Every candidate considered for the Native American Hall of Fame must be Native American or Alaskan Native. Candidates must either be federally-enrolled, part of a state-recognized tribe, or have verifiable Native descendancy with strong and verifiable ties to their respective communities.
Leadership —Tribal Leader or leader of an effort that earned respect and regard for their accomplishments
Sacrifice —Sacrificed themselves or their own personal interests for the greater good
Contributions to Indian Country —Their work or efforts benefited Indian country or benefited understanding to those outside of Indian Country
Mentorship —Contributed to youth, fellow professionals, elders, or other tribal members due to their work for the betterment of Indian Country and serving as a role model
Legacy —Their work or efforts benefited policy, public regard, tribal relationships, or another national regard in a way that bettered Indian country for generations that followed or will follow.
Accomplishments —They made a nationally recognized or well-warranted accomplishment that brought Indian country into a national or international positive spotlight. They could have been the first in their field or profession.
Once eligibility has been determined, the list of potential inductees is compiled by the National Native American Hall of Fame board of directors. This list is entered into a matrix that includes consideration for gender, geographic balance, deceased or living, reputation, and category of achievement.
The compiled list of possible inductees is made public, where anyone has the opportunity to indicate their choices and suggest additional names through an on-line survey instrument. After a suitable period of time, the survey results are reviewed by the board of directors.