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Biologist of the Year

The Native American Fish & Wildlife Society recognizes tribal biologists that are working with a Native American tribe, and who are in good standing and best exemplify his/her dedication and hard work. Nominations are accepted each year for the Biologist of the Year and these persons are recognized during the NAFWS National Conference.

Since 1999, tribal biologists who have been awarded as Biologist of the Year are:

2017 - CO-AWARD: Michael Bisbee, Jr. and Tuianna Moliga, Nez Perce Tribe, Dept. of Fisheries Resource Management
2016 - Brian Saluskin, Yakama Nation Fisheries Department
2012 – Kristin Peet, Big Game Biologist, Penobscot Indian Nation
2011 – Krista Beazley, White Mountain Apache Tribe Wolf Program
2009 – David Wolf, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
2008 – Gene Shippentower, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
2006 –Lawrence Abeita, Southern Pueblos Agency, Isleta Tribal Member
2004 – Diane Mann-Klager, Bureau of Indian Affairs, NEPA, Aberdeen Area
2003 – Larry Schwarzkopf, Fond du Lac Tribe Natural Resources
2002 – Shaun Grassel, Lower Brule Sioux, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Recreation
2001 – David Johnson, Department of Fisheries Resources Management, Nez Perce Tribe
1999 – Patricia Heemsah, Yakama Nation

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Chief Sealth Awardees

CHIEF SEALTH AWARDEES

Each year at the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society National Conference, special individuals working in the the field of tribal natural resources are recognized for their exceptional work. The NAFWS honors an individual yearly because their work as a steward of the land or natural resources contributes to the betterment of tribal natural resources. Their impact in Indian Country creates the road to the future for better management of tribal natural resources.

The award is titled Chief Sealth who was a leader with his tribe, the Suquamish and known for his strong oratory stance on behalf of his people, land, and cultural and religious protection.

Since 1997, the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society has recognized these stewards of the environment and natural resources:



2017 - Joseph Y. Oatman, Nez Perce Tribe, Department of Fisheries Resource Management, Lapwai, ID
2016 - Michael "Mic" J. Isham, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Hayward, WI
2015 - Patty Brown-Schwalenberg, Chugach Regional Resources Commission, Anchorage, AK

2014 – Norman Jojola, BIA, Northern Pueblos Agency
2013 – Jarrod Daniel, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
2012 – Mike FoxFt. Belknap Tribal CouncilMark Azure, Director, Ft. Belknap Fish & Wildlife, and

             Robert MagnanFort Peck Tribes Fish & Game Department (3 Awardees for Buffalo Restoration)
             Nathan SmallShoshone-Bannock Tribes, Tribal Chairman (Awarded for Instrumental Impact
             with the Columbia Basin Fish Accord).       

             Tom WattsJicarilla Apache Game and Fish, Wildlife and Fishery Specialist (Awarded for 30 years 
             utilizing science to develop and manage a successful big-game management program in Indian 
             country).
2011 – (Post-Humous) – Dewey Schwalenberg, (First Executive Director of NAFWS), Stevens Village, AK
2010 – Trudy Ecoffey, Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Department
2009 – Cynthia Dale, Sensitive Species Coordinator, White Mountain Apache Tribe
2008 – Rick Wadleigh, Tribal Liaison, USDA – AHPIS
             Alvah Quinn – Director, Sisseton-Wapeton Oyate Sioux Tribe, Game and Fish Department
2007 – Mike Montoya, Southwest Tribal Fisheries Commission, Mescalero Tribe, New Mexico
2005 – Daniel Parker, White Mountain Apache, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Arizona Fishery Resources
2004 – David Close, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (now, Dr. David Close)
2003 – Gary Rankel, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Chief Administrator, Indian Fish and Wildlife Programs
2002 – Dave Conner, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
2001 – Dwight Koch, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
2000 – David Wolf, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
1999 – Adrian “Dusty” Miller, Menominee Tribe
1998 – John E. Antonio, Pueblo of Laguna
1997 – Jaime A. Pinkham, Nez Perce Tribe

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Conservation Officer of the Year

These Tribal Conservation Officers have been awarded for their hard work, dedication, and outstanding work as tribal conservation law enforcement officers with their tribe(s). CONGRATULATIONS!

2017 - Darrell J. Eli, Yakama Nation Fish & Game Department

2016 - Mariano Conley, Gila River Indian Community
2015 - Eddie Benally, Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife
2014 - Jim Currey, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
2013 – Russell Spino, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
2012 – Ken Maney, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Department of Conservation Law Enforcement
2011 – Charlene Miller, Sisseton-Wapeton Oyate Game and Fish Department
2010 – Mike Kennedy, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Game, Fish & Parks and Tourism Department
2009 – Fred Poitra – Manager/Director, Three Affiliated Tribes
2008 – Christine Tegner, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
2007 – Mitch Hicks, Columbia River Inter- Tribal Fish Commission
2006 - Ted Lamebull, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Enforcement
2004 – Sheldon Fletcher, Lower Brule Sioux Tribe
2003 – Eddie Benally, Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife
2002 – Howard Little Dog, Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife Department
2001 – Michael Mendoza, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
2000 – Lori Watlemet, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
1995 - Mike Fox, Gros Ventre Tribe, Ft. Belknap, MT

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