Mike Charleston Award for Distinguished Scholars

Bobby Wright Award for Emerging Scholars

Danielle Terrance Award for Graduate Students


In 2006, the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas (IPA) Special Interest Group established the Mike Charleston Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Indigenous Education, which recognizes distinguished research, professional practice, and service that advance public understanding of the education of Indigenous peoples. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Charleston served as Project Director for the Indian Nations at Risk Task Force and the American Indian Leadership Program at Pennsylvania State University.  The award is presented to an individual, like Mike Charleston, whose professional career has been devoted to the study of Indigenous education, and whose extraordinary leadership has significantly advanced the field through scholarship, professional practice, and/or service to Indigenous communities.


2023       Eve Tuck (Unangax̂)        Chicago, IL

Eve Tuck is Associate Professor of Critical Race and Indigenous Studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. She is Canada Research Chair of Indigenous Methodologies with Youth and Communities. She is the founding director of the Tkaronto CIRCLE Lab.

2021      Octaviana Trujillo (Yaqui)       Virtual

Dr. Octaviana V. Trujillo (Yaqui), Ph.D., is founding chair and professor of the department of Applied Indigenous Studies at Northern Arizona University (NAU) and teaches courses on Tribal Nation Building. A primary focus of her work as a former tribal leader has been developing programs that take advantage of her academic and professional experience.

2019     Stephanie J. Waterman (Onondaga)     Toronto

Dr. Stephanie J. Waterman is Onondaga, Turtle Clan, from the Onondaga Nation. She is the mother of two daughters and a proud grandmother of two—a grandson and a granddaughter. She earned her doctorate from Syracuse University after working there in 11 different departments. Her research has explored Native American/ Indigenous college student experiences.

2017    Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy (Lumbee)     San Antonio

Dr. Bryan McKinley Jones Brayboy (Lumbee) is President’s Professor of Indigenous education and justice in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. At ASU, he is senior advisor to the president, director of the Center for Indian Education, associate director of the School of Social Transformation, and co-editor of the Journal of American Indian Education. From 2007 to 2012, he was visiting President’s Professor of Indigenous education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

2015     Chicago

2013    Sharon Nelson-Barber (Rappahannock)       San Francisco

Dr. Nelson-Barber directs WestEd’s Center for the Study of Culture and Language in STEM Education. Her work spans the lower 48 states, Alaska, Micronesia, and many areas of Polynesia, and focuses on understanding how the sociocultural contexts in which students live influence the ways in which they make sense of schooling in mathematics and science. Her research centers on understanding how aspects of cultural knowledge can become visible in assessment and evaluation to ensure that schooling is equitable for all students.

2011        John W. Tippeconnic III (Comanche/Cherokee)       New Orleans

At the time of the award Dr. Tippeconnic was, and continues to serve as, a Professor and Director of American Indian Studies at Arizona State University.  Dr. Tippeconnic's research focuses on educational leadership, education policy and implementation, and tribal colleges. He is interested in the preparation of education of school leaders.

2009    Willliam G. Demmert, Jr. (Tlingit/Oglala Lakota)    San Diego

Dr. Bill Demmert (1934 – 2010) was Adjunct Professor of Education at Western Washington University at the time he received the award. Over his impressive career, Dr. Demmert made extensive contributions in the areas of higher education and educational research and policy and in the advancement of public understanding of issues related to American Indian education. Among his many roles, he was one of the original founders of the National Indian Education Association; served as the first U.S. Deputy Commissioner of Education for the U.S. Office of Indian Education, in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; served as the Director of Education for the Bureau of Indian Affairs; held the position of Commissioner of Education for the State of Alaska; and served as a member of Clinton/Gore Council of Education Advisors and the President-elect Transition Team.

2008    Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley (Yup’ik)     New York

Dr. Kawagley (1934-2011) was Associate Professor at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks at the time of the award. The award was presented to Dr. Angayuqaq in recognition of his many contributions to the advancement of Indigenous knowledge systems, ways of knowing and world views in the contemporary world.  He published numerous articles, books and essays that are widely cited for their contribution to the understanding of the intersection of Indigenous knowledge systems and western science. His leadership and vision challenged people, including his own, to acknowledge and believe in the abilities, traditions, knowledge systems and languages of Indigenous Peoples.

2007    Cornel Pewewardy, D.Ed. (Comanche/Kiowa)    Chicago

Dr. Pewewardy was Dean of Academic Instruction at Comanche Nation College at the time of the award.  As a founding member of the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME), Dr. Pewewardy helped develop a research agenda for Culturally Responsive Teaching for American Indian and Alaska Native Students. Over his 35-year career as a practitioner and scholr, Dr. Pewewardy has received numerous scholarships and awards, including the Carl A. Grant Research Award for his scholarship on Indigenous education and Indian mascot usage in schools.  The most gratifying recognition was being selected as the first Mike Charleston awardee because Dr. Charleston was his teacher, mentor and hero at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Pewewardy is currently a Professor and Director of Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University.


In 2009, the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas Special Interest Group established the Bobby Wright Award for Early Career Contributions to Research in Indigenous Education.  At the time of his passing in 1991 at the age of 40, Dr. Wright had served in a variety of leadership positions at the Rocky Boy Tribal School, the University of Montana’s Center for Native American Studies, and the Pennsylvania State University Center for the Study of Higher Education. He earned many honors for his research.  This award recognizes a scholar in the early stages of his/her research career (ABD up to two years post-tenure) who has developed a significant program of research and service to Indigenous communities on important issues in Indigenous education.


2022      Philip Stevens (San Carlos Apache)      San Diego, CA

Philip Stevens, Ph.D., was born on the San Carlos Apache reservation in Arizona and an enrolled member of the San Carlos Apache tribe. He received his doctoral in Language, Reading & Culture from the College of Education at the University of Arizona and is an Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Culture, Society and Justice and Director of American Indian Studies at the University of Idaho. Married to Dr. Vanessa Anthony-Stevens. Daughters are Carmen and Hazel.

2020    Christine A. Nelson (Diné/Laguna Pueblo)   Virtual

Chris A. Nelson, Ph.D., is of the Diné and Laguna Pueblo tribes of the southwest. Dr. Nelson received her doctorate in Higher Education from the University of Arizona’s Center for the Study of Higher Education. With over 10 years of higher education experience, she has a cross sectioning of experiences ranging from educational pathways in STEM, policy research, and student affairs. The research she engages with strives to challenge the status quo of higher education for Native students and their communities. Her primary research interest focuses on finance in higher education, which ranges from student experiences to policy. Chris also blends critical theory and Indigenous perspectives/methods to explore the long-term impacts of pre-college access programs.

2018     New York City

2016   Onowa McIvor (Cree)   Washington, D.C.

The 2016 Bobby Wright Awardee is Dr. Onowa McIvor, Assistant Professor and Director, Indigenous Education, University of Victoria.  Dr. McIvor earned a BA in Psychology and Women’s Studies (University of Victoria), an MA in Child and Youth Care (University of Victoria) and a PhD in Language and Literacy (University of British Columbia).  She is a Cree scholar who was born and raised in Indigenous community, her research goals are in service of Indigenous community, and her approaches to research and knowledge mobilization are guided by the value of ‘doing it in a good way’ that she learned at the foot of her Elders.

2014     Megan Bang (Ojibwe)      Philadelphia

Dr. Megan Bang is an associateprofessor of the Learning Sciences and Human Development in Educational Psychology at the University of Washington.She teaches in the Teacher Education Programs and is affiliated faculty in American Indian Studies.She is the former Director of Education at the American Indian Center (AIC), where she served in this role for 12 years.

 2012     Troy A. Richardson (Saponi/Tuscarora)    Vancouver, BC

At the time he received the award, Dr. Richardson was Assistant Professor of Education and American Indian-Indigenous Studies at Cornell University.  Dr. Richardson is a philosopher of education concerned with questions of epistemology, methodology and ethics in the context of educational research for Indigenous self-determination.

Nicole L. Thompson  (Menominee/Mohican)

Dr. Thompson was Assistant Professor of in the Instruction and Curriculum Leadership Department at the University of Memphis at the time of the award.  Dr. Thompson’s scholarship and service activities reflect a deep commitment to American Indian and middle level education. Using an engaged community-based approach, her work in Native communities focuses on the early education, care and health of young American Indian children, families and teachers.

2010    Eunice Romero-Little (Cochiti Pueblo)     Denver

The first recipient to receive the award was Dr. Romero-Little, who at the time was Assistant Professor in the School of Social Transformation and American Indian Studies at Arizona State University. Dr. Romero-Little’s scholarship seeks possibilities for transforming education in ways that are congruent with Indigenous epistemologies, languages and everyday practices and grows out of a solid grounding as an education practitioner and as an activist in language revitalization and advancement, an arena of Indigenous language education that she specializes in.  Her longtime interest in how children learn and the role of language(s) in child socialization led to her current scholarship in early education and Indigenous language education.