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First American Indian Woman Receives Statewide Award in Wisconsin

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Gwen Carr, Cayuga, has made a care out of politics and government at the state and federal levels. It’s only fitting that she be honored for her work.

Today at 1 p.m. Carr will receive the 2011 Virginia Hart Award, becoming the first American Indian woman to receive the honor. The award is named after Virginia Hart, the first woman to serve in a Governors cabinet. The annual honor is given in Hart’s memory to women in government that portray excellence in public service and whose contributions to the public are substantial.

“I am deeply honored to be nominated and to receive an honorable mention award this year,” said Carr, I am humbled to be recognized for the work I have done in Wisconsin to provide opportunity for American Indians and other communities throughout the state”

Carr who is a resident of Appleton, Wisconsin, first worked for the White House in the Clinton Administration as the first political director of American Indian Affairs at the Democratic National Committee, in Washington, D.C. She later worked at the Wisconsin Department of Commerce creating American Indian business opportunities before becoming the first Wisconsin Department of Transportation Tribal Liaison. Carr is the founder and chair of the Wisconsin American Indian Democratic Caucus.

“Gwens’ extraordinary vision, creativity and dedication to her People and to tribal sovereignty have made her a role model for leadership. We are fortunate to have her here and I am very proud of her achievements” said Ada Deer, Menominee, the first woman Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs, Department of Interior and Distinguished Lecturer Emerita, School of Social Work and Director, American Indian Studies programs, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

“We are very proud of Gwen, we honored her with the first Business Advocate of the Year award in 2010, said Craig Anderson, Dakotah, President of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin. “Her work on behalf of American Indians in Wisconsin is one of the prime reasons Indian businesses have had opportunity and unprecedented success in the last eight years. Gwen never gives up.”

The award ceremony will be at the State Capitol in the Senate Parlor.