Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America
April 8, 2000 - Issue 07

Mary Ann Andreas
California Woman of the Year
California Lt. Governor Cruz M. Bustamante named Mary Ann Martin Andreas, tribal chairwoman of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, as the first recipient of the Woman of the Year award to be issued by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

"Chairwoman Andreas is a remarkable person because of her personal triumphs and the progress she has achieved on behalf of not only her own tribe, but for all of California's tribes," Bustamante said in making the award. "This is a woman who grew up in a house with dirt floors and no running water or electricity."

Andreas has served for more than two decades in tribal government, and has worked closely with city, county, state and federal lawmakers on many issues, including housing, child welfare and economic development. In addition, she has focused on water and land resources, health care, vocational training, education, and transportation issues, as well as environmental protection, elder care, community planning and tribal gaming issues.

She has been elected four times as the tribal chairwoman of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, a 1,000 member tribe that resides near Banning, California. Under her leadership, the Morongo tribe has gone from welfare dependency to success as one of the largest tribal employers in California. She has been named one of the top ten Native American leaders in the country
and was honored by the National Indian Gaming Association as Tribal Leader of the Year in 1998.

Andreas is the first member of her tribe to attend Harvard University, where she graduated from a special program for senior executives in state and local government. She began her public service career in 1978, which included service as a Morongo tribal council member; a tribal delegate for Indian Health Services; and as a member of the Malki Museum, which is dedicated to preserving the Cahuilla Indian culture and traditions.

In 1999, Andreas was elected by more than 50 tribal governments to lead historic tribal-state gaming negotiations with the Governor of California. Never before in the country had this many tribal governments and a state Governor come together for this purpose. More than 50,000 jobs and the economic future of California's tribes were at stake.

"Those who admire Chairwoman Andreas know she has remarkable character. She has vision. She has heart. She has courage. She speaks her mind," Bustamante said. "She has helped transform ignorance, racism and indifference into understanding and support. Our world will be different because she was here."

Andreas was honored as part of the Legislature's annual Woman of the Year ceremony.

back to the What's New page

Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.

Canku Ota is a copyright of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the Copyright © 1999 of Paul C. Barry. All Rights Reserved.