The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) has been incorporated since 1970 with the purpose of bringing together teachers, educators, tribal leaders, and Native education stakeholders who are actively involved in the education of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students. The 45th Annual NIEA Convention and Trade Show theme was Building Education Through the Generations and was held in Anchorage, Alaska, October 15-18, 2014. President Pamela Agoyo states, “our membership work to advance comprehensive academic and cultural education opportunities for Native students.” The convention provides a forum for advocacy, research, collaboration, and partnerships under the auspices of a common vision to effectively impact and improve opportunities for Native students and families locally, regionally, and nationally.
The National Education Association Community Service Award is given to recognized individuals who demonstrate a commitment to education and community involvement and have a lifetime of achievements. This award exemplifies the positive role an individual provides in their local community and/or region. The NIEA Community Service Award is a prestigious award selected by the Board of Directors of the National Indian Education Association.
Denise Waterman, Oneida Nation -Turtle Clan, received the 2014 NIEA Community Service Award at the convention. Only five members are recognized annually for their accomplishments. Denise’s nomination stated, “The Haudenosaunee – Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team travels around the world, competing in world championship events, proudly representing all indigenous peoples globally. Denise Waterman is the Executive Director of this program, a position she’s held for the last 4 years. She has been a founding board member of the Iroquois Nationals lacrosse program since its start in 1983… she works tirelessly and is a constant and dedicated unsung leader, promoting traditional standards, spirituality, and education through a program that stands up for indigenous sovereignty and perseverance—the Iroquois Nationals.” Tsadeyohdi Denise Waterman is a teacher at the Onondaga Nation School and has been for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of the Master’s Program in Elementary Education at Syracuse University and the State University College of Oswego’s Education Administration program.
The Community Service Award was presented to Denise on October 17th at a special honorary event. The Iroquois Nationals also received a separate glass trophy. Denise was joined by Regina Jones, Oneida Nation, Turtle Clan, and a Syracuse University presenter at the conference. Regina felt honored and very fortunate to be present during the award ceremony. Denise said ”I am delighted and feel privileged to be nationally recognized by the NIEA for positive, supporting role modeling for our Native communities through the collaboration of sports and education.”