Native Action Network To Present 'Enduring Spirit' Awards


More than 150 Native women will join together at the Swinomish Lodge to engage in an intergenerational exchange of knowledge that features positive role models and leadership development. This year’s theme, “The Power of Indigenous Women—Reaching Hands Across Borders” will honor and recognize the importance of sisterhood both here in the United States and across borders with sisters in Canada and beyond.

The 9th Annual Native Women’s Leadership Forum panels feature women from a wide range of experiences and backgrounds. Topics include:

• A Call to Action—Indigenous Women’s Voices

• Managing Social Media Campaigns

• Equal Pay for Women

• Advocating Your Issue

• Partnering for Change

This full day leadership forum takes place on April 5, 2013 at the Swinomish Lodge in Anacortes, Washington.

Included in the Forum registration is the Enduring Spirit Honoring luncheon, a special awards presentation, during which four women will be honored for their lifetime achievements in serving their people and communities. These amazing women have shared their talents, cultural knowledge, and expertise to positively impact: tribal self-determination, economic development, community health and wellness, the educational needs of youth, and the retention and preservation of culture. Honorees are nominated by their community for outstanding recognition of their lifelong contributions to building, strong, healthy Native communities.

The Enduring Spirit Award was created back in 2001 specifically to honor Native women who have devoted their lives to working for and on behalf of their communities creating positive outcomes. In 2006, the Sister Spirit award was born to recognize women who are forging new paths and new directions for Native people. To date, over 35 women have been honored. The 2013 Enduring Spirit Honorees include:

• Virginia Bill, Upper Skagit

• Beverly Peters, Swinomish

• Patricia Whitefoot, Yakama

• Teri Gobin, Tulalip

The featured luncheon speaker is Jessica Gordon, Co-Founder of Idle No More. Jessica and her cofounders have played an instrumental role in the international movement promoting education and the revitalization of Indigenous peoples through Awareness and Empowerment. IDLE NO MORE has successfully encouraged knowledge sharing of Indigenous Sovereignty and Environmental Protections.

Native Action Network is a grassroots volunteer organization that promotes civic participation and leadership development through ongoing forums, workshops, and honoring sessions. The Network is staffed by committed community volunteers who give of their time, energy, and expertise to make a positive impact on community affairs. For more information on the 9th Annual Native Women’s Leadership Forum and Enduring Spirit Honoring Luncheon and to access the agenda and registration information, visit their website at: www.enduringspirit.org


Virginia Bill (Upper Skagit) has worked with tireless dedication to improve and promote education and educational opportunities for Native people for the past 40+ years. Her faith, sense of humor, traditional grace, and intelligence have endured and succeeded in realizing her dream, which was, as she transitioned from high school to college; to “change the nation for a better place for all of us.” Virginia is currently the GED/ABE coordinator at Swinomish Northwest Indian College (NWIC).

Beverly Peters (Swinomish) serves as the Caregiver Program coordinator where she has worked to recruit, support and promote the training of tribal members as caregivers for STC elders. Bev acts as the Youth Compliance Officer for the STC Tribal Court. In this capacity, she collaborates closely with the tribal court and tribal law enforcement. She provides one on one consultation to young STC community members, providing supervision as an alternative to incarceration. Throughout this process, Bev is there to help and guide them on positive path.

Patsy Whitefoot (Yakama) has devoted her life to improving education for Native students. At the urging of her grandmother, Patsy obtained a B.A. with a Teaching Certificate in Education from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington and a M.A. from Ft. Wright College in Spokane, Washington. For almost 40 years, she has been teaching, facilitating and managing Indian Education and community mobilization programs from preschool to higher education at the local, tribal, state and national level.

In her role as an educator, she advocates her ancestors’ vision of holistic health, environmental and spiritual well-being with origins in the Native languages, values, cultures and histories of the aboriginal landscapes of the Americas.

Teri Gobin (Tulalip) is dedicated to assisting Tribal Members and others to improve the quality of their lives through education and training to enhance their skill level for new career and business opportunities. Teri has been instrumental in developing new Tribal Code Laws that protect the workforce and provide preference in employment, contracting and economic opportunities for her people. She inspires others as she stands firmly planted and shares her beliefs and walks her talk in giving her community and people all her love and dedication to build a stronger and better healthier living for all in the community.