2003 Buffett Award

Nominations are now open!

The Buffett Award is a recognition program funded by the Peter and Howard Buffett families to honor outstanding individuals in the field of conservation and community development. A $25,000 cash award will be presented to an individual whose activities demonstrate durable qualities of leadership to improve the social, economic, political, and environmental conditions in their homelands. Nominators may submit up to five individuals for the award.

2002 Buffett Award

2002 Buffett Award

Kelly Brown

Carol Craig
Kathleen Shaye Hill
Robert Sam
John Ward

2001 Buffett Award

2001 Buffett Award

Phillip Cash Cash

Susan Burdick
David Hatch
Dennis Martinez
Hilistis Pauline Waterfall

Who is eligible?

Individuals are eligible if they are First Nation or tribal members, over 35 years of age, and work, or have worked, with an indigenous organization or community within the Pacific salmon territory of North America. The nomination is stronger if the individual has support of his tribes or work organization.

What qualities are valued in this award?

By reaffirming tribal values in leadership roles, he or she makes positive contributions to the world through service to communities, and often cultivates new leadership in the process. This individual affirms traditional values and knowledge of the systems in the natural environment. As a result of his or her actions, generations of inter-generational knowledge and experiences are strengthened. A leader of merit is an individual well connected to Indigenous and non-Indigenous regional and national leadership. Such a leader also possesses a global perspective resulting from the experience of exchange, dialogue, and negotiation with a variety of peoples.

How may the fellowship be used?

This award is intended to provide resources for transfer of knowledge in indigenous communities, while providing Ecotrust with an opportunity to expand its knowledge of, and experience with these communities. There is potential to share information, learn, and encourage mutual enrichment. The award may be used by the recipient for activities in any combination of the following areas:

  • Professional development and/or skills enrichment
  • Program or organizational investigation and development
  • Personal research and associated expenses
  • Traditional activity or ceremonial participation

At the core of this program is a dialogue about the importance of what is presently happening in Indigenous communities, and how others can support these communities.

What does the fellow need to provide Ecotrust?

The one-year fellowship does not represent a grantor-grantee relationship. It is a relaxed mutual exploration of the awardee's topic and activity. Ecotrust and the fellow will begin with an agreement in principle for the year of the fellowship, and statement of expectations of positive outcome. Completion of the fellowship concludes with a one to two page statement of use of funds written to Ecotrust, explaining how the award made a difference in the life and community of the individual.

Specific Criteria:

  • The nominee should be an enrolled tribal member or Native corporation member, or someone recognized by a First Nations, or tribe. If he/she is not an enrolled tribal person, endorsement from his/her community must be provided in the form of a letter of recognition.
  • The nominee is someone who has been living or working on issues in his or her community related to conservation based development - the crossroad of conservation of resources, culture and economic security.
  • The nominee's project or goal is of importance to his or her community and to the region as a whole. The individual should demonstrate the support of a tribal government, clan, or longhouse for his/her work. Ecotrust respects tribal authority. A letter of support or tribal newspaper article describing the person's relationship with the tribe will suffice.

What happens in the selection process?

All nominations submitted by the deadline will be evaluated and reviewed by a panel of three Ecotrust staff and four outside Native readers. The outside Native readers ideally will come from various locations in the bioregion. They will discuss each nomination, and through a consensual process, decide on five finalists. Five finalists are forwarded to a committee of primarily Native people who have agreed to make the final selection and to guide the program. The members of this committee are Gerald Amos (Haisla First Nation), Dalee Sambo Dorough (Inupiaq), Alan Parker (Chippewa-Cree), Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson (Haida), Antone Minthorn (Cayuse), and a non-voting member, Ecotrust founder and president, Spencer B. Beebe. Applications will be accepted between April 30 and August 1.

The award will be conferred at a ceremony at Ecotrust's Natural Capital Center in Portland, Oregon in the autumn of each year. The recipient is expected to attend the event. Ecotrust will cover related expenses, travel, and lodging.

For the nominator:

Please submit one letter of nomination and one Contact Form for each nominee. The letter of nomination is critical and has great influence in the review selection. It should describe the candidate's accomplishments in detail. There is a Letter Template to assist in the format and content to increase the chances of the reader's understanding of the nominee's superb qualities. You may call the program and request assistance in writing the letter of nomination. The Contact Form assists the staff in communicating with the nominator and nominee, if there are any questions.

For more information, contact:


Elizabeth Woody (Navajo-Warm Springs-Wasco-Yakama)
721 NW Ninth Avenue, Suite 200
Portland, Oregon
Phone: (503) 467-0751
Fax: (503) 222-1517
E-mail: liz@ecotrust.org

The five finalists for the 2002 Buffett Award:

Kelly Brown
Photo by Shirl Hall

Kelly Brown is honored as the recipient of the 2002 Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership for his work as a negotiator, planner and educator in the areas of cultural restoration and conservation. Brown will use the Buffett Award fellowship to continue his work on Aboriginal title issues and enrich his professional accreditation in Aboriginal Law.
Carol Craig Carol Craig is honored as a finalist for the 2002 Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership for her work educating the public about tribal treaty rights. In her public education efforts, Craig has addressed many civic organizations and visited schools throughout the Pacific Northwest from kindergarten through college level classes. She has spoken on tribal treaty rights both regionally and nationally over the past 16 years.
Kathleen Shaye Hill Kathleen Shaye Hill is honored as a finalist for the 2002 Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership for her work restoring the Klamath Tribes' federation recognition. Hill played a critical role in getting the Klamath Tribes' trust status restored in 1986 and has continued working to this day for the return of Klamath tribal lands.
Robert Sam Robert Sam is honored as a finalist for the 2002 Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership for his work involving repatriation of human remains as well as his efforts in preserving traditional Tlingit culture. He is a member of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska and resides in Sitka.
John Ward
John Ward is honored as a finalist for the 2002 Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership for his leadership in protecting the Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN) traditional territory as well as his watershed planning and salmon conservation efforts. Ward currently serves as the Spokesperson for the TRTFN and resides in Atlin, British Columbia.

See the above five finalists' biography by clicking on their images or by visiting: www.ecotrust.org/buffettaward/2002/.

You can contact Elizabeth Woody at:

Attention: Elizabeth Woody, Special Advisor
c/o Ecotrust
721 NW 9th, Suite 200
Portland, Oregon
Direct Line: (503) 467-0751
Voice Mail: (503) 227-6225
Fax: (503) 222-1517
E-mail: liz@ecotrust.org
Web site: www.ecotrust.org

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