WASHINGTON, DC – Rachel’s Network announced that it has awarded tribal attorney Tara Houska with its inaugural Catalyst Award. The award recognizes women of color making an environmental impact in communities across the country with a $10,000 prize and networking opportunities.

Tara (Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe) is former campaigns director of Honor the Earth, former advisor on Native American affairs to Bernie Sanders, and founder of Giniw collective, a grassroots, frontlines effort led by indigenous women to protect Anishinaabe territory from the destruction of Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands project. She is also a co-founder of Not Your Mascots, a nonprofit committed to eradicating native stereotyping.

In 2016, Tara spent six months in North Dakota fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline through legal support and awareness-raising. She has advocated for fossil fuel divestment, written reports on financial forecasts related to fossil fuel investments, organized direct actions, and participated in delegations to financial institutions, credit rating agencies, and insurers.

“Environmental progress won’t come from policy change alone – we also need a cultural paradigm shift,” said Rachel’s Network President Fern Shepard. “Tara skillfully addresses both of these needs in her work and gives us a vision for what a healthy relationship with the Earth could look like.”

“Tara is driven by a deep-seated conviction to fight for justice for indigenous people, save the planet from the climate crisis, and protect our air and water for future generations,” said Katie Thomas, senior policy advisor for energy and environment, Senator Bernie Sanders. “Tara deserves major national recognition for her work. She has been a pivotal and indispensable leader in the environmental movement.”


Rachel’s Network, named after noted environmentalist Rachel Carson, is a community of women at the intersection of environmental advocacy, philanthropy, and leadership. Their mission is to promote women as impassioned leaders and agents of change dedicated to the stewardship of the earth. The Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award was established to address the underrepresentation of women of color in leadership positions in the environmental community.

For more information, email erica (at)

Photo of Tara by Ayse Gursoz

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