Native American Recognition Days honors six at Heard Museum banquet

Phoenix, Arizona (ICC) 12-08                 

Continuing a 26 year tradition, the Native American Recognition Days (NARD) festivities will feature an annual banquet honoring six outstanding community members from the Native American community. Loren Tapahe, Debra Krol, Dennis Numkena, Beverly Warne, Brandon Clark and Sam Burris will be honored at this year’s banquet held Nov. 19th  at the Heard Museum.  

“We are delighted to announce this year’s honorees, continuing the legacy that Native American Recognition Days has created,” says Patti Hibbeler, Phoenix Indian Center CEO. “The events are really designed to celebrate the contributions and advancements Native people have made to the valley, and this year’s honorees are clearly profiles we are all proud of.”

The banquet is hosted by the Phoenix Indian Center and typically attracts several hundred attendees, sponsors and organizations. The event features Native American entertainment, dinner and the awards ceremony.


Man of the Year Award – Loren Tapahe, Navajo, is the publisher and founder of the Arizona Native Scene newspaper, which has been in operation for 12 years in the Phoenix valley. Under the newspaper operation, he publishes his own newspaper, design brochures, magazines, posters, conference booklets and newsletters for commercial and tribal clientele.

Loren is active in the community and holds membership in several organizations, including the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona, the ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications Endowment Board; the City of Phoenix Police Department Advisory Committee; the American Indian Veteran’s Memorial Organization; the Arizona Territory Gourd Society and the Native American Journalist Association. He resides in Mesa, Arizona, with his wife Carolyn and three daughters, Jordan, Annika, and Peyton. 

Loren is an avid photographer and writer. His career in journalism has taken him to many states in North America and to Central America to photograph the treatment of Indigenous Peoples of Nicaragua.  

Woman of the Year Award – Debra Krol is an enrolled member of the Jolon (or Xolon) Salinan Tribe of Central California. For the past 10 years, she has been working as a writer, reporter and editor. Krol, who’s currently a marketing communications manager at the Heard Museum, has also served Arizona’s Indian communities as the former deputy director of the Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs and reporter for the Fort McDowell Yavapai News.

“I am humbled and honored beyond belief to receive this award,” says Krol. “I honestly always believed that I was just doing what any Native person working as a journalist would do – help educate people about tribal cultures, history, government and current affairs, and that I’m just a footsoldier in this effort.”