American Indian Society to Honor Center for Native American Youth with First Daniel K. Inouye Indigenous Spirit Award

To honor the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-HI) and his decades of service in the United States Congress on behalf of indigenous people, the American Indian Society has announced the “Daniel K. Inouye Indigenous Spirit Award” to be presented during the AIS American Indian Inaugural Ball on Sunday, January 20, 2013.

The award will be presented collectively to The Center for Native American Youth, its founder and Chairman retired U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan and the Center’s Executive Director Erin Bailey.

According to Pete Homer Jr., (Mohave/Shasta, Colorado River Indian Tribe) the 2013 American Indian Inaugural Ball Chairman, “This award was created and will be presented in recognition of work by an organization or non-Native individual who exhibits the spirit of Senator Inouye’s dedication to improvement of the lives of indigenous people.”

“After careful consideration, the AIS working group collectively agreed that the tireless dedication to our Native youth and work in Indian country that has been demonstrated by Former Senator and CNAY Chairman Byron Dorgan, CNAY Executive Director Erin Bailey and the Center for Native American Youth as a whole – is exactly what this award stands for.”

"I am grateful to the American Indian Society for recognizing our efforts at the Center for Native American Youth. It is a special honor to receive an award named after a great friend and a champion for Indian affairs - Senator Daniel Inouye,” Dorgan said.

“I created this organization because I believe all Americans must do more, working with tribal authorities, to address the needs in Indian country and improve the lives of our youngest First Americans. I am proud of what we have accomplished thus far but there is much more to be done. Thank you to the American Indian Society for their past and future support," he continued.

Bailey stated, "I am humbled and honored by the American Indian Society recognizing me, the Center and our founder. The organization exists to ensure a constant spotlight on Native American youth issues, drive new resources to the needs of Indian country, while also sharing the incredibly inspirational stories of Native youth.

“Our work and accomplishments would not have been possible without strong partnerships and support from tribal leaders, youth and longstanding champion advocates like those behind the American Indian Society," she added.

Watch CNAY’s one year anniversary video below: