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2024 Native American 40 Under 40 Class Announced

Awardees, who span profession and the country, will be honored at RES 2024

February 6, 2024

MESA, AZ – The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development is proud to announce the 2024 Class of Native American 40 Under 40 Award Winners. Nominated by members of their communities, this prestigious award is bestowed upon American Indians (including Canadian First Nations), Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians who are under the age of 40 and have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication while making significant contributions in their professions and communities. This year’s class includes an Oscar nominee, a White House advisor, tribal government and business leaders, attorneys, a journalist, and several working in Native American food and agriculture.

“Recipients of the Native American 40 Under 40 awards are no longer just our future; they are leaders in their respective fields,” said Chris James, President and CEO of The National Center. “From the silver screen to the farm, 2024 awardees are deserving recipients who will continue to make Indian Country proud and our world a better place. I look forward to celebrating their achievements at RES 2024 and welcoming them to the growing and influential community.”

Now in its 15th year, Year, the 40 Under 40 awards program is one of the primary ways The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development recognizes and cultivates young leaders. 40 Under 40 awardees will be honored at the upcoming Reservation Economic Summit (RES), taking place from March 11-14 in Las Vegas. To learn more and register, please visit www.res.ncaied.org.

“It is my pleasure to announce the 2024 class of Native American 40 Under 40 Award recipients,” said Lillian Sparks Robinson, Vice Chair of The National Center’s Board of Directors and head of the 40 Under 40 selection committee. “Selecting this year’s class was no easy task for the Board, but the awardees are truly the cream of the crop – across Indian country and beyond. I look forward to honoring them next month at RES and following their achievements for years to come.”

2024 Awardees are:

    • Andrew Alejandre (Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians) – Tribal Chairman, Paskenta Band of Nomlaki; Corning, CA
    • George Henry Alexander II (Muscogee Creek Nation) – CEO, Ofuskie; Santa Fe, NM
    • Morningstar Angeline (Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy) – Actress; Albuquerque, NM
    • Tina Archuleta (Jemez Pueblo) – Owner/Founder, Itality Plant-Based Foods; Jemez Pueblo, NM
    • Justin Barrett (Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma) – Treasurer, Eastern Shawnee Tribe; Lawton, OK
    • Zachariah Ben (Navajo Nation) – Owner/Co-founder, Bidii Baby Foods LLC; Gallup, NM
    • Kendra Bennett (Cherokee Nation) – Oil and Gas Manager, Muscogee (Creek) Nation; Edmond OK
    • Edwin Bifelt (Huslia Village) – Founder/CEO, Alaska Native Renewable Industries; Huslia, AK
    • Quinn Buchwald (Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana) – Director, Indigenous and Traditional Peoples Program at Conservation International; Seattle, WA
    • Quinton Carroll (Native Village of Barrow) – Executive Director, Native American Contractors Association; Alexandria, VA
    • Joel Chastain (Chickasaw Nation) – Senior Advisor to the Lt. Governor of the Chickasaw Nation; Ada, OK
    • Danielle Culp (Cherokee Nation) – Production Specialist for Osiyo, Voices of the Cherokee People; Catoosa, OK
    • Matthew Dannenberg (Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa) – Senior Advisor for Tribal Affairs, US Department of Energy; Wauwatosa, WI
    • Kathy DeerInWater (Cherokee Nation) – Vice President of Programs and Research, AISES; Grand Rapids, MI
    • Stephanie “Pyet” DeSpain (Prairie Band of Potawatomi) – Chef, Pyet’s Plat; Los Angeles, CA
    • Kyle Foster (Native Village of Unga) – CEO, Eklutna, Inc.; Anchorage, AK
    • Leanne Kealoha Fox (Kanaka Maoli Native Hawaiian) – President, Institute for Climate and Peace; Honolulu, HI
    • Derek Red Arrow Frank (Nez Perce Tribe) – Associate Attorney and Co-Leader and Co-Founder of the American Indian Law Practice Group at Stokes Lawrence; Yakima, Washington
    • Lily Gladstone (Blackfeet Nation) – Actress; Mountlake Terrace, WA
    • Alexis Harris (Forest County Potawatomi) – Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Inbound Talent Sourcer, Gartner; Wauwatosa, WI
    • Tyler Hogan (Cherokee Nation) – Business Operations Manager & Co-Chair, Nike’s Native American Network; Beaverton, OR
    • Kim Ironroad (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) – Senior Program Assistant, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Seattle, WA
    • Caitlin Johnson (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) – Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Minnesota State University Moorhead; Moorhead, MN
    • Carly Johnson (Chickasaw Nation) – President/LLC Manager, Chickasaw Alliance Group, LLC; Norman, OK
    • Anthony Jones (Port Gamble S’Klallam) – Associate Attorney, Dorsey & Whitney LLP; Seattle, WA
    • Jordan Kanuho (Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma) – Vice President of the Pawnee Nation; Tulsa, OK
    • Aaron LaPointe (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska) – Senior Director of Business Operations Ho-Chunk, Inc.; Winnebago, NE
    • Logan Lewis (Cherokee Nation) – Manager of Government Relations, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma; Tulsa, OK
    • Candace Lowry (Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina) – Deputy Director, North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs; Raleigh, NC
    • Ray Martin (Tolowa Dee-ni‘ Nation of California) – General Counsel and Attorney General, Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians and Tunica-Biloxi; Roseburg, OR
    • Shane Melbo (La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians) – Co-founder and COO, Oak and Stone Development, La Jolla, CA
    • Kate Nelson (Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska) – Editor-in-Chief, Artful Living Magazine; Minneapolis, MN
    • Franklin “Hud” Oberly (Osage Nation) – Founder & Creative Director, Here’s To You Creative House; Brooklyn, NY
    • Meryl Picard (Bishop Paiute Tribe) – Chairwoman, Bishop Paiute Tribe, Bishop, CA
    • Elizabeth Reese (Pueblo of Nambe) – Washington, DC
    • Whitney Sawney (Cherokee Nation) – Director of Communications and Policy, Native American Agriculture Fund; Fayetteville, AR
    • James Siva (Morongo Band of Mission Indians) – Vice Chairman, Morongo Band of Mission Indians; Banning, CA
    • Tamisha Tenorio (Pueblo of San Felipe) – Chief Beneficiary Service Officer, Bureau of Trust Funds Administration; Rio Rancho, NM
    • Chase Williams (Muscogee Creek Nation) – CEO, Muscogee Asset Protection, LLC; Okmulgee, OK
    • Crystal Worl (Tlingit and Haida Tribes of Alaska) – Owner/Co-founder, Trickster Company; Anchorage, AK