The National Native American Hall of Fame announced on June 1 that Patricia Zell, J.D., secretary of Fielding’s Board of Trustees, will be inducted into this year’s slate of nine honorees.
Patricia Zell, J.D.
Zell, who is of Arapaho/Navajo descent, is a partner in Zell & Cox Law, P.C., where she specializes in law affecting American Indians, Alaskan Natives and Native Hawaiians. Prior to entering private practice, Zell served for more than two decades as chief counsel and staff director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
“We are thrilled that Trustee Patricia Zell has been inducted into the National Native American Hall of Fame,” said Karen Bogart, Ph.D., chair of Fielding’s Board of Trustees. “This high honor recognizes the transformative achievements and broad impact she’s made in public policy, legislative processes, politics, and law.”
Zell worked on all the legislative initiatives developed by tribal leaders, including the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, the American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act, and the National Museum of the American Indian Act, among numerous other acts for Indian programs. In a 2021 interview with Fielding News, Zell called her “collaboration with tribal leaders on several bills” and programs one of the most memorable moments of her long legal career and advocacy work.
These are the other new Hall of Fame inductees: Governor Bill Anoatubby, Chickasaw, Governor of the Chickasaw Nation; Ryneldi Becenti, Navajo, the first Native American woman to play in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) league; John Echohawk, Pawnee, executive director of Native American Rights Fund; Tim Giago, Oglala Sioux, founder/publisher of Indian Country Today, and currently publisher of Native Sun News; Suzan Shown Harjo, Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee, writer and activist; Marshall McKay, Yocha Dehe Wintun leader; Earl Old Person, Sr., Blackfeet leader; and Joanne Shenandoah, Oneida, Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter.
The National Native American Hall of Fame will induct its new class of honorees at the First American Museum in Oklahoma City during a ceremony on November 5.