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This profile was last updated on 5/18/14  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Mr. Lenny Foster

Wrong Lenny Foster?

Board Member

Phone: (303) ***-****  HQ Phone
Link Center Foundation
P.O. Box 576
Firestone , Colorado 80520
United States

Company Description: The Link Center Foundation is a Colorado 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization dedicated to creating a permanent land-based, sustainable, holistic, non-denominational,...   more

Employment History

  • Spiritual Advisor and Director
    Navajo Nation Corrections Project
  • Navajo Project Director
    Navajo Nation Corrections Project
  • American Indian Movement

Board Memberships and Affiliations


  • Colorado State University
  • Arizona Western Junior College
118 Total References
Web References
Lakota Journal Bulletin - June 11-18, 2004 - Protecting Sacred Ceremonies Meeting To Be Held, 18 May 2014 [cached]
Lenny Foster, Navajo Nation
Petra | Lenny Foster, 28 Sept 2014 [cached]
Lenny Foster Petra | Lenny Foster
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
International Indian Treaty Council & AIM Speakers Bureau, 16 Oct 2013 [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.'Indian prison gang' claim exposes racial profiling, 16 July 2001 [cached]
Lenny Foster , Navajo project director for the Navajo Nation Corrections Project , is a spiritual advisor for inmates and advocate of Native American religious freedom rights in Arizona and nationwide.
Foster said he has never seen evidence of American Indian gangs during his visits to 96 state and federal prisons to assist with ceremonies and negotiate for religious rights.
That is the first time I've seen that in the news.I don't know what they mean by that..
Prison officials claim feathers on tattoos streaming from a warrior shield are the gang's symbol.However , Foster said , Eagles and feathers are common in Native art..
Foster said what actually is going on within prisons are increased demands for American Indian religious freedom rights.
Nationwide , American Indian inmates say their greatest need is consistent access to ceremonies , sacred items and spiritual leaders for prayers and guidance.
Inmates often are denied the right to prayer and purification in sweatlodges and possession of pipes , tobacco , drums , sage , cedar and traditional foods.
The trend throughout the country is to be strict and stern when it comes to Native American spiritual practices , Foster said.
Among those that disturb Foster is California's ban on long hair.One state does it , then it becomes a trend and sweeps the country..
Foster met with the U.S. Justice Department Civil Rights Division June 29 hoping to begin a dialogue to establish standards for American Indian spiritual practices within prisons.
He said he hopes that with good-faith negotiations based on mutual understanding , talks will lead to mediation to resolve misunderstandings.
We would rather negotiate than go to court , and avoid bad case law.The courts these days are not very friendly to Native American religious practices..
Foster said the Justice Department Civil Rights Division has the task of exploring ways to work together , reviewing and evaluating practices and gathering data to mediate fairness within the system.
He proposes dialogue between the Association for State Correctional Administrators , National Congress of American Indians , National Native American Prisoners Rights Coalition and the Civil Rights Division.
In prisons , American Indians are rediscovering the healing and redemption that comes from Native spiritual practices such as the sweatlodge and prayers with cedar and sage , he said.
Regardless of what Indian nation or tribe we belong to , we have a common bond , a common history , Foster said.
There is another disturbing trend shared by blacks , Mexican Americans and American Indians.
American Indians are being arrested at a disproportionately high number , Foster said.
NYC: An Evening with AIM ... [cached]
NYC: An Evening with AIM Member Lenny Foster Lenny Foster of the Diné Nation is the Director of the Navajo Nation Corrections Project and the Spiritual Advisor for 1,500 Native American inmates in many 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. ...
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