella Lebeau: Medicine Category, Cheyenne River Sioux.  Highly regarded for health policy leadership spanning eight decades.  A registered nurse, serving is U.S. Army during WW11. Marcella (see related story) 102 years old, still spry and clear has received awards too numerous to list.

Emil Notti: Advocacy Category (Athabascan.  Founder and first President of Alaska Federation of Natives, founded 1966, a driving force behind the Alaskan Native Claims Settlement Act, 1971. He is an electrical and astronatical engineer and has served the State of Alaska in several capacities.

Katherine Siva Saubel: Culture Category, (Posthumous) Morongo Band of Mission Indians. Scholar and activist for preservation of language and culture, creating the first Cahuilla-English dictionary and first tribal museum.

Ernie Stevens, Sr.:  Government Category Oneida.  Served numerous leadership positions in urban areas, federal tribal government, and first staff director for Select Committee on Indian Affairs. Advocated for sovereignty, self-determination, self-governance and Native rights for nearly half a century, integral to changing federal Indian policy from termination to tribal self-determination. He was also a U.S. Marine Korean Veteran.

  1. Richard West: Arts Category. Cheyenne/Arapaho. Founding director of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. A lawyer he has served as counsel to numerous Tribes, communities and organizations and is a member of the Southern Cheyenne Society of Peace Chiefs.

The induction ceremony included a brief video highlighting the accomplishments of each inductee, introductions by close associates, award of a plaque, remarks by each inductee and the presentation of a blanket from NNAHOF.  Walter LaMarr, Wichita Board President and Tim Tall Chief, Osage shared the microphone, co-master of ceremonies for the event.

Area tribal dignitaries attending the event included; Gordon Yellowman, Southern Cheyenne; (Invocation); Terri Parton, President, Wichita Tribe; Gary Batton, Chief, Choctaw Nation; Jack Austin, Jr. Assistant Chief, Choctaw Nation; Lewis Johnson, Chief, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma; Brian Palmer, Assistant Chief, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma; Mitchell Beardline, La Courte Orielles Council Woman; Louis Taylor, La Courte Oreilles Tribal Chairman; Mary Anne Andreas: Morongo Band of Mission Indians Council Woman; Reggie Wassana, Governor, Cheyenne/Arapaho Tribe; Nathan Hart, Cheyenne/Arapaho Tribes; D’ Pharocoh Won-A-Tail (starring as “Bear” on Reservation Dogs, Anishinaabu (Canada).

The NNAHOF is committed to providing generational continuity with the past while exemplifying and honoring the evolving Native American in modern society.  It recognizes contemporary Native Americans. “the ones whose deeds are many and powerful.”

Previous inductees into the National Native American Hall of Fame include:  Lionell Bordeaux, Rosebud Sioux, Education; Elouise Cobell, Blackfeet Nation, Advocacy; Vine Deloria, Jr., Standing Rock Sioux, Writing; Ladonna Harris, Comanche Nation, Advocacy; John Herrington, Chickasaw Nation, Science; Allan Houser’Haozous, Chiricahua Apache, Arts; Wilma Mankiller, Cherokee Nation. Government; Billy Mills, Oglala Sioux, Athletics; N. Scott Momaday, Kiowa, writing; Lorie Piestewa, Hopi, Military; Maria Tallchief, Osage, Arts; Jim Thorpe, Sac and Fox Nation; Athletics; Lucy Covington, Colville Tribes, Advocacy; Ada Deer, Menominee, Advocacy; Louise Erich, Turtle Mountain Chippewa, Writing; Billy Frank, Jr. Nisqually Tribe, Advocacy; Forrest Gerard, Blackfeet Nation, Government; Hattie Kauffman, Nez Perce Tribe, Journalism; Oren Lyons, Onondaga Nation, Spiritual; Richard Oakes, Mohawk Nation, Advocacy; Elizabeth Peratrovich, Tlingit Nation, Advocacy; Pascal Poolaw, Kiowa Tribe, Military; Mary Ross, Cherokee Nation, Science and Wes Studi, Cherokee Nation, Arts.

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