Mann, who is also special assistant to MSU President Geoff Gamble, is one of two persons honored by the NIEA with the lifetime achievement award. Gerald Gipp, a Hunkpapa Sioux who lives in Alexandria, Va., will also receive the award.
"This award is a grand affirmation of the many, many years, actually about half my life, which I have spent in the trenches of Indian education just doing a job," Mann said. "It is especially heart-warming that this is coming at a time in my life when I can still enjoy it and all that it means, and that I have been selected from among the many who continue to labor in behalf of Indian students."
Mann is currently on leave from her MSU duties to serve as the inaugural president of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College in Weatherford, Okla.
Mann has been at MSU since 2000 when she was named the first endowed chair for the MSU Native American Studies department. Mann had been at the University of Montana intermittently for 28 years prior. Rolling Stone magazine selected her as one of the top 10 college professors in the country in 1991.
Mann and Gamble established MSU's Council of Elders, composed of leaders of all of Montana's tribes. Mann is also fundraising for a planned $10-million Native American Studies Center, $2 million of which is targeted as scholarships for Native American students.
A native of Hammon, Okla., Mann received her bachelor's degree in education from Southwestern Oklahoma State, her master's from Oklahoma State and a doctorate from the University of New Mexico. She has also taught at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley.
This is the second major award this year for Mann, who won the University of New Mexico's 2008 Bernard S. Rodey Award for leaders in education. A former recipient of Cheyenne Indian of the Year and the National American Indian Woman of the Year, Mann has sat on the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian, and on the boards of many other organizations, including the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.
Susan Fraser (406) 994-2341, firstname.lastname@example.org