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Native Sun News Today: Ben Nighthorse Campbell honored as 'Trailblazer'

Kevin Gover, the director of the National Museum of the American Indian, and Walter Echohawk, the chairman of the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums, present retired Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (center) with Trailblazer award and Pendleton blanket. Photo courtesy Cathy Short

Trailblazer Award goes to Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell
By Clara Caufield
Native Sun News Today Correspondent

CHANDLER, Ariz. –– During the ninth annual International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museums held in Phoenix, Ariz. at the Gila River Resort, Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell was presented with the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums’ (ATALM) major award – the “Trail Blazer Award.”

Each year, ATALM honors one person who has made a significant contribution to preserving indigenous cultural heritage. Rick West and Kevin Gover nominated the Senator for the award in recognition of his lifelong efforts to preserve and advance Native culture, in particular his work on the National Museum of the American Indian and its ongoing veteran’s project. The award (a bronze medallion designed by Seminole Chief Kelly Haney) was presented at lunch on Tuesday, October 12 during the ninth annual Internal Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries and Museums.

Campbell is the sixth person to be so recognized by ATALM. Previous recipients have included Chief Wilma Mankiller, Pawnee attorney Walter Echo-Hawk, AIO President LaDonna Harris, Tribal Chairman Marshall MacKay, Museum Director Rick West, Pulitzer Prize winning author Scott Momaday, and first Native National Park Superintendent Gerald Baker.

“I’m deeply honored to be in that company,” Campbell said.

West and Gover introduced the Senator and presented the award, after which the Senator spoke briefly, encouraging more young Native people to engage in cultural preservation. The conference was attended by more than 700 people representing almost every Native Nation in the U.S. and a significant Canadian contingent.

Later during the conference Gover and Campbell participated in a session titled “Patriot Nations: An Update on the National Naïve American Veterans Memorial,” the purpose of the session is to provide an update on the Veterans Memorial and encourage tribal support.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Trailblazer Award goes to Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell

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