Oneida leader receives Native Voice Award

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VERONA — Oneida Nation Representative and Nation Enterprises CEO Ray Halbritter has been awarded the Native Voice Award, recognizing him as one of the nation’s most distinguished leaders in Indian Country.

The honor was bestowed Tuesday in Washington, D.C. at the annual Leadership Awards Ceremony of the National Congress of American Indians, the nation’s oldest, largest and most representative American Indian organization.

The Native Voice Award is given in appreciation of an individual’s tireless commitment and leadership to create equality, fair representation and increased opportunity for Native Americans and future generations. Halbritter was recognized as a leader who uplifted Native voices through Indian Country Today Media Network and also championed accurate and respectful portrayals of Native peoples through the Change the Mascot movement. 

“I thank the National Congress of American Indians, both for this wonderful recognition today and for their on-going dedication to the issues facing Indian Country,” said Halbritter. “It is critically important that we work as hard as possible now to make sure that our children and their children and their children’s children are fairly represented and treated as equals in this society – and to accomplish that, we must always stand in solidarity with all of Indian Country.”

Congratulating Halbritter on the achievement were a number of prominent Native American and political leaders.

“This award recognizes a lifetime of hard work by Ray Halbritter, who is one of the most respected Native American leaders not just in New York, but all across the United States,” U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader, said. “ I offer my sincere congratulations to him on this momentous achievement and thank him for his invaluable service to the Oneida people and all of Indian Country.”

Kevin Gover, director of the National Museum of the American Indian, said Halbritter long ago, recognized the importance of engaging and influencing national cultural and educational institutions.

“This passion for teaching the truth about Native history and culture is long-standing and persistent, and Ray and the Oneida Indian Nation have shown that we can lead national conversations and attack the myths about Native Americans that have long held us back,” Gover said.

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