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Members of the National Native American Hall of Fame include luminaries like astronaut John Herrington (Chickasaw Nation), the late Elouise Cobell (Blackfeet Nation) and the late Wilma Mankiller (Cherokee Nation). Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)
National Native American Hall of Fame Announces the 2021 Class of Inductees
Eight of Indian Country’s Best, Brightest, Most Notable Natives Honored include Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell and U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo
Monday, May 3, 2021
Source: National Native American Hall of Fame

The following is the text of a press release from the National Native American Hall of Fame.

The National Native American Hall of Fame is pleased to announce eight new inductees into this year’s slate of honorees. The 2021 class of inductees have made significant contributions across a range of categories including government, leadership and advocacy, literary arts, business, language, culture, and the health field.

The 2021 Hall of Fame inductees include: Dave Anderson, Ojibwe, businessman and entrepreneur; Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Northern Cheyenne; Joy Harjo, Muscogee (Creek), poet; Marcella LeBeau, Cheyenne River Sioux, health policy leader; Emil Notti, Athabascan leader; Katherine Siva Saubel, Cahuilla, language preservationist and museum founder; Ernie Stevens Sr., Oneida leader; and W. Richard West, Southern Cheyenne, founding director of the National Museum of the American Indian.

Dave Anderson, a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Lake Superior Band of Ojibwe, established Famous Dave’s Barbeque, a national restaurant franchise. He served as head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, CEO of the Lac Courte Oreilles tribal enterprises, served on the Wisconsin Council on Tourism, Wisconsin’s Council on Minority Business Development, the National Task Force on Reservation Gambling, the Advisory Council for Tribal Colleges and Universities, and the American Indian Education Foundation. In 2002, Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network awarded a grant to Anderson’s LifeSkills Center for Leadership, an organization dedicated to supporting at-risk Indian youth. Anderson was named a Bush Leadership Fellow, Minnesota and Dakota’s Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst and Young, NASDAQ, and USA Today, and was named Restaurateur of the Year in 1988 by Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine.

Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Northern Cheyenne, became the first Native American to serve in the U.S. Senate in more than 60 years. Campbell served 22 years in public office, beginning his political career in 1982 as a state legislator in Colorado. In 1987 he moved to the U.S. House of Representatives and in 1992 was elected to two terms in the Senate. He served as a member of the Appropriations Committee, Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Veteran’s Affairs Committee, and the Indian Affairs Committee. He also chaired the Helsinki Commission and was the first Native American ever to chair the Indian Affairs Committee. Campbell was one of 44 Northern Cheyenne chiefs and was a Korean War veteran, serving in the Air Force. He was a renowned, award-winning artist and accomplished athlete, serving as captain of the U.S. judo team in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

The First Americans Museum, under construction in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, will be the home of the National Native American Hall of Fame. Photo courtesy First Americans Museum

Joy Harjo, Muscogee (Creek), was the first Native named U.S. poet laureate in 2019; she has since been named to three consecutive terms. Harjo’s honors include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, the Josephine Miles Poetry Award, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award. She has received two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, as well as fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Rasmuson Foundation, the Witter Bynner Foundation, and a Guggenheim. She has won an American Book Award, the PEN Center USA prize for creative nonfiction, the Ruth Lilly Prize for Lifetime Achievement, and the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award. She is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.

Marcella LeBeau, Cheyenne River Sioux, is highly regarded for her health policy leadership spanning eight decades. Le Beau was a registered nurse and served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps during World War II where she tended to the wounded from the D-Day invasion in Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. Her fortitude and courage was recognized with the awarding of six highly distinguished medals, including the French Legion Medal of Honor, awarded in France in 2004 at the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. She was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame and received the Women in History Award in 2016 from the Spirit of the Prairie Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. LeBeau has contributed to the health and well-being of Lakota people, World War II soldiers, and diverse populations of people. She served on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Council from 1991 to 1995.

Emil Notti, Athabascan, was the first president of Alaska Federation of Natives, founded in 1966. Notti was a force behind the land claims movement and central to the negotiations that culminated in the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. The legislation authorized Alaska Natives to receive title to 44 million acres of public land in Alaska and a $962 million land claims settlement, further establishing village and regional Native corporations. He was instrumental in calling for a convening of Alaska Natives from every region of the state. An electronic and aeronautical engineer, he worked on the Minuteman Ballistic Missile and worked for the Federal Aviation Administration. Notti served under several Alaska governors as Deputy Commissioner of Health and Social Services, Commissioner of Community and Regional Affairs and Commissioner of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.

Katherine Siva Saubel, Cahuilla, founded the Malki Museum at the Morongo Reservation in California—the first Native American museum created and managed by Native people. A leader, scholar and activist for the preservation of language and culture, she translated traditional folklore, created the first Cahuilla-English dictionary, wrote several ethnobotanical books on medicinal plants and made recordings of Cahuilla songs, preserving sacred ceremonies, culture and traditions. She was the first Native woman from California to be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993 and awarded the Chancellor’s Medal from the University of California, Riverside as well as an honorary doctorate from La Sierra University. She served as tribal Chairman for the Cahuilla. Saubel is honored post-humously, having passed away in 2011 at the age of 91.

Ernie Stevens Sr., Oneida, served numerous leadership positions including as executive director of the Los Angeles Indian Center, the Institute for Community Anti-Poverty Corporation, the Inter-Tribal Council of California, the Indian Action Project in Arizona, the American Indian Policy Review Commission and served on the L.A. Human Rights Commission, He was First Vice President of the National Congress of American Indians and the first Staff Director to the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs. He advocated for sovereignty, self-determination, self-governance and Native rights for nearly half a century. Serving with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Stevens was integral to changing the course of Indian Policy from an era of termination to tribal self-determination. A U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran, serving during the Korean War, he earned the Korean Unit citation and the Korean Service medal with three battle stars. He was awarded the Leon Grant Spirit of the Community Award by the Phoenix Indian Center.

W. Richard West, Southern Cheyenne, was the founding director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. West successfully guided the development and opening of the three facilities that comprise the National Museum of the American Indian including the Cultural Resources Center in Suitland, Maryland, the George Gustav Heye Center in New York City, and the celebrated opening of the NMAI on the National Mall in Washington, D.C in 2004. He was brought out of retirement in 2013 to become President and CEO of the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles. West practiced law at the Indian-owned law firm of Gover, Stetson, Williams & West, P.C. He served as counsel to numerous American Indian tribes, communities, and organizations. He is a member of the Southern Cheyenne Society of Peace Chiefs.

National Native AmericanHall of Fame Board President Walter Lamar, left, and Hall of Fame founder and CEO James Parker Shield are seen in front of the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

James Parker Shield, Little Shell Chippewa, Hall of Fame founder and CEO, said, “The Hall of Fame seeks to bring greater awareness to the achievements and significant contributions of contemporary Native people in society. This year’s class of inductees are the superstars of Indian Country in their respective fields. They have each made a mark and blazed trails not only in Indian Country and their own tribal communities, but have made long-standing impacts to the fabric of American life.”

The National Native Hall of Fame will hold the 2021 Induction Ceremony on November 6th at the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City. For more information visit the National Native American Hall of Fame at
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