Psychologists in Public Service Wayfinder Award

Recognize an individual's work in service to a Native American community.


Sponsor: Division 18


This award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions in service to a Native American community by way of research, teaching, program development, clinical practice or any endeavor that serves to restore, revitalize and regenerate Native American culture, healing or recovery from issues associated with historical trauma.

Hereafter, for the purpose of clarification, the term Native American is defined as, and inclusive of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and all First Nation peoples of North America and Hawaii.

The art of wayfinding was a culturally informed means of navigation used on long distance ocean voyages throughout Oceania that ended around the 14th century. A century or so later, the world succumbed to great changes and part of them was the systematic and sustained loss of indigenous wisdom and cultures all across the globe. As a result, many native peoples have similar histories wherein tradition and culture has been despoiled and historical trauma the dominant narrative. Today, wayfinding is a still a term related to navigation but it typically references a navigator or pathfinder. Its relevance to native communities has since become iconic in that it represents the revitalization of culture, tradition, and what remains of the ancient indigenous wisdom. Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit, as expressed by culture, is among the central challenges of our time and wayfinding has become the contemporary mechanism for navigating those complex issues.


This award is open to all disciplines; nominees do not need to be a psychologist or psychology student. Contribution and impact may include but not limited to: 

  • Important research in a public service setting, field, or with any Native American population.
  • The development of effective materials, ground breaking research, implementation of an effective program, or development of evidence based practice that is culturally appropriate for Native Americans. 
  • The establishment of workshops, conferences or networks of communication for education or training of psychologists or behavioral health professionals working with any Native American population.
  • Achievement and leadership in administration with any Native American population.
  • Development of innovative teaching, program development, or clinical practice focused on improving the needs of any Native American population.
  • Local, regional and national recognition of research, teaching, program development and/or clinical practice related to Native Americans.
  • Work done to assist initiatives in cultural revitalization, self-determination or advocacy with Native Americans that is related to well-being.
How to Apply

To submit a nomination, please provide the following:

  • A letter of nomination that describes and supports the individual's contributions as a wayfinder.
  • Curriculum vitae.
  • Two additional letters of support.

All nomination materials for this award should be sent to Shirley Glynn by May 1.

Date created: April 2015