Americans for Indian Opportunity Honors NAYA Family Center in Portland With National Award

Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO), the Albuquerque, New  Mexico-headquartered nonprofit governed by a board of international Indigenous  leaders, has honored the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA Family Center)  with its Taos Blue Lake Spirit of Indigeneity Award for the fifth time, reported Oregon Live. The award, created in  2005, honors Indigenous communities who have  made positive political,  economic  and social change by relying on their  traditional cultural  values, states the  AIO website.

The name of the award was inspired by the spirit of the people of the Pueblo  of Taos. The award was first bestowed to the tribe to honor the historic  return of their sacred Blue Lake after a 64-year struggle, which represented “a  powerful and positive symbol of Indigenous  self-determination” to Indigenous  communities across the globe, according to the AIO.

The AIO Ambassadors program, a national Native American leadership  development and community building initiative, has decided to visit Portland for  their capstone meeting to learn from a thriving urban Native community,  according to a release.

At present, the Ambassador network totals close to 187  Native American  leaders, including 170 Ambassador alumni and 17 current ambassadors, states the  AIO’s Ambassadors Alliance web page. The  ambassadors “work together to confront new and daunting obstacles in Indian   Country,” while the alumni organization “serves as a think tank on pressing   issues such as globalization and tribal enrollment.”

Parent volunteers informally founded the NAYA Family Center in 1974. It  became a 501(c)(3)  organization in 1994, serving self-identified Native  American youth  and their families throughout the Portland metropolitan area by  promoting “cultural identity and education.”

Article from Indian Country Today

 

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