A. Gay Kingman AIS Lifetime Legacy Award winner


American Indian Society of Washington, DC, to honor Kingman at the American Indian Society’s 2013 Inaugural Ball & Powwow

Submitted by Jerilyn Church, Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board

RAPID CITY–The AIS Lifetime Legacy Award is presented by the American Indian Society of Washington, DC, and is awarded to a Native American whose life’s work has led to the improvement and empowerment of Native Americans through social, political, legal, environmental, or educational initiatives.

A. Gay Kingman is one of four recipients who will receive this prestigious honor. Kingman, Billy Mills, Eloise Cobell (posthumous) and Billy Frank, Jr. will be honored during the American Indian Inaugural Ball at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel in Arlington, Virginia on January 20, 2013.

Ms. Arlouine Gay Kingman is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. Wacinyanpi Win, a family name meaning Dependable Woman, was passed on to her to recognize achievements accomplished in a manner that honored the family and the Tribe. She was born and raised at the old Cheyenne River Agency on the Reservation, an area now flooded by the Oahe.

Kingman has served as Executive Director to the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association since 2003, however, her commitment and dedication to serve the interests and needs of tribes and tribal organizations spans nearly 50 years.

Her distinguished career began following receiving her Bachelor of Science degree from Northern State University in Aberdeen, SD, and her Masters of Arts degree in education from Arizona State University. Twenty-five years of service as both a teacher and an administrator in education prepared her for unprecedented influence and numerous accomplishments as an advocate for tribal sovereignty.

Following receipt of her Masters of Arts degree, she went on to spend two years studying policy in Washington DC, when she was one of 60 out of 500 candidates who were awarded a Fellowship with the Institute for Educational Leadership from George Washington University. From 1979 to 1981 in her role as an Educational Policy Fellow, with the Institute for Educational Leadership at George Washington University, she was detailed to the transition team under Pres. Carter to work on the creation of the 13th cabinet, The US Department of Education. From 1977 to 1980, Kingman was elected as president of the National Indian Education Association and served on the Board of Directors.

From 1986 to 1989 Kingman served as the recording secretary for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), and in 1989 she was appointed Executive Director. She was credited for taking decisive actions that stabilized the struggling organization, which is recognized as the oldest and largest national Indian organization, which was established in 1944 “to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the welfare of Indian people.”

During her tenure at NCAI, she was instrumental in the passage key legislation such as the legislative fix for Duro V. Reina, Indian Religious Freedom, and P. L. 102-201, which change the name of Custer Battlefield to little Bighorn Battlefield which also established the first Memorial to honor Indian warriors who fought and died while defending their homeland.

In 1993, Kingman assisted in founding the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) in Washington, DC. She assumed the role of Director of Public Relations for NIGA, at which time she founded the Seminar, Institute for the National Gaming Association. She is remembered for her media campaign entitled Schools Vs Yachts, which is credited for stopping legislation promoted by Donald Trump and introduced by Congressman Torricelli, who aimed to stop the ability of Indian tribes to conduct gaming. Consequently, the Legislation was killed in Committee and Kingman won a National award for her Media Campaign and ‘Repositioning the Argument.’

Recognition for outstanding service is not new to Kingman. In 2009, she was appointed to the South Dakota Civil Rights Advisory Committee. In 2009, Kingman was a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Indian Gaming Association. She is also listed in the “Directory of Significant Contributions by 20th-Century American Minority Women.”

Kingman has cultivated many positive relationships with National Leaders and Indian Tribal Leaders and earned their respect and friendship for her hard work, commitment and grace under pressure. She is well known for her responsibility, her knowledge, capability and great caretaking ability. She remains passionate about all matters affecting Indian Tribes. Over the years, Kingman has gathered large extended families who work with her in various areas to help Indian people.

2013 American Indian Inaugural Ball Chairman Peter J. Homer, Jr., (Mohave/Shasta, Colorado River Indian Tribe) states, “We selected four individuals who have shown outstanding leadership and dedication to the improvement of the lives of Native Americans. These two men and two women have dedicated their lives to empowering their people – we want them to know that their people recognize their sacrifices and appreciate all they have done.”