50 Faces of Indian Country 2016 II
In 2015 ICTMN introduced the 50 Faces of Indian Country magazine to celebrate the wealth of talented American Indians across Indian country. Last month the second annual issue, 50 Faces of Indian Country 2016, was published to highlight once again the work of a new crop of accomplished individuals and role models—including actors, leaders, and activists—who can offer inspiration to Native youth on a daily basis.
After all, what’s more uplifting than enjoying the positive contributions being made by some of the most talented people on the planet?
Careful readers will notice that movie star Adam Beach, who leads off this year’s issue, has the distinction of being the only Face of 2016 who was also featured in last year’s magazine. Given the release of Suicide Squad and other strong performances during the past two years, it only made sense for him to be our first repeat, year over year.
Below are the second 10 from 2016’s 50 Faces.
See the full magazine here.
The Young Educator: Dahkota Franklin Kicking Bear Brown
Dahkota Brown, 17, a recent high school graduate with a 4.4 GPA, is the first minor White House advisor appointed by a president. He serves on the National Advisory Council on Indian Education under the United States Secretary of Education. His passion for education began in 2012. He feared Native students did not have the resources to graduate from high school, so he founded the nonprofit organization, NERDS (Native Education Raising Dedicated Students). With 10 chapters and hundreds of students, NERDS has a 100 percent success rate of students graduating after participation in its summer school program. The awards have poured in: The Center for Native American Youth as a Champion for Change in 2013, named him one of UNITY’s “25 Under 25” outstanding young leaders in 2014 and he was the first federally recognized Native American selected to attend the United States Senate Youth Program in 2015. He is also a recipient of NCAI’s 2015 Ernest Stevens Jr. Youth Leader Award, the 2016 NEA “Leo Reano Memorial Award,” a 2016 Coca-Cola National Scholar, and a winner of the 2016 Gates Millennium Scholarship. He began attending Stanford University this fall, majoring in Political Science, with a focus on Native issues. “Being recognized as one of the 50 Faces of Indian Country is an extreme honor,” he tells ICTMN. “I am completely humbled to be in the presence and likes of such inspirational people and personal heroes.”
The Foodie: Ben Jacobs
If you haven’t had a Tocabe Indian taco yet, you’re seriously missing out. Ben Jacobs, Osage, owner of Tocabe, a Native American restaurant out of Denver, Colorado, opened the eatery in 2008. Since then, Tocabe has been featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, has opened a second location, operates a catering service and even has a food truck. Tocabe also regularly sets up shop at popular area pow wows, such as Denver March Pow Wow. Jacobs focuses on foods that have become synonymous with Native culture, such as frybread, and on traditional ingredients. Bison, corn, hominy and chiles feature prominently on the menu, and wojapi—a traditional Lakota berry recipe—even makes an appearance on his dessert menu.
The Elder Teacher: Henrietta Mann
Dr. Henrietta Mann, Tsetsehestaestse (Cheyenne), the founding recipient of the Endowed Chair in Native American Studies at Montana State University, is MSU professor emeritus of Native American Studies, and an active member of MSU’s Council of Elders. She spent 28 years at MSU as the director/professor of Native American Studies. She also taught at the University of California, Berkeley; Graduate School of Education at Harvard University; and at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. Even though she is retired, she continues to travel the country teaching, speaking and advocating for Native American education. In March 2016, she was elected to the National Academy of Education. She told ICTMN then that “education has always represented true north on my compass.” About being named a 50 Faces of Indian Country recipient, she says, “I am honored, which is truly an understatement of a lifetime. This little, small-town Cheyenne girl from the Red Moon Community has traveled far to be recognized along with 49 others. You pay tribute to her family, community and ancestors. I wish to do nothing but to labor in the garden of humanity, doing what good I can and being of what assistance I can, utilizing the incredible gifts I have been given to help make this world a better place for Cheyenne and Arapaho children. Thank you.”
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