Psychologists in Public Service Wayfinder Award

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


Sponsor: Division 18


The Wayfinder Award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions in service to a Native community by way of research, teaching, program development, clinical practice, or any endeavor that serves to restore, revitalize, and regenerate Native culture, healing, or recovery from issues associated with historical trauma. This award is open to all disciplines; nominees do not need to be a psychologist or psychology student

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
  • 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

Submit nomination materials to Jennifer Snyder by May 1, 2022.

Past Recipients





Nathaniel Mohatt, MFA, PhD


Melinda Garcia


Julii M. Green, PhD


Bonnie M. Duran, Dr.PH


Victoria M. O’Keefe, MS

Last updated: March 2021Date created: April 2015