Educator and humanitarian Phil Lane Jr. honored


Receives 2008 Center for Healing Racism Ally Award

HOUSTON - The Center for the Healing of Racism announced that the 14th annual Ally Award was presented to international indigenous humanitarian, educator and Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. at a June 21 luncheon in Houston. Lane received the award for his national and international work in promoting freedom and justice for indigenous people by building human and spiritual capacity that focuses on healing the root causes of racism.

For more than 40 years, Lane, an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux and Chickasaw tribes, has worked unceasingly to strengthen the human family, especially that of indigenous people. Following are a few highlights of his years of service:

*Presented Native culture and history programs at elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities.

*Guided the development of rural community development and basic literacy programs for Quechua and Aymara Indians across Bolivia.

*Developed and managed programs for single Indian mothers and their children from across North America.

*Served as the founding director of the Native American School of Government at the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington.

*Started the first indigenous cultural education and self-help program for Indian men in the North American prison system. This kind of programming for indigenous inmates has now spread to most prisons in Canada and the U.S.

*Co-founded Four Worlds International Institute, a Canada-based organization designing and implementing extensive culturally based, participatory community development work with indigenous communities.

*Taught 16 years as an associate professor and coordinator for the Four Worlds International Institute at the University of Lethbridge - Alberta, Canada. Four Worlds became an independent institute in 1995. As well, Lane is president of Four Directions International, an aboriginal company, which was incorporated in 1996 as Four Worlds' economic development arm. Four Directions International is dedicated to the development of sustainable economic enterprises that support holistic, political, social, cultural, environmental, spiritual and educational development.

*Served as the director of both planning and of education and, more recently, as CEO, of the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation in Seattle, Wash. This organization grew from a staff of three to a staff of more than 100. Among the foundation's achievements include the launching of the first Native American film festival, the development of a host of innovative education programs ranging from curriculum design and development to adult and early childhood education, and the recent founding of a holistic poverty-alleviation program model.

Special emphasis on this award is for Lane's dedicated work as one of the primary leaders in the resolution of Canada's residential school issue that involved the abuse of thousands of Canadian aboriginal peoples.

The efforts led by Lane, the late Phil Lucas and other aboriginal leaders in Canada resulted in a $3 billion settlement for thousands of survivors of residential schools and their descendants, a full apology by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the floor of Parliament, and the establishment of a nationwide Truth and Reconciliation Commission that will hold hearings that will examine federal policy and record testimony from survivors.

Lane has extensive experience in his own cultural traditions, is an award-winning author and film producer, and holds master's degrees in education and public administration. His film credits include the National Public Television series ''Images of Indians'' with the late Will Sampson, ''Walking With Grandfather,'' ''The Honor of All: The Story of Alkali Lake'' and ''Healing the Hurts.''

In August 1992, Lane was the first indigenous person to win the prestigious Windstar Award, presented annually by the late John Denver's Windstar Foundation to a global citizen whose personal and professional life exemplifies commitment to a global perspective, operates with awareness of the spiritual dimension of human existence and demonstrates concrete actions of the benefit for humans and all living systems of the Earth. At this international event, in recognition of his lineage and longtime service to indigenous peoples and the human family, indigenous elders from across North America recognized Lane as a hereditary chief through a Sacred Headdress ceremony.

On Nov. 11, 2000, Lane received the Year 2000 Award from the Foundation for Freedom and Human Rights in Berne, Switzerland. Lane joined a select international group: the Dalai Lama of Tibet; Boutro Boutros Ghali, former secretary general of the United Nations; and British Lord Yehudi Menuhin, musician and philosopher.

Having completed his tenure as CEO of United Indians, Lane is now transitioning into global leadership as international coordinator for the International Institute of Indigenous Development. This institute will promote The Fourth Way Initiative. The ''Fourth Way'' takes a sacred and holistic path towards ending escalating cycles of poverty and violence and helping to build sustainable and harmonious prosperity in communities worldwide.

The Ally Award is an annual award presented by the Houston-based Center for the Healing of Racism to honor the achievements of those who have worked hard to achieve harmony of all ethnic and cultural groups. The center is a world-renowned grass-roots organization dedicated to the elimination of racism.