Manataka American Indian Council



Elders Speak







Phil Lane Jr., Awarded 2008 Center for Healing Racism Ally Award

International Indigenous Humanitarian and Educator

HOUSTON -- The Center for the Healing of Racism announced today that the 14th Annual Ally Award will be presented to international Indigenous humanitarian, educator and Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. at a June 21 luncheon in Houston Texas.  Lane is receiving the Ally Award for his national and international work in promoting freedom and justice for Indigenous people by building human and spiritual capacity that focuses on healing the root causes of racism.
For more than forty years Lane, an enrolled member of the Yankton Sioux and Chickasaw First Nations, has worked unceasingly, often to the point of total exhaustion, for the upliftment of the human family, and especially of Indigenous people.  He has continuously sacrificed personal comfort, income, professional advancement, old age security and even the simple pleasures of spending time with family and friends or taking a vacation.  Following are a few highlights of his years of service:


Presented Native culture and history programs at elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities.


Guided the development of rural community development and basic literacy programs for Quechua and Aymara Indians across Bolivia.


Developed and managed programs for single parent Indian mothers and their children from across North America.


Served as the founding Director of the Native American School of Government at the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington.


Started the first Indigenous cultural education and self-help program for Indian men in the North American prison system.  From the beginning this kind of programming for Indigenous inmates has now spread to most prisons in Canada and the United States.


Co-Founded Four Worlds International, a Canadian-based organization designing and implementing extensive culturally-based, participatory community development work with Indigenous communities throughout North and South America and with local and national governments and NGOs throughout the world.


Taught 16 years as Associate Professor and Founder and Coordinator of the Four Worlds International Institute at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.  Four Worlds became an independent Institute in 1995. 


As well, Phil is President of Four Directions International, an Aboriginal company, which was incorporated in 1996 as Four Worlds' Economic Development Arm.  With Phil's guidance and applied experience, Four Worlds has become an internationally recognized leader in human, community and organizational development because of the Institute's unique focus on the importance of culture and spirituality in all elements of development.  Four Directions International is dedicated to the development of sustainable economic enterprises that support holistic, political, social, cultural, environmental, spiritual and educational development.


Served as the Director of Planning, the Director of Education and more recently he returned as Chief Executive Officer of the United Indians of All Tribes Foundation in Seattle, Washington.  This organization grew from a staff of three to a staff of more than one hundred, and among the Foundation's achievements include the launching of the first-ever Native American film festival, the development of a host of innovative education programs ranging from curriculum design and development, to adult education, to early childhood education, and the recent founding of a holistic poverty-alleviation program model.

Special emphasis on this award is for Lane's dedicated work as one of the primary leaders in the resolution of Canada's Residential School issue that involved the sexual, physical, cultural, psychological and emotional abuse of thousands of Canadian Aboriginal peoples in Canada.  The Government of Canada and the Catholic, Anglican, United and Presbyterian churches' intergenerational abuse inflicted on more than 150,000 Canadian Indigenous children was a government-funded attempt to assimilate them into society.

The efforts led by Lane, the late Phil Lucas and other Aboriginal Leaders in Canada resulted in a three billion dollar settlement for thousands of survivors of residential schools and their descendants, a full apology by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the floor of Parliament, and the establishment of a nationwide Truth and Reconciliation Commission that will hold hearings that will examine federal policy and record testimony from survivors.
Lane has extensive experience in his own cultural traditions, is an award winning author and film producer and holds Master's Degrees in Education and Public Administration.  His film credits include the National Public Television series "Images of Indians" with the late Will Sampson, "Walking With Grandfather", "The Honor of All: The Story of Alkali Lake" and "Healing the Hurts".
In August, 1992, Phil was the first Indigenous person to win the prestigious Windstar Award, presented annually by the late John Denver and the Windstar Foundation to a global citizen whose personal and professional life exemplifies commitment to a global perspective, operates with awareness of the spiritual dimension of human existence and demonstrates concrete actions of the benefit for humans and all living systems of the Earth.  At this International event, in recognition of his lineage and long time service to Indigenous peoples and the human family, Indigenous Elders from across North America recognized Phil as a Hereditary Chief through a Sacred Headdress Ceremony.  Other Windstar winners include: Oceanologist Jacques-Yves Cousteau, David Brower, Founder of the Earth Island Institute, Yevgeni Velikhov, Vice President of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Winner and founder of Kenya's Greenbelt Movement; Akio Matsumura, Executive Director of The Global Forum, and Lester Brown, President of the World Watch Institute.
On November 11, 2000, Phil received the Year 2000 award from the Foundation for Freedom and Human Rights in Berne, Switzerland. Phil is the first North or South American person to receive the award, and he joins a select international group: the Dalai Lama of Tibet, Dr. Boutro Boutros Ghali, former Secretary General of the United Nations, and British Lord Yehudi Menuhin, musician and philosopher, have, also, received the award.
Having completed his tenure as CEO of United Indians Lane is now transitioning into global leadership as International Coordinator for the International Institute of Indigenous Development.  This Institute will promote The Fourth Way Initiative.  The "Fourth Way" takes a sacred and holistic path towards ending escalating cycles of poverty and violence and helping to build sustainable and harmonious prosperity in communities worldwide.
The "Fourth Way" calls upon Indigenous people themselves to move beyond self-destructive and ineffective responses to the systematic marginalization, repressive policies and systems and grinding poverty to which they have been subjected.  


The First Way is Assimilation (i.e. giving up independent identity and trying to join the dominant mainstream society).  This approach certainly hasn't worked.


The Second Way is Resignation (i.e. meekly accepting inferior status, succumbing to self-destructive behavior, such as additions, lateral violence and suicide, and embracing hopelessness and social degradation).  This approach has made life even worse for many Indigenous people.


The Third Way is Resistance (i.e. ranging from a quiet refusal to cooperate with dominant culture systems to armed insurgencies using violence to bring about change.  The Third Way implies working within an adversarial framework with everyone, including non-Indigenous people).  This approach has, in the long run, almost always proven to deepen the divide between Indigenous people and the safety, security, prosperity and well-being they seek.


The Fourth Way as articulated by Indigenous elders and spiritual teachers and leaders is a movement toward harmonious development - i.e. toward the development of Indigenous peoples, institutes and communities, within the guiding frameworks of culturally-based Indigenous values, wisdom, knowledge and experience, and in cooperation with governments, business, philanthropic foundations and relevant non-government organizations.

The Ally Award is an annual award presented by the Houston-based Center for Healing of Racism to honor the achievements of those who have worked hard to achieve harmony of all ethnic and cultural groups.  The Center for the Healing of Racism is a world-renowned grassroots organization dedicated towards the elimination of racism by focusing on teaching the value of the oneness of humanity and healing internalized historical oppressions.



Cherry Steinwender



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