photos by Mel Ponder and Chantel Baker
About Our Annual Forum
The Native Women's Leadership Forum is an annual event full of workshops, breakout sessions, keynote speakers, and panels. The Forum is designed with our mission in mind and encourages participants to make a positive impact in their community. Each spring, the Forum takes a new theme, and with it new educational and training opportunities. Participants include Native women (and men!) from across the state and from many different tribal backgrounds. Feedback tells us that participants leave feeling empowered, recharged, and renewed. As part of the Forum, we host a special luncheon to celebrate the year's Enduring Spirit Award honorees.
Learn about some of our affiliated programs and opportunities to engage in our Forum each year:
Enduring Spirit Nominations and Honoring Luncheon
The Enduring Spirit Award recognizes the lifetime achievements of Native women who through their commitment of time, energy, and volunteerism contribute to healthy communities. The issues they champion are varied and include: environment, education, youth and family, holistic health (mind, body, spirit), continuation and retention of culture, preservation of treaty rights, sacred sites, and economic empowerment to name a few. A public call for nominations is released each year, and selected awardees are celebrated on the second day of the Forum at our Enduring Spirit Honoring Luncheon.
Young Native Women’s Leadership Academy
Every year, in conjunction with the Forum, Native Action Network hosts the Young Native Women’s Leadership Academy. The Youth Academy prepares the next generation of women Native leaders by combining cultural values with modern tools and services. Young Native women who are seniors in high school through their final year in college are invited to apply. Selected participants will receive two nights lodging at our host hotel, food, and complimentary registration for the Annual Native Women's Leadership Forum. Through two days of key presentations combined with hands on team activities, young women leave transformed, empowered, and prepared to make a positive difference in their communities.
We accept workshop proposals annually for the Forum. There are 15 workshops offered over the course of the conference. Proposals from Native community members working in diverse fields are considered, including interactive sessions, presentations, or panel discussions. Topics that address leadership, professionalism, self-awareness, and collective activism are encouraged. Selected workshop presenters receive an honorarium, hotel room reimbursement, and registration for the Leadership Forum and Enduring Spirit Honoring Luncheon at no charge.
Native Art Market
Native Action Network invites Indigenous artists and Native organizations to sell their work or promote their services with a table space at the Forum. Vendors keep 100% of any sales made at the event. All vendors need to register in advance, drop-in vendors that attend without prior notice or payment will be turned away for lack of space. Prices are $150 for one table and $225 for two tables. Nonprofits and educational institutions get 50% off the cost of their table space.