FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 17, 2023
Kelley Beamer, Executive Director at the Coaltion of Oregon Land Trusts
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Gabe Sheoships, Executive Director of Friends of Tryon Creek and co-founder of the Oregon Land Justice Project, was awarded a 2023 Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award as an Emerging Leader. Gabe is Cayuse and Walla Walla and an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. He is recognized for his role in Portland’s Indigenous community as an environmental steward, a mentor, an educator, and a changemaker.
Gabe was co-nominated by Friends of Tryon Creek and the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts (COLT), who collaborates with Gabe on the Oregon Land Justice Project—a coordinated effort to restore Indigenous access and ownership of land and First Foods.
“Gabe is a gifted communicator with a relational approach to leadership, bringing his Indigenous perspective, scientific expertise, and educator role to all his work,” said Wilson Yee, Board Chair for Friends of Tryon Creek. “He leads Friends of Tryon Creek with a strong vision for both the big picture and practical, inclusive next steps. He forms authentic and lasting partnerships, through which collaborative and transformational work can be done.”
In addition to his work with Friends of Tryon Creek and COLT’s Oregon Land Justice Project, Gabe serves as the Board President for both the Tributaries Network and Nesika Willamut, and serves on the board for the Center for Diversity and the Environment and Freshwaters Illustrated. He is also an adjunct faculty instructor in both the Indigenous Nations Studies and University Studies departments and a mentor-facilitator for the Professional Certificate in Tribal Relations program at Portland State University.
“Though Gabe’s career and leadership roles are impressive, his character and actions are equally deserving of praise,” said Kelley Beamer, Executive Director of COLT. “Both professionally and personally, Gabe dedicates himself to protecting fish habitat, promoting the practice of cultural burning, advocating for access for Indigenous people to ancestral lands, and building up youth to be the next generation of leaders and land protectors.”
First awarded in 2001, the Indigenous Leadership Awards recognizes the unwavering dedication of Indigenous leaders from northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British Columbia, and southeast Alaska for their efforts to uplift the cultural, environmental, economic, and social conditions of their communities and homelands.
The Indigenous Leadership Award comes with a $12,500 unrestricted cash prize.
“We are grateful for all of the work Gabe has done–and the work he will do–for our people, our ways of life, our human and non-human relatives, and for the land. His impact on our community is immeasurable,” said Anna-Liza Victory, Oregon Land Justice Project Coordinator at COLT.
About the Coalition for Oregon Land Trusts
The Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts (COLT) serves and strengthens the land trust community in Oregon. At COLT, we build connections and advance policies that help protect our natural world—our water, wildlife and open space—for all people, forever. This work helps our coalition members—31 conservation organizations around the state—do what they do best: protect wildlife and wild places, defend working farms and forests, provide recreation and parks, drive climate solutions and science, champion clean water for all and engage communities to protect our natural world.
About Friends of Tryon Creek
Friends of Tryon Creek is a community-supported nonprofit started in 1970 to preserve Tryon Canyon. Today, strengthened by over 50 years of experience, Friends of Tryon Creek creates programming, space, and pathways for all communities and people to feel comfortable in the forest. We educate thousands of children a year through field trips and nature day camps, engage the community with festivals such a Trillium Festival and Indigenous Culture Day, and steward the creek and forest at Tryon Creek State Natural Area in partnership with Oregon State Parks. Our mission is to inspire every community to identify, cultivate or reclaim their relationship with nature in this cherished urban forest and our vision is an inclusive community connected to this cherished urban forest – now and for future generations.
Photo by Alex Milan Tracy, Underscore News