Marcus Harrison, Jr., (Comanche) – Former Chief Executive Officer of Native Health, located in Phoenix, Arizona was instrumental in arranging the community Talking Circles in 2004 that led to the first Urban American Indian Disability & Vocational Rehabilitation Summit the following year and continues successfully each year since, now known as the American Indian Disability Summit. Mr. Harrison was a leader in the community and strongly advocated for those who needed a voice. The Marcus Harrison, Jr., Leadership Award was established to acknowledge others working to keep that voice of advocacy for American Indians with disabilities alive through his/her leadership and dedication. “The inspiration behind the painting of "A Warrior’s Vision" comes directly from Marcus Harrison himself. He wanted to do as much as he could to make a better road toward connecting health concerns of American Indian people with education and availability of health services. As the artist of this oil painting, I made every effort to capture the visions, ideas, spirit and plans that Marcus Harrison shared with me. The painting is of a traditional dancer; the dancer is represented as a spirit painted in black and white. His top feathers are a sign of his bravery and his eagle feather visor is to help his vision stay sharp as the eagle’s eyes to see danger, adversity and the enemy. The eagle plume he wears is to honor his grandmother, his mother, his female relatives, and all American Indian women. The main part of the picture is his shield, which is the only part of the picture that has color. The emblem depicted on the shield represents the Comanche Nation, of which Marcus was a member. The meaning behind the colorful shield is this, although this young man has begun his journey along the spirit path, his vision, ideas, spirit and plans are still alive. Oyate kin (the people) are keeping his vision alive, such as the people who are involved with the American Indian Disability Summit; they are helping to continue this vision. I believe this is the greatest honor to my young brother."
Gary Rush, Artist, Great Sioux Nation