News and Announcements Archive

CLARA L. PRATTE AWARDED THE TERRENCE L. BRACY DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD


Posted: 5/16/2012

The Udall Foundation is pleased to announce that Clara L. Pratte has been awarded the first ever Terrence L. Bracy Distinguished Alumnus Award. The award recognizes outstanding contributions from Udall alumni in four principal areas of public service: conflict resolution, environmental work, tribal health care (including social services), and tribal public policy.

Pratte was appointed to lead the Navajo Nation Washington Office by Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly in 2011. In this capacity, she leads the advocacy efforts for the Navajo Nation on all federal policy.

Prior to rejoining the Navajo Nation government, Pratte served as the National Director of the Office of Native American Affairs of the U.S. Small Business Administration. She began her federal career with the Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, as a Trade Specialist in the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service. Subsequently, she joined the Office of the Chief Information Officer where she oversaw IT projects for the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service and the Import Administration.

"About thirty years ago, I had the privilege of serving the Navajo Nation as the Director of the Navajo Nation Washington Office. One of our goals then was to build and strengthen the Office by providing opportunities for young Navajos to learn about the operations of the federal government and become ambassadors for the Nation in its dealings with the Congress and the Executive Branch. Clara Pratte has consistently demonstrated her strong commitment to public service and her community, and her leadership of the Washington Office reflects both her personal commitment and the fulfillment of the goal set by the Nation long ago," said Eric Eberhard, chair of the Udall Foundation's Board of Trustees. "She works tirelessly to better the lives of Native Americans through economic development and tribal sovereignty. The Udall Foundation is proud to have Clara as one of its alumni."

Pratte is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation from Lupton, Ariz. She has a Bachelor of Science in business from the University of Arizona, and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University's H. John Heinz III College.

Pratte is an alumnus of the Udall Foundation's Native American Congressional Internship Program. She was selected as the award recipient because she has made outstanding contributions that benefit her community, improve people’s lives, and support tribal self-governance and economic development. Most importantly, she exemplifies the ideals of the Udall Foundation: civility, integrity, and consensus.

Pratte and her achievements will be recognized on www.udall.gov. In addition, she will speak at the Native American Congressional Intern Reception on July 18, 2012, in Washington, D.C.

Other alumni, Udall Foundation staff, Udall Foundation Board members, and Udall Foundation faculty representatives nominated deserving alumni for the award. A selection committee composed of Udall Foundation staff, the president of the Udall alumni association, an alumnus, and a member of the Udall Foundation Board of Trustees selected the winner. Other finalists for the award were Dustin Jensen Adams, Mellor C. Willie, and Brandon Whitney.

For additional information about the award, please contact Senior Program Manager Jane Curlin at curlin@udall.gov.

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Clara L. Pratte

Clara L. Pratte was appointed the Executive Director of the Navajo Nation Washington Office by Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly May 11, 2011. In this capacity, she leads the advocacy efforts for the Navajo Nation on all federal policy.

Prior to rejoining the Navajo Nation government, Pratte served as the National Director of the Office of Native American Affairs of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Pratte administered this office to ensure that American Indians, Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians seeking to create, develop and expand small businesses had full access to the necessary business development and expansion tools available through the agency’s entrepreneurial development, lending and procurement programs. Under her direction, the office took a leading role in Indian country helping small business owners and entrepreneurs secure financing, technical assistance, training and federal contracts.

She began her federal career with the Department of Commerce at the International Trade Administration as a Trade Specialist in the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service. She counseled small- to medium-sized U.S. companies on exporting. After serving with the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service, she joined the Office of the Chief Information Officer where she oversaw IT projects for the U.S. Foreign and Commercial Service and the Import Administration.

Pratte is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation from Lupton, Ariz. Growing up in the small rural community, she became interested at a young age in the economic disparities between her reservation community and the surrounding border towns. During her college career, she advocated for increased public safety and transportation dollars for her home community when a bridge providing the only access to half of the community’s residents was destroyed and washed out creating a safety and health hazard. In fact, one of her family members suffered a heart attack during the time the bridge was closed and critical time was added to first responder access due to the closure. Through advocacy with local community members petitioning both the state of Arizona and the tribal government, the bridge was fully replaced. Additionally, Pratte advocated for the installation at her home chapter for refuse disposal. With no trash facilities nearby, residents were left with the options of illegal dumping and unsafe incineration to deal with refuse. Her commitment to community service continued with volunteering throughout college and graduate school with animal shelters and food banks in the communities where she attended school.

Pratte has a Bachelor of Science in business from the University of Arizona and a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University’s H. John Heinz III College, where she was a Tribal Affairs Fellow. She is a former Udall Foundation Native American Congressional Intern and a Presidential Management Fellow.

The Udall Foundation would also like to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of the other finalists for the Terrence L. Bracy Distinguished Alumnus Award: Dustin Jensen Adams, Mellor C. Willie, and Brandon Whitney.

Dustin Jensen Adams

Jensen Adams is a native son of Kansas City, Mo. He was raised north of the Missouri River, worked as a furnace technician in Harry Truman’s neighborhood, attended a trade college as a nontraditional student, and transferred to the University of Missouri-Kansas City to study geography with the support of the Henry W. Bloch Foundation and the Udall Foundation.

In 2004, he joined the Metropolitan Energy Center (MEC), a 30-year-old nonprofit that advances the efficient use of energy as a mainstay of sustainability. Adams leveraged his early experience as a tradesman to manage the MEC’s Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program and contractor network. The program connects homeowners with contractors to complete energy-efficient home upgrades, and it features a combination of incentives from utilities and governments. The program was recognized as part of a $20 million Department of Energy award to the City of Kansas City through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and Mr. Adams now manages the MEC’s role in that initiative.

Adams’ work has helped more than 3,500 homeowners make improvements that save energy. In 2010, he directed Project Living Proof, the renovation of an historic home to serve as a publically accessible demonstration of green construction; sustainable landscaping; and efficient, renewable, and smart technology, including alternative transportation options. More than 2000 people have visited the project. Adams is an adjunct professor of energy performance and resource management with Johnson County Community College. He is married to Laura Adams (Udall ’05), and they are expecting their first child in October.

Mellor C. Willie

Mellor C. Willie is the Executive Director of the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC). He directs the nonprofit organization’s operations and programming, and publicly promotes and advances the American Indian, Alaska Native and native Hawaiian housing policy agenda in Washington, D.C., and abroad.

Willie is a member of the Navajo Nation, born and raised in Window Rock, Ariz. A Native American affairs advocate with extensive experience at the tribal, state and federal level, Willie has held a number of high-level public policy, public relations and fundraising positions with a variety of organizations, including The Navajo Nation, National Congress of American Indians, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the New Mexico State Senate. In 1998, Willie received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Southern Utah University. In May 2009, Willie graduated from The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management, being the first Native American to graduate from the program.

Willie was recognized in 2010 as one of 40 emerging American Indian leaders under the age of 40 by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s Native American 40 Under 40. Willie served on the faculty advisory board for the Harvard University Native American Program, and he currently serves on the advisory board for the Native American Political Leadership Program at George Washington University. As a former alumnus, he continues to serve on the advisory board for the Washington Internships for Native Students at American University.

Brandon Whitney

In 2008, Whitney cofounded a fledgling environmental nonprofit that supports local environmental work in NYC's five boroughs: ioby (ioby.org). To date, ioby has funded over 120 environmental projects in New York City and nationally. Whitney is also a Visiting Fellow with the Next Generation Engagement Project at UMass, Boston, focused on the scholarship of engagement and promoting public-oriented scholarship.

Before coming to ioby full time, Whitney was a Program Associate with the Center for Humans and Nature, an interdisciplinary think tank that explores and promotes civic responsibilities for the environment. Previously, with the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Whitney worked to develop collaborative research programs on climate change, global water issues, and extreme poverty. His prior experience includes consulting on inquiry-based environmental curricula for the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation and fostering urban environmental stewardship while at the Urban Resources Initiative. In addition to his environmental work over the last several years, Whitney also served as a Research Associate with the Center for Excellence in Curricular Engagement at North Carolina State University, collaborating on scholarship projects aimed at adapting the service-learning pedagogy to a variety of contexts. He has published articles and book chapters on civic engagement and education.

A 2004 Udall Scholar, Whitney holds undergraduate degrees in biology and political science from North Carolina State University, and a master’s of environmental science from Yale University.


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