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This profile was last updated on 7/27/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Mr. Lenny Foster

Wrong Lenny Foster?

Board Member

Phone: (415) ***-****  HQ Phone
Local Address:  United States
International Indian Treaty Council
456 N. Alaska St.
Palmer , Alaska 99645
United States

Company Description: The IITC was founded in 1974 at a gathering by the American Indian Movement in Standing Rock, South Dakota attended by more than 5000 representatives of 98...   more

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

  • Board Member
    Navajo Nation Corrections Project
  • Member
    Navajo Nation Corrections Project
  • International Indian Treaty Council Board Member, National Coordinator
    National Native American Prisoners Rights Advocates Coalition
  • Member
    Native American Church
  • Board Member
    Link Center Foundation


  • Colorado State University
  • Arizona Western Junior College
120 Total References
Web References
Petra | Lenny Foster, 27 July 2015 [cached]
Lenny Foster Petra | Lenny Foster
Lenny Foster "Spirituality is the foundation of American Indian culture-the root of a traditional way of life. If American Indian peoples are denied the right to exercise their spirituality, we're talking about a denial that borders on cultural genocide. -Lenny Foster, 1997
In May of 1972, a group of spiritual leaders involved in the American Indian Movement (AIM) went to Minnesota's Stillwater prison to perform a traditional Native American Pipe Ceremony. For 23-year-old Lenny Foster, one of the youngest AIM participants, this powerful experience would set the direction for his life's work. "It had a profound impact on me," he says. "I could see the hope on [the prisoners'] faces. I felt so good that I could pray in my native tongue. That was fate. Destiny. Recognizing the importance of traditional Native American religious practice as a source of strength and a necessary means of cultural preservation, Lenny has spent the last 28 years fighting to ensure that incarcerated Native Americans have the right to worship with access to their traditional ceremonies.
Lenny grew up in Fort Defiance, Arizona, with his mother and his father, a Navajo code talker during World War II. Lenny attended an Indian school as a day student and lived with his grandparents on a traditional Navajo sheep camp over the summers. "This traditional upbringing serves as a foundation of who I am today," he says. "I've made it my calling to go to institutions where Native Americans are incarcerated and share it with those who didn't have the opportunity to learn the traditions and to draw strength from their spiritual heritage."
After trying out unsuccessfully for the Los Angeles Dodgers' farm team, Lenny went to Arizona Western Junior College and then to Colorado State University. In college, he had his first exposure to the civil rights movement. "People were talking about riots in Detroit and Malcolm X and Martin Luther King," Lenny says, "and I was wondering-where do I fit in? Lenny joined the American Indian Movement.
In 1970, he was involved in the occupation of Alcatraz and, in 1972, in the Trail of Broken Treaties Caravan and the Bureau of Indian Affairs take-over in Washington, D.C. He took part in the 71-day protest at Wounded Knee in 1973. In 1978, he participated in the Longest Walk, a seven-month journey from Alcatraz to Washington, D.C., to protest proposed legislation that would eliminate the federal government's fiduciary responsibilities to American Indian nations.
In 1981, as a graduate student in public administration, Lenny volunteered in the Arizona State prisons, where he constructed the first prison sweat lodge in the Southwest. Eventually he realized that his heart lay in this work, and he left his graduate program to pursue it full time. In 1983, the Navajo Nation tribal government began to support his efforts to provide spiritual counsel to incarcerated Native Americans. Today, as the Spiritual Advisor and Director of the Navajo Nations Corrections Project, he is responsible for the traditional spiritual guidance of 1500 inmates in 89 state and federal penitentiaries. "Many prison administrators don't want Indian people to succeed. They are threatened by the return to spiritual beliefs and want to deny Indians the right to rehabilitate themselves through spirituality," he says. He is troubled by the high rate of suicide among Native American prisoners, especially juveniles.
Lenny has authored and co-authored legislation protecting the rights of incarcerated Native Americans in four states in the Southwest. He has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on several occasions. He has been a board member of the International Indian Treaty Council since 1992. In January, 1998, Lenny's testimony on the overlooked rights of American Indian prisoners was accepted by the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Later that same month, the Association of State Correctional Administrators accepted his proposal to develop standards for American Indian religious freedom within all correctional facilities.
A member of the Grand Council of AIM since 1992, a member of the Native American Church and an active Sundancer, Lenny is active in the protest of the forced relocation of the Dine people in Big Mountain, Arizona.
Lenny Foster is concerned that today's American Indian youth are less exposed to the traditions that gave him strength. "The responsibility we have as Indian people to teach our children and youths is great-alcoholism, drugs, broken homes are everywhere-you don't have the role models my generation had. By offering those most in need of support the kind of spiritual guidance he had as a boy, Lenny Foster shoulders his responsibility to pass on tradition and, in so doing, to pass on strength.
Lenny Foster
6. Leonard Foster: Dine' ..., 20 June 2015 [cached]
6. Leonard Foster: Dine' Nation, Native American Prisoners' Rights Coalition, Arizona;
International Indian Treaty Council & AIM Speakers Bureau, 30 May 2015 [cached]
Vernon Bellecourt, Clarleene Teters, Lenny Foster
Vernon Bellecourt, Charlene Teters, Lenny Foster
Lenny Foster
Lenny Foster
Lenny is the Director of the Navajo Nation Corrections Project and the Spiritual Advisor for 1,500 Indian inmates in 34 state and federal prisons in the Western U.S. He has co-authored legislation in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado that allows Native American spiritual and religious practice in prison and results in significant reductions in prison returns. He is a board member of the International Indian Treaty Council, a sun dancer and member of the Native American Church. He has been with the American Indian Movement since 1969 and has participated in actions including Alcatraz, Black Mesa, the Trail of Broken Treaties, Wounded Knee '73, the Menominee Monastery Occupation, Shiprock Fairchild Occupation, the Longest Walk and the Big Mountain land struggle. He was a 1993 recipient of the City of Phoenix, Dr. Martin Luther King Human Rights Award.
Tom is a spokesperson for the Indigenous Environmental Network (lEN).
lEN is a national, grassroots, environmental organization involved with stopping toxic and nuclear dumping on or near Indigenous lands and with leading the struggle to reform national environmental, economic and energy policies that are genocidal to Indigenous people.
Americas Regional Preparatory Conference To the World Conference Against Racism Item 2 on the Agenda, Victims of Racial Discrimination, 21 Nov 2010 [cached]
Oral Intervention by Mr. Lenny Foster, International Indian Treaty Council
On behalf of the International Indian Treaty Council I would like to thank you for the opportunity to make this important statement to this forum. It is indeed a privilege and an honor to be part of the United Nations conference against Racism, Xenophobia, Racial Discrimination and Related Intolerance regional meeting in Santiago Chile.
My name is Lenny Foster, a Board member of the International Indian Treaty Council and member of the Navajo Nation, which is the largest Indian Nation in North America.
Technical Partners | Tribal Reentry Green, 11 Oct 2011 [cached]
Lenny Foster, Navajo Nation Corrections Project, is Program Supervisor of the Navajo Nation Corrections Project. The Navajo Nation Corrections Project researches the issues affecting incarcerated Navajo and other Native Americans through meeting unmet spiritual, cultural and legal needs. He has nearly three decades of experience working with prisons and is a spiritual advisor for approximately 2000 Native American inmates in 96 state prisons and federal penitentiaries across the US. His experience in providing direct services includes; sweat lodge ceremonies, talking circles, spiritual gatherings, and individual and family counseling. Mr. Foster is also the board member of the International Indian Treaty Council; National Coordinator for the National Native American Prisoners Rights Advocates Coalition; and a member of the American Friends Service Committee Native American Task Force.
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