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Flanagan Receives National Native American Leadership Award
Minnesota Ag Connection - 02/13/2020

Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan Wednesday was awarded the Native American Leadership Award by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in Washington, D.C. The highest-ranking Native woman elected to executive office in the history of the United States, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan was recognized for her work raising awareness of issues affecting Native communities, increasing civic engagement, improving lives in Indian Country, and transforming tribal-state relations in Minnesota.

"I'm honored to receive this distinguished award on behalf of all our people," said Flanagan. "For generations, policy has been done to us and not with us. That is why I've dedicated my career to ensuring Indigenous people have a seat at the table. I'm proud of the work we've done to lift up Native voices, and I won't stop fighting until our people are seen, heard and valued at every level of government."

"Lieutenant Governor Flanagan is a tireless advocate for children, families, Indigenous people, and marginalized communities," said Governor Walz. "She has made history in her work to strengthen government-to-government relations between the state and tribal nations, and elevate and support the robust urban Indian community in Minnesota. I can't think of anyone more deserving of this award than my partner in justice in the Governor's office."

During their first year in office, Governor Walz and Flanagan worked with the legislature to pass a budget that invests in Native American communities. This includes the creation of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force, expanding the Department of Transportation's Government-to-Government Tribal-State Relations Training within the department and other state agencies, equalizing funding for students enrolled in Bureau of Indian Education schools, and establishing the American Indian Early Intervention Program to help American Indian families living on reservations and urban areas access culturally appropriate early intervention services. Governor Walz also signed a historic executive order to expand tribal-state relations in the state of Minnesota and affirm tribal rights to self-govern and self-determination; which was created in consultation with both state agencies and tribal governments.

The Native American Leadership Award recognizes a Native individual who has helped transform Indian Country through their efforts and long term commitment and whose leadership and work benefits and influences at the national level.

Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights.

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