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News Release

Grand Canyon Trust

On Tuesday, January 11, 2022, at 3:00 pm MST, former Navajo Nation Chairman and first President of the Navajo Nation, Peterson Zah, will receive the 2021 Grand Canyon Trust Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes exceptional individuals who have accomplished significant conservation for the Grand Canyon and the Colorado Plateau.

Zah will be honored for his life’s work, including significant contributions to conservation of the environment and advancing tribal sovereignty.

During his long career, Zah led national tribal efforts in Congress to strengthen many federal environmental laws. In his time as president and chairman, Zah renegotiated mineral, coal, oil, and gas leases with major energy companies to better benefit the Navajo people, and created permanent trust funds, now valued at several billion dollars, dedicated to culture, language, education, health, governance, infrastructure, and land restoration.

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The award will be presented during a small private ceremony. Members of the public can tune into the ceremony virtually at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83197071336 or by phone at (602) 753-0140 using webinar ID: 831 9707 1336.

“Peterson Zah's extraordinary leadership made clear that within the ambiguity of modernism and tradition, righteousness, and tremendous influence could come from homegrown legitimacy and purpose,” said Grand Canyon Trust Board Chair Jim Enote.

“Peterson has truly been a giant in this region, and well beyond. We are so honored to recognize Peterson, his achievements, and his profoundly positive impacts on this world,” said Grand Canyon Trust Executive Director Ethan Aumack.

Past recipients of the Grand Canyon Trust Lifetime Achievement Award include former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt (2003), former Arizona Congressman and Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall (2004), and the writer Terry Tempest Williams (2010). The award, established in 2003, has been given only six other times; Zah will be the seventh recipient.

Founded in 1985, the Grand Canyon Trust is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to safeguarding the wonders of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado Plateau, while supporting the rights of its Native peoples.

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