About Us

National Native American Hall of Fame

WHO WE ARE

The National Native American Hall of Fame will serve as a unique resource for identifying and honoring contemporary pathmakers, new heroes, and significant contributors to American society.

The major focus of the Hall of Fame will be from the Civil War period up until the present day. This time frame was chosen because the Civil War was a milestone event in Native American history in a unique and “modern” sense because Natives fought on both sides of that national conflict. This phenomenon was happening at the same time that Geronimo and the Apaches, Quanah Parker and the Comanches, and many Plains and western tribes were fighting against U.S. forces in the West.

OUR THOUGHTS

While there are various resources and facilities for learning about Native Americans from the “old times,” it is difficult to find an accurate and comprehensive source to learn about more contemporary Native Americans. America and its Native American people need a place to honor and commemorate the significant contributions and achievements of more recent historical and contemporary Native Americans. Many Native Americans have accomplished “firsts,” others have represented our country, others have fought for it, and many more have become well-known in their fields. However, the majority of Americans, and even most Native Americans, are not aware of the vast array of accomplishments by Native Americans in modern times.

OUR MISSION

To recognize and honor the inspirational achievements of Native Americans in contemporary history.

James and Hattie Kauffman
Black Leggings Society present the colors at the Native American Hall of fame ceremony

OUR VISION

To establish The National Native American Hall of Fame as a world-class international tourist/visitor destination attraction.

OUR PURPOSE

Honoring Our Pathmakers
The National Native American Hall of Fame will serve as a unique resource for identifying and honoring these contemporary pathmakers, new heroes, and significant contributors to American society.

The National Native American Hall of Fame will help people understand how Native Americans overcame the hopelessness of early reservations, and the trauma of Indian boarding schools, poverty, discrimination, racism, and the cultural divide to not only adapt but to achieve greatness in every field, profession, and industry.

The happenings at the Induction ceremony!
2018 Ceremony - Inductees

Our History

The National Native American Hall of Fame was established in 2016 by Founder James Parker Shield

“For many years, I felt there were various resources and facilities for learning about Native Americans from the “old times,” it is difficult to find an accurate and comprehensive source to learn about more contemporary Native Americans. America and its Native American people need a place to honor and commemorate the significant contributions and achievements of more recent historical and contemporary Native Americans. The major focus of the Hall of Fame will be from the Civil War period up until the present day. This time frame was chosen because the Civil War was a milestone event in Native American history in a unique and “modern” sense because Natives fought on both sides of that national conflict. The National Native American Hall of Fame will help people understand how Native Americans overcame the hopelessness of early reservations, and the trauma of Indian boarding schools, poverty, discrimination, racism, and the cultural divide to not only adapt but, in many instances, achieve greatness,” states Shield.

Shield traveled to national native conferences seeking support for his idea. As a result, he obtained resolutions of support from the National Indian Education Association (NIEA), American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), and the American Indian/Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA).

National Native American Hall of Fame

He also attended the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) conventions spreading the word and making contacts on behalf of the Hall of Fame.

The next step was to recruit a national board of directors. The first board member was Dr. Nathanial St. Pierre, President of Stone Child College, followed by Harlan McKosato, who was well known through his work at the radio program, “Native America Calling.”

Another founding board member is Laura Harris, long-term Executive Director of Americans for Indian Opportunity. Liz Hill, who had worked at the National Museum of American Indians (NMAI) in Washington, D.C., also became a founding member, as did Walter Lamar.

With support and encouragement from national organizations and the nucleus of a strong and credible board, the next task was to seek funding to carry out the work of the Hall of Fame.

The Seventh Generation Fund and the NoVo Foundation stepped forward with grant funds in 2017. Hopa Mountain provided valuable training and contacts, as well as guidance.

The objectives are:

  • 1 Conduct Annual Induction Ceremonies
  • 2 Pursue development of a facility to be the home of the Hall of Fame
  • 3 Develop a traveling exhibit
  • 4 Develop a Hall of Fame education curriculum
National Native American Hall of Fame

The inaugural Induction Ceremony was held in November 2018 at the former Phoenix Indian School site in Phoenix, Arizona. Twelve notable Native Americans were enshrined.
The second Induction Ceremony was held in November 2019 at the Cherokee Nation-owned Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. November was chosen as the month for the Induction Ceremonies because it is “Native American Month.”

In 2019, the Hall of Fame received funds to develop its “Inspirational Leadership” curriculum. Twenty-four lessons were developed; one on each inductee. Linked to the curriculum were videotaped interviews of inductees or a family member.

Display panels on all 24 inductees have been exhibited at the 2019 ceremony and on other occasions.

On February 19, 2021, the First Americans Museum, located in Oklahoma City, issued a Press Release announcing they have agreed to collaborate on the development of a permanent home for the National Native American Hall of Fame, currently located in Great Falls, Montana. Both organizations share common goals to advance knowledge and understanding of First Americans and their contributions to the world.

James Parker Shield, Hester Dillon and James Pepper Henry at Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony 2019 f

Our Team

Our Multi-tribal National Board of Directors Is comprised of well-regarded Native Americans who bring a broad variety of expertise to the organization

Our BOARD

WALTER LAMAR

Walter Lamar

Blackfeet Nation

President

PATRICIA GERARD

Patricia Gerard

Blackfeet Nation

Secretary

BOBBIE MESZAROS

Bobbie (Owiyahl) Meszaros

Tlingit

Treasurer

HOLLY COOK MACARRO

Holly Cook Macarro

Ojibwe

Board Member

LAURA L. HARRIS

Laura L. Harris

Comanche Nation

Board Member

LESLIE LOGAN

Leslie Logan

Seneca Nation

Board Member

IN MEMORIAM

Harlan McKosato2

Harlan McKosato

Sac and Fox Nation

Founding Board Member

Dr.-Nathan-St.-Pierre_1

Dr. Nathan St. Pierre

Chippewa Cree

Founding Board Member

OUR STAFF

James-Parker-Shield_

James Parker Shield

Little Shell Chippewa

Chief Executive Officer

Peg-Gerard_1

Peg Gerard

Blackfeet Nation

Systems / Technology

kelly-pic

Kelly Ahenakew

Chippewa Cree

Administrative Assistant

Begay-Photo-crop

Tina Begay

Navajo

Accountant

Alyssa-Coustenis

Alyssa Coustenis

Tonawanda Seneca

Shane Doyle

Shane Doyle

Crow

Curriculum