Winners share their backgrounds, thoughts on honor
MESA, Arizona — Five Muscogee (Creek) citizens were announced Sept. 13 as recipients of the 2018 National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development Native American 40 under 40 awards.
Lauren King, Rebecca Landsberry, Elsa Lowe, Mekko Tyner and Nathan Wilson will be honored Oct. 29-30 at the River Spirit Casino Resort in Tulsa.
Nominated by members of their communities, this prestigious award is bestowed upon individuals under the age of 40 who have demonstrated leadership, initiative, and dedication and have made significant contributions in business and their community.
NCAIED is celebrating the 10th anniversary of these awards, according to their website.
‘2018 40 Under 40 award recipients are made up of a diverse group of young women and men cultivated from across American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
‘Each of these individuals has devoted their skills and resources to enhance their communities. From business, academia, healthcare, tribal government, politics, non-profits, journalism, the law, finance, and marketing, 40 under 40 winners are shining examples in their career fields,’ NCAIED President and CEO Chris James said.
King is a member of the New Tulsa Ceremonial Grounds. She is a partner in the law firm of Foster Pepper PLLC in Seattle, where she is chair of the Native American practice group.
She practices Indian law in the areas of cultural resource litigation and other complex litigation matters. King said she is honored to represent the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Hickory Ground and Mekko George Thompson in the Hickory Ground litigation.
“I feel extremely honored to be listed among so many great young Native leaders. I’m also proud that this year, five of the award recipients are Muscogee (Creek) Nation citizens,” King said.
Lauren is also a board member for the Seattle Indian Health Board and the Northwest Tribal Court Judges Association, as well as a former section chair for the Indian Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association and former board member of the Northwest Indian Bar Association.
“I am looking forward to getting to go home to Oklahoma to attend the Native Edge Institute and the award ceremony,” King said.
According to the NCAIED site, NEI provides business owners with valuable tools and resources to grow opportunities and expand their customer base and business possibilities.
Landsberry, based in Los Angeles, California is executive director of the Native American Journalists Association, which provides resources, programs and advocates for freedom of the press in Indian Country.
She is a former editor for the ‘Muscogee Nation News’ and currently serves as vice president of the Mvskoke Media Editorial Board, where she is responsible for oversight of the MCN independent tribal agency.
“I’m thrilled that this award will highlight the critical work of NAJA and Mvskoke Media, along with the continued push for freedom of the press in Native communities,” she said.
Landsberry has also served as managing editor and board member for the Native Health News Alliance, an independent nonprofit news service providing coverage of health in Indian Country.
She holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma where she studied public relations and Native American studies at the Gaylord College of Journalism and Strategic Communication.
“I’m so thankful to be recognized alongside an amazing class of fellow Muscogee Creeks and some of the brightest professionals in Indian Country, serving their communities in a multitude of ways,” Landsberry said.
Lowe is originally from Weleetka. She is project coordinator at the MCN Native Youth Community Project where she works with citizens and MCN tribal leaders in what she considers a, “fascinating and rewarding experience.”
“Thank you to those who nominated me and supported my nomination and my family for being my foundation,” Lowe said.
Lowe said she considers the award a mark of achievement and hopes to inspire younger Native generations to continue to work together, nurture and support one another other, as well as strengthen their cultures and communities.
“To receive such an important award and join past recipients who I have admired and respected is humbling. I am earnestly grateful for the recognition by NCAIED,” Lowe said.
Tyner, his wife Dawn and their children Marcus, Mekkoce, Doug, Tvhvyv and Vcenv make their home in Kiefer.
He is an active member of Tvlvhasse Wvkokaye Ceremonial Grounds and the Intertribal Chapter of the Native American Church of Oklahoma.
Tyner is a proud Alumnus of Haskell Indian Nations University and the University of Kansas School of Law. He currently serves as registrar at the College of the Muscogee Nation.
Tyner considers the award an honor and credits his spiritual upbringing and his knowledge of traditional ways for guiding him to where he is today.
He considers himself to be living his dream of educating and inspiring Native American youth with the work he does at CMN.
“I am excited that the 10th anniversary of the 40 under 40 will take place in my hometown at River Spirit Casino Resort,” Tyner said.
Wilson is Director of the MCN Citizenship Office, where he has been for 11 years. He is a graduate of Preston High School and Tulsa Community College.
He is the father of five boys and one girl and a member of Concharty United Methodist Church.
“When I heard that I had been selected to receive the 40 under 40 Award, it was very exciting and humbling. I want to thank everyone that has supported and continues to support me,” Wilson said.