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Studi and Mankiller to receive Drum Awards
Cherokee actor Wes Studi will be among the first group of recipients for the inaugural Drum Awards on Nov. 1 at the Choctaw Nation Casino Resort in Durant, Okla.
By TESINA JACKSON
Wed, Oct 27, 2010
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Organizers for the inaugural Drum Awards have announced the first group of recipients, and it includes Cherokee actor Wes Studi and the late former Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller.
The awards ceremony, set for 7 p.m. on Nov. 1 at the Choctaw Nation Casino Resort in Durant, recognizes both individuals and tribes whose contributions have gone largely unrecognized in Indian Country and mainstream America.
Studi will receive the Arts and Entertainment Award, while Mankiller will be honored posthumously with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Studi has appeared in such films as “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Geronimo: An American Legend,” “Dances with Wolves,” “Powwow Highway,” “Heat,” and “Street Fighter.”
“I thought it was a wonderful honor,” said Studi, who will be attending the ceremony. “I think what makes it special is the fact that I’m in the company of such luminaries as the late Wilma Mankiller and others that are also receiving awards.”
His award honors achievement in the arts and entertainment industry, while Mankiller’s honors an elder who exemplifies knowledge, worth and ongoing contributions to society.
Former Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller will be honored posthumously with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural Drum Awards on Nov. 1 at the Choctaw Nation Casino Resort in Durant, Okla.
Mankiller, who died April 6 from pancreatic cancer, was the Cherokee Nation’s first principal chief from 1985-1995.
“It’s always an honor for us as a family for Native Americans to specifically recognize all of the years and all of the hard work that she put in to making Indian Country a better place for us all,” said Gina Olaya, Mankiller’s daughter. “It specifically means more to us when Indian Country in fact does recognize her. Mom wasn’t about awards and accolades, so I think she would be very humbled and very honored that her Native American peers sought enough of her to give her any award much less the inaugural Drum Award for lifetime achievement.”
Others recipients consist of John Herrington (Chickasaw) for health and science, John Echo Hawk (Pawnee) for tribal governance, Billy Franks (Nisqually) for environment and culture, Ron Allen (Jamestown S’Kallam Tribe) for defense of sovereignty, Ladonna Harris (Comanche) for economic self-reliance, the Choctaw Code Talkers of World War I for patriotism and the Choctaw Nation Scholarship Advisement Program for education.
Organizers said they hope the Drum Awards raises the standard of what is expected from Native Americans and advances appreciation of who they are.
They added that the awards promote alliances and unity within and among the tribes and are designed to build prestige for Native Americans and promote a healthy sense of worth through first-class treatment of one another.
“I think award programs like this do help establish people in their respective fields,” Studi said.
For more information on the awards, go to www.thedrumawards.com.