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Our Emerging Leader Award is granted to applicants who demonstrate a deep commitment to addressing gender and sexual violence against Indigenous people, who are utilizing their studies to lead ongoing efforts to raise awareness, support survivors, or prevent future violence. Each Emerging Leader Award recipient is given a $500 honorarium. 

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Marissa Perez is Oglala Sioux, Mexican, and British-American and has been involved in gender-based violence awareness, prevention, and advocacy for over eight years. She is currently working towards her Master of Legal Studies in Indigenous People’s Law at the University of Oklahoma.

Currently, she is serving as the Executive Director of The Yarrow Project, a nonprofit working to encircle and empower Native survivors of violence. By combining her degree in Indigenous People’s Law with her first hand experience as a survivor, advocate, and community leader, she hopes to use the law itself as a tool to break the systems designed to erase our people.

She also serves as a Logistics Officer in the U.S. Army Reserves. Constantly sewing, Marissa makes ribbon skirts, quilts, and other thread craft items while at home in Burien, Washington. She is a proud daughter, sister, and a full-time auntie to six nieces and nephews.

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