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Lenny Foster

Spiritual Advisor and Director

Navajo Nation Corrections Project

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I agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand that I will receive a subscription to ZoomInfo Community Edition at no charge in exchange for downloading and installing the ZoomInfo Contact Contributor utility which, among other features, involves sharing my business contacts as well as headers and signature blocks from emails that I receive.

Background Information

Employment History

National Coordinator

National Native American Prisoners Rights Advocates Coalition


Affiliations

International Indian Treaty Council

Board Member


The Petra Foundation

Fellow Lenny Foster


Leaonard Pelteir

Spiritual Advisor


American Indian Movement

Representative


AIM

Member of the Grand Council


Native American Church

Member


P.O. Drawer 709

Spiritual Advisor, The Navajo Nation Corrections Project


American Friends Service Committee Native American Task Force

Member


Education

Arizona Western Junior College


Centauras High School


Colorado State University


Sociology


DC Photos


Web References(115 Total References)


www.tribalyouthprogram.org

Led by Lenny Foster, Program Supervisor, 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.


windcall.org [cached]

Lenny Foster, Navajo Nation Corrections Project, Arizona


petrafoundation.org

Lenny Foster
The Petra Foundation | Lenny Foster The Petra Foundation 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


petrafoundation.org [cached]

Lenny Foster
Petra | Lenny Foster Petra 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


www.petrafoundation.org [cached]

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.


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