Sagamore of the Wabash
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The Sagamore of the Wabash is an honorary award created by the U.S. state of Indiana during the term of Governor Ralph F. Gates, who served from 1945 to 1949. A tri-state meeting was to be held in Louisville with officials from Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. Aides to Gates learned that the governor of Kentucky was preparing "Kentucky Colonel" certificates for Gates and Senator Robert A. Taft, who was representing Ohio. The Indiana delegation decided to create an appropriate award to present in return.
The term sagamore was the term used by Algonquian-speaking American Indian tribes of the northeastern United States for the tribal chiefs. The Wabash is the "State River" of Indiana and major tributary of the Ohio River. Each governor since Gates has presented the certificates in his own way. Until 2006, the award was the highest honor which the Governor of Indiana bestows, a personal tribute usually given to those who rendered distinguished service to the state or to the governor.
Among those who have received Sagamores have been astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists, musicians, politicians and citizens who have contributed greatly to Hoosier heritage. The Sagamore award has been conferred upon both men and women. There is no official record of the total number presented, as each governor has kept his own roll; just as each has reserved the right to personally select the recipients. Some individuals have received the award more than once; for example, current Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has received the award twice and Indiana University chancellor Herman B Wells was honored six times. Robert Charles Vollmer received the award in 2017.
Recipients of the Sagamore of the Wabash Award
The Sagamore of the Wabash Award does not have an official list of the number of Sagamore of the Wabash awards presented, but below is a partial list of notable recipients and the year they received the award:
- Harold Zisla, 1985, by Gov. Robert D. Orr; abstract expressionist painter and arts educator
- Ryan White, 1987 by Gov. Robert Orr; American teenager from Kokomo, Indiana, who became a national poster child for HIV/AIDS in the United States
- John Gregg, 1989, 1996, 2002 and 2003 Democratic Speaker of the Indiana House from 1996 to 2003
- Tommy John, 1989 by Gov. Evan Bayh, 288-game winner in Major League Baseball and first pitcher to have Tommy John surgery
- John Morton-Finney, 1990 by Gov. Evan Bayh
- Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold, 1994 and 2008
- Patricia Roy, 1994 by Governor Evan Bayh; Indiana High School Athletics Association, Assistant Commissioner.
- Arie Luyendyk, 1999 by Gov. Frank O’Bannon; 1990 and 1997 Indianapolis 500 winner
- Bob Chase, 2001 by Gov. Frank O'Bannon; Fort Wayne Komets play-by-play broadcaster.
- Mir Masoom Ali, 2002 by Gov. Frank O'Bannon; Ball State University George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Statistics
- Dorothy Runk Mennen, 2003
- Thomas McDermott Jr., 2005; Democratic Mayor of Hammond, Indiana (2004–Present)
- Mike Delph, January 2005; Indiana State Senator (December 2005 – present)
- Martin C. Jischke, 2007 by Governor Mitch Daniels; 10th president of Purdue University (2000–2007)
- David Letterman, 2007 by Gov. Mitch Daniels; comedian and television host
- Jeff Gordon, 2015 by Governor Mike Pence, 1994, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2014 Brickyard 400 Winner
- Donald Davidson, 2016 by Governor Mike Pence
- Seema Verma, 2016 by Governor Mike Pence
- Adam Vinatieri, 2017 by Governor Eric Holcomb; placekicker for the Indianapolis Colts (2006–present)
- Mario Rodriguez (aviation executive), 2018 by Governor Eric Holcomb; Executive Director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority (2014–present)
- Paul G Kuczora, 2020 by Governor Eric Holcomb; President and CEO of Grant-Blackford Mental Health Center (1977-2020)
On March 3, 2006, Governor Mitch Daniels designated another state honor, named the Sachem Award. He determined it would be awarded to only one person each year. It is Indiana's highest honor, and a plaque listing recipients is posted on the first floor of the Indiana Statehouse.
- 2005: John Wooden, former Purdue University basketball player and college coach
- 2006: Theodore Hesburgh, former president of the University of Notre Dame
- 2007: Jane Blaffer Owen, in recognition of her philanthropic efforts in historic preservation and the arts
- 2008: Bill Gaither and Gloria Gaither, musicians
- 2009: Donald C. Danielson, New Castle business and civic leader
- 2010: Carl Erskine, former Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers baseball player
- 2011: William A. Cook, entrepreneur, philanthropist and historic preservationist, co-founded the medical equipment manufacturer Cook Group
- 2012: Ian M. Rolland, former chairman and CEO of Lincoln National Corp.
- 2013: Don Wolf, former President and CEO of Do-It Best Corporation based in Fort Wayne, Indiana
- 2014: P. E. McAllister, President of MacAllister Machinery and former chairman of the Indianapolis Capital Improvements Board
- 2015: Amos Brown, a radio broadcaster who was a fierce defender and leader in the African-American community of Indianapolis
- 2017: Eva Mozes Kor, Holocaust survivor and founder of CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center
- 2018: Sammy L. Davis, Vietnam veteran and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor
- 2019: George Rapp, orthopedic surgeon and pioneering inventor of hip prostheses
- 2020: Reginald O. Jones, Sr., Hoosier businessman, community leader and mentor
Contents of the award
When a Sagamore of the Wabash is given to a recipient it is accompanied by other artifacts. It's uncertain if the contents of the award vary by year or by recipient. The gallery below shows the contents of a specific award given on January 9, 2005.
- Indianapolis Monthly, September 2004, Page 143
- "Former Speaker Of The House To Serve As Featured Speaker At Annual Democratic Dinner - March 28, 2011 - www.spencereveningworld.com - Spencer Evening World". Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "Acceptance From John". The New York Times. September 3, 1989. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
- W.F. Harvey, "Vignettes of 100 Years, Indiana Law Review (1995) Vol. 28:143, 150
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Former Assistant Commissioner Pat Roy Passes Away. Indiana High School Athletic Association website. Retrieved on October 6, 2017.
- on YouTube. Retrieved on October 6, 2017.
- "Indy 500 - Drivers, Mechanics Honored". IRL. Motorsport.com. May 29, 1999. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
- Sebring, Blake (November 24, 2016). "Fort Wayne legend Bob Chase has passed". Fort Wayne News-Sentinel. Archived from the original on November 25, 2016.
- "Mir Masoom Ali". www.cs.bsu.edu. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 24, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Lake County Democratic Central Committee: Thomas McDermott - Chairman" Archived October 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Lake County Democratic Central Committee, accessed April 11, 2011
- "Senator Delph To Speak About Immigration To Silent No More Group". Times-Union. August 12, 2010.
- Medaris, Kim (June 12, 2007). "Neil Armstrong presents Jischke with award; scholarship fund progress announced". Purdue News Service. Purdue University. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
- "David Letterman 'thrilled' to be a lasting part of Ball State". Archived from the original on November 12, 2007. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "Jeff Gordon honored in Pittsboro: 'One of the best days of my life'". Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "IMS Historian Donald Davidson receives the Sagamore of the Wabash | WFNI ESPN 1070 the Fan | Indy's SportsCenter". WFNI ESPN 1070 the Fan | Indy's SportsCenter. Retrieved June 8, 2016.
- "Donald Trump meets with Dr. Seema Verma, who may help in restructuring Obamacare". The American Bazaar. November 22, 2016.
- "Vinatieri named Sagamore of the Wabash". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved February 6, 2017.
- Indiana Minority Business Magazine | Employee volunteerism continues to grow
- "I named @INDairport executive director Mario Rodriguez a Sagamore of the Wabash today at the @IndianaLatino luncheon. Mario and his team run the best airport in North America!pic.twitter.com/H3XbVbZQcy". September 4, 2018.
- Jankowski, Jane "Wooden first honoree for new award created by Governor Daniels" Governor Daniels Press Release, March 3, 2006 accessed April 10, 2011
- "IN.GOV - Entry Details View". Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 7, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Amos Brown posthumously honored with Sachem Award - Local News - 13 WTHR Indianapolis
- Midwest Communications Inc. "Kohr Honored With The Sachem Award | News | WIBQ". Wibqam.com. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
- GOV - Sammy L. Davis to receive 2018 Sachem Award
- Dr. George Rapp to Receive 2019 Sachem Award - Inside INdiana Business
- "Reginald O. Jones, Sr. receives 2020 Sachem Award". calendar.in.gov. Retrieved September 28, 2020.