Michael Martin | Champion Award Finalist
The Haudenosaunee culture is firmly rooted in the belief that “we are stronger together.” Embracing this teaching, Michael Martin, as the Executive Director of Native American Community Services (NACS) of Erie and Niagara Counties, is working to build stronger community partnerships and greater awareness of the challenges Native Americans face.
NACS provides quality health and social services to the off-reservation Native American population in Western New York and continues to expand its programs toward addressing the vast needs of its target population. Today, under Michael’s leadership, it focuses on economic self-sufficiency, family services, health and wellness, and community and cultural services including a speaker series, Native American language preservation and a cultural resource library.
Michael has passed along the Native American teachings instilled in him by his parents, enabling a deeper understanding of his community that has led to lasting assets and more informed and effective partnerships across the community. This has, in turn, created new models and opportunities for Native Americans to heal from historical trauma.
In the community, Michael is involved in many organizations, using his talents to promote societal change. An example of his efforts to secure racial equity and healing for the Native American community was his involvement in the Lancaster school district’s decision to retire their sports teams’ logo.
In addition, Michael has organized community forums and a native professionals network. He has built a deeper understanding of the Native people across Western New York and beyond, leading innovative approaches that significantly improve lives and exemplify what it means to be stronger together.