Ispitaki Chelle Brown

Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Mont.

Chelle Brown (Blackfeet) enjoyed the seven years she worked as a pharmacy technician but decided that she would like to be a Pharmacist. The mother of two opted to take a chance on herself. “I took that big leap, resigned from my job, and signed up for school,” she said. Chelle is now a full-time student at Salish Kootenai College where she is enrolled in the Life Sciences program doing her prerequisites in preparation for Pharmacy school. Her long-term goal is to return to her community to help her people achieve better health. “I want people to know that I am Native American,” she said, “and I am here to help our people.” She is using the scholarship funds for books, transportation and childcare. “With this award this is one less thing I will have to worry about so I will be able to put more energy and time into my studies. Thank you again.”

Benjamin Steward

Iḷisaġvik College, Barrow, Alaska

Benjamin Steward (Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians) is currently pursuing a liberal arts degree at the only Tribal College in Alaska. The focus of his studies is Native history with an emphasis on the Pacific Northwest. He plans to continue his studies after earning a bachelor’s degree and is considering Tribal Law. Ben has worked in tribal health care since he was 18, both as a community health aide and a dental health aide therapist. He admits having regrets about not attending college earlier but as a 35-year-old married man with two children it can be difficult to juggle so many responsibilities. “Raising a family while going to school full time is stressful, and you have to make every penny count, “ he said. “I plan on using this scholarship to by a new printer/scanner and possibly a new computer… This scholarship is more than money; it is also a boost to my motivation.”

Alexandria Weaver

College of the Muskogee Nation, Okmulgee, Okla.

Alexandria Weaver is a single mother who faces significant challenges as a full-time student. Her daughter was involved in a serious automobile accident when she was just seven weeks old. After emerging from a coma, Willow was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Now Alexandria has to juggle her school work with a multitude of weekly therapy sessions for her daughter while commuting 110 miles round trip to school. “My mother lets me use her truck and tries her best to keep enough money aside for me to make it to and from school so I can graduate with a college degree and build a better life for me and my daughter,” said Alexandria, who appreciates the flexibility of the Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship. “I’m using the scholarship money for commuting expenses to ensure that I never have to miss a day of school or worry about how I am going to come up with the money to get there.”

Keri Miller

College of Menominee Nation, Keshena, Wisc.

Keri Miller (Stockbridge Munsee Band of Mohicans) is a part-time student working towards an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Studies. As a single mother, widow and non-traditional student she understands full well about the challenges of juggling work, school and family. The financial assistance provided by the Spirit of Sovereignty has helped alleviate the stress. Like many Native students, Keri travelled a long, bumpy road to higher education. After experiencing the death of her mother when she was 11, and living in the homes of various family and friends, Keri struggled with addiction and did not make education a priority. Her goal is to become an advocate for Native families navigating the Indian Child Welfare system. “The impact higher education can have on so many aspects of one’s life is amazing… Now, as an older member of my community, I cannot help but wonder what I was thinking waiting so long.”

Shiree Strange Owl

Chief Dull Knife College, Lame Deer, Mont.

Shiree Strange Owl (Crow) is working towards an Associate’s Degree in Business, with plans to move on to a four-year institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Her educational pursuits have been shaped by her life experience as a single mother and the oldest of 11 children. Growing up on the Crow Reservation, where poverty, crime and the realities of drug abuse are a constant presence, life did not come easy for Shiree. Fortunately she learned the value of hard work and a positive attitude and became a leader and a role model for her siblings. “There is no replacement for the innate desire I have to make changes in my life and other’s lives,” she said. Shiree recognizes the importance of the Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship program. “My people have fought to gain sovereignty, which has given me the opportunity to get an education.”

Michaela Smith

Sitting Bull College, Fort Yates, N.D.

Michaela Smith (Spirit Lake Sioux) is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Native American Culture and Dakota/Lakota Language in the Native American Studies program at Sitting Bull College. She works with young people in her community, organizing youth gatherings, family nights, the youth language bowl and traditional pow wows. Her career goal is to work with Native youth to pass along all she has learned about her culture. “I take great pride in my Dakota culture and language,” she said. Along the way, Michaela has made the Dean’s List and received the Vice President’s Award. As the mother of five children, there has been a lot of stress associated with the financial burdens of being a student. “Being awarded this scholarship is so beneficial to me continuing my educational goals,” she said, adding special words of thanks to scholarship donors. “Pidamayayel cante waste nape ciyuzapi ye. I shake your hand with a good heart. Thank you!”

Jasmin Budreau

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Cloquet, Minn.

It was at her tribe’s Community Center that Jasmin Budreau found what she wanted to do with her life – become an advocate for youth, on and off the reservation. Jasmin first began working with youth while she was in high school. “I want the youth to know there is no shame in their struggle and that they have strength within them.” Jasmin is pursuing her Associate of Arts Degree and plans to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology or Psychology after that. “When I first heard I was selected for the Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship, I was shocked … I want to give back to the youth I have been working with and continue for the next generations.”

Loren Greeley, Jr.

Sisseton Wahpeton College, Sisseton, S.D.

Traveling at least 160 miles each day to attend school, Loren Greeley, Jr. is a determined student who is doing whatever it takes to attain his education. Loren is studying to become a licensed practical nurse and works full-time in a long-term care facility. He plans to work for Indian Health Services, just like his grandmother did. “I want to be able to help and educate my community and make it a better environment.” Loren is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe.

Roberta Crowe

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College – Hayward, WI

Roberta Crowe is a Native American Studies student who has found her passion for her culture, traditions and language while attending Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College in Wisconsin. After graduating with a certificate in Native American art, she will be transferring to a four-year university to continue her education with plans to become a teacher. Her future goals are to come back to the Lac Courte Oreilles community to teach others about their culture, tradition and language. “I would like to bring my knowledge back here and teach the younger generation all that I learned, giving them the same gifts that I received. I will do all that I can to help the younger generation and to learn my language, heritage and culture,” Crowe said. She used her Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship funds to help pay for educational and living costs while attending LCOOCC.

Nakina Hart

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College – Lac du Flambeau, WI

A student from the LCOOCC-Lac du Flambeau outreach site who pursued an associate’s degree in liberal arts, Nakina Hart is determined to continue her education at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She plans to receive a bachelor’s degree in sociology and social work so she can return to Lac du Flambeau and work with children. Hart believes that by supporting Native children she will help better their lives and the future of the community. “I want to work with Native children when they think no one is there for them. When we start helping our Native children, we change things for the better in their lives,” Hart said. She used the Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship funds to help defray living costs while attending LCOOCC.

Kayla Jackson

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Cloquet, Minn.

Kayla Jackson is an enrolled member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe in Nevada. She moved to Northern Minnesota when she was young and was raised in the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa community. Kayla earned her associate of arts degree in 2016 from Fond du Lake Tribal and Community College, and in 2018 graduated with an associate of science degree in environmental science. She has also earned a certificate in geospatial technologies (GIS), skills that are in much demand in Indian Country. As an intern with the Tribe’s natural resources department and working at the Environmental Institute, Kayla has participated in numerous projects and initiatives related to her passion for the environment. She used her scholarship funds towards tuition, books, transportation and housing.

Danelle Belgarde

Turtle Mountain Community College, Belcourt, N.D.

Danelle Belgarde is the youngest of seven children from a single-parent household. Her mom worked hard to support the family, and Danelle learned how to be responsible at a very early age. After graduating from high school in Dunseith, N.D., Danelle spent time in the workforce and raising her two young boys before returning to school to pursue a career as a Certified Nursing Assistant. After reaching that goal, she returned home to continue her education in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Danelle’s goal is to commit herself to lifelong learning no matter what the circumstances so that she can make a good life for her family.

Brian Welsh

Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, Baraga, Mich.

Brian dropped out of college after his father died in 1997, but he isn’t giving up on his dream of earning a business degree. His father’s death was a shock that set him off course, but 17 years later Brian found himself back in school. “I pulled myself up and got myself back on my path. That was when I walked into the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College and signed up for classes for the first time in 17 years. It was the best thing I had ever done for myself,” Brian said. Having earned his Associate’s Degree in Anishinaabe Studies in 2018, Brian is now pursuing his Bachelor’s degree. Brian plans to run his own business and return to the reservation to give back to his community.

Misty Jackson

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College – Lac du Flambeau, WI

After serving nearly 15 years in the U.S. Army, Misty Jackson turned her sights on finishing the college education she started many years ago. A student at the LCOOCC-Lac du Flambeau outreach site who double-majored in Native American Studies and science, Jackson plans to transfer to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study neurobiology and come closer to her goal of becoming a medical doctor. It’s something she’s dreamed about since she was 8 years old. Jackson plans to use her experience and traditional Ojibwe culture to help battle diseases that Native Americans face. The Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship helped Jackson with expenses as she traveled between the LCOOCC main campus and the Lac du Flambeau outreach site each week. “I plan to come back to be a provider in the local northern Wisconsin area, and will be happy to give mentorship and guidance to our future generations,” Jackson said.

Rose Ramsey

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College – Hayward, WI

Facing addiction, debilitating depression and illness, Rose Ramsey found that education was the key to her survival. The Native American Studies student is working toward becoming a suicide prevention worker and inspirational speaker, hoping to use her story of resilience to instill hope in others who are struggling. “I have rebuilt my life, and set a goal and am working towards that goal to complete graduation. Never in a million years would I have thought back then that I could go back to school.” Ramsey used the Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship funds to help with living costs while attending Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College in Wisconsin.

Amy Fasthorse

Sisseton Wahpeton College, Sisseton, S.D.

As a single mother of four children, Amy Fasthorse has her hands full, but the full-time student at Sisseton Wahpeton College is on her way to earning her degree, all while working a full-time job. Amy says she has a passion for law enforcement and plans to earn a position in that field after graduation. “It took me a while to achieve my goals and now this is my main goal: to complete my education.” Amy is a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe.

Angela Hindsley

College of Menominee Nation, Keshena, Wisc.

Angela Hindsley is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and a student at the College of Menominee Nation where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Angela believes that a sound financial background is a key to success and intends to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration, as well. Following graduation, the mother of three children plans to work in Native communities providing financial services and advice. “I want to show my children and others that higher education is important and achievable regardless of age, gender or circumstance. Thank you for providing the funds that make the Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship possible.”

Byron Bear Robe

Oglala Lakota College, Kyle, S.D.

Byron Bear Robe (Oglala Lakota) is a graduate of the Red Cloud Indian School and is the youngest of eight children. He has overcome poverty, hard times and family tragedy and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Byron’s goal is to help people on the Pine Ridge Reservation become more self-sufficient by building small businesses and reducing high unemployment. “Thank you for giving me this honor to help me reach my goals and dreams. I would like to offer a warm-heart handshake to the donors, my advisor and counselors who have helped me along the way. Hopefully I’ll be the first in my family to graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree.”

Tanika Saunsoci

Sitting Bull College, Fort Yates, N.D.

Tanika Saunsoci is a member of the Omaha Tribe of Macy, Nebraska. Raised by her aunt and grandmother before having to move into group homes in Iowa, Tanika had a very difficult upbringing. As an adult she moved to Fort Yates, N.D. to attend Sitting Bull College on the Standing Rock Reservation. Now a mother of two, Tanika earned her GED before pursuing a degree in human services. She plans to become a social worker to help Native American children and families similar to hers. “I want to thank you for believing in me and my education. Investing in someone’s future is an amazing selfless act!”

Trelyn Rae Two Two

Chief Dull Knife College, Lame Deer, Mont.

Trelyn Rae Two Two was born in Crow Angecy, Mont., and is an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. She earned an associate’s degree in business management from Chief Dull Knife College and is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in business administration. Trelyn was raised by a single father and participated in band, basketball, volleyball and track and field in high school. She is motivated by a love of learning and plans to work on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation to help younger generations be successful. “I am going to college because my grandma Laverne Ewing was a doctor at Indian Health Service so I always had a role model and someone to motivate me. I have always put my education first.”

Katlin Yellow Fat

Sitting Bull College, Fort Yates, N.D.

Katlin Yellow Fat resides on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota where he is a full-time student at Sitting Bull College. Katlin previously earned an Associate’s Degree in Building Trades and worked in construction for many years. In search of a better career, he is now pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Native American Studies with plans to become a teacher or work with at-risk youth in his community. As the single parent of a high school student, Katlin was unhappy with the lack of cultural relevance in reservation schools so he decided to become a teacher. “If children understand their own culture,” he said, “and know where they came from, they will have more direction in life and will find their place in society.”

Darlene Reis

Bay Mills Community College, Brimley, Mich.

Darlene Reis (Chippewa) is a member of the Bay Mills Indian Community. She is working towards an Associate’s Degree in Medical Office Management. After growing up in difficult circumstances in California, Darlene recently moved home to her community in search of a fresh start. She has been reconnecting with her heritage and pursuing the opportunities that will be afforded by a college degree. She maintains a 3.4 GPA and is excited about the future. “For the first time in my life I feel like I can do something positive… I want to be part of our preservation, and I am confident with the right opportunities that I can contribute to our people and our way of life.”

Courtney Bunker

White Earth Tribal & Community College, Mahnomen, Minn.

Courtney Bunker (Chippewa) earned an Associate’s Degree in Human Services from the White Earth Tribal & Community College (Gaawaabaabiganikaag Gabegikendaasowigamig) with a 4.0 GPA. She spent her last semester in the Arctic Exchange Program at Ilisagvik College in Barrow, Alaska, and is now working towards a Bachelor of Social Work degree. Growing up on the White Earth Reservation where she saw many people succumb to their addictions, Courtney knew she wanted a career helping others better their lives. In high school she served as a Boys and Girls Clubs volunteer, assisting youth with Ojibwa language revitalization, homework help, and recreational activities. She has also been a care coordinator for Indian Mental Health Services. “Thank you for funding the Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship. I was honored to be the first recipient at White Earth.”

Ozawa Bineshi Albert

Institute of American Indian Arts, Sante Fe, N.M.

Ozawa Bineshi Albert (Yuchi and Chippewa) is pursuing a degree in Indigenous Liberal Studies with a minor in Performing Arts and Creative Writing. She said the Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship enabled her to better focus on her course work rather than having to find another part-time job. It also allows her to spend more time with her children. “The fact that this scholarship is the Spirit of Sovereignty is especially poignant. It feels like an honor to the work I have contributed to Indigenous communities even prior to returning to school. Migwech (Thank you!)”

Mequon Frechette

College of Menominee Nation, Keshena, Wisc.

Mequon (Mak) Frechette (Menominee) is pursuing a degree in Business Administration while working full time for the Menominee Tribe at Maehnowesekiyah Wellness Center, a drug and alcohol rehab center located on the reservation. Mequon grew up in the reservation community of Keshena, attending the nearby Shawano Community High School where he excelled in football, basketball and baseball. He has also been a mixed martial arts fighter. The Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship is the first support Mequon has received in pursuit of his educational dreams.

Jontay Kahmakoatayo

Institute of American Indian Arts, Sante Fe, N.M.

Jontay Kahm (Plains Cree) is majoring in Studio Arts at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Sante Fe. He is an accomplished fashion designer from the Little Pine First Nation in Saskatchewan, Canada. Jontay is developing his dressmaking process, and honing his craftsmanship and conceptual ideas through his classes at IAIA. The Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship has reduced Jontay’s financial stress, enabling him to keep up with his studies and giving him more time in the studio.

Melissa Peone

Spokane Tribal College, Spokane, Wash.

Melissa Peone (Wellpinit) graduated from Spokane Tribal College with an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Spokane Tribal College. Melissa works for the Spokane Tribe as a fisheries technologist. She is also a hard-working mother of two who attended school full time while working at the college under the Federal Work-Study Program. Melissa credits her family for helping her establish a strong work ethic.

Nancy White Face

Oglala Lakota College, Kyle, S.D.

Nancy White Face (Oglala Sioux) is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work after earning an Associate’s Degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling in 2012. Nancy has overcome numerous health problems along the way, including brain surgery when she was 16. She hopes to graduate in 2020, after taking time off learning to manage the pain of severe headaches. Nancy was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, the most impoverished area in America. Her goal is to use her education to help the younger generation at Pine Ridge overcome their challenges. “My daughter, nieces and nephews are my reasons for continuing my education. Without them looking up to me as one of the positive role models, I believe I would have been just another lost person.”

Charity Valentin

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, Hayward, Wisc.

Charity Valentin (Ojibwe) graduated from Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Science. At LCO, she was vice president of the student body, and earned a 3.5 GPA. Charity is currently studying to be a dental hygienist at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where she plans to pursue a Master of Science degree in Dental Therapy. In addition, Charity is a STEM mentor at the LCO Boys and Girls Club, and a member of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). Charity, whose husband is a tribal police officer, is the mother of three young children.

Betsey Leinonen

Kewenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, Baraga, Mich.

Betsy Leinonen (Chippewa) is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education with the ultimate goal of earning a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Born and raised on the L’Anse Indian Reservation in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Betsey is a full-time student, who also works and is raising three children. Her career goal is to work in the schools in her community where her three children and their peers with special needs attend classes. After overcoming what she terms “the big speed bumps called life,” the most daunting challenge she faced was her own fears of failure. “I had to overcome my thoughts of, ‘Can I do this? Is this possible?’ I was not sure if I was ready to face my fears, but I am failing if I don’t try. The scholarship will help lessen stress over financial issues. With less stress I can concentrate on my studies.”

James White, Jr.

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, Hayward, Wisc.

James White, Jr. (Ojibwe) is pursuing a degree in small business management at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College. HIs long-term goal is to create jobs and work opportunities for people in his Tribe. Better-known in his community as “Jimmy,” White strives to be a role model for the younger generation since there weren’t many strong role models around as he was growing up near the reservation. He is also the founder of SAFE – the Sober Activities For Everyone program that promotes sobriety for teens and adults by holding concerts, lunches, video game competitions, and other activities. James used his Spirit of Sovereignty Scholarship to help buy supplies for SAFE’s community events while also paying some of his school expenses.

John Rouse

Spokane Tribal College, Spokane, Wash.

John Rouse (Spokane) is majoring in business at the Spokane Tribal College. The father of one is a campus leader who is organizing a student cooperative within the college to develop strong community-based support for students’ learning experience at the college. John hopes his education will lead to greater employment opportunities in the future.

Deborah Charge On Him

Oglala Lakota College, Kyle, S.D.

Debbe Charge On Him (Oglala Sioux) is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work. It has been a long and winding road to higher education for this mother of two, grandmother of 11, and great grandmother of two. She earned her GED in 1990 but didn’t seek higher education until 10 years later, enrolling in college to pursue a career in the field chemical dependency. In 2007, Debbe had to put her education on hold in again due to family issues. After experiencing difficulties helping her granddaughter navigate social services, Debbe decided to return to school to study for a bachelor’s degree in social work. Debbe works for her tribe’s community health program in Rapid City, S.D. and is most proud of her 3.5 GPA. “It is a challenge financially but this is what I want to do,” she said. “I love my job but I know it is in my heart to become a social worker.”

Adele White

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, Hayward, Wisc.

Adele White (Ojibwe) is a full-time student with a double major in Accounting and Casino Operations Management. Adele has worked in the gaming industry for nearly 15 years before deciding to pursue higher education at Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Community College. Adele’s goal is to put her education and skills to use helping more LCO tribal members move into upper management positions at the casino. Adele used her Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship to pay for books, tuition, and the cost of travelling to and from the campus.

Melissa Besaw

College of Menominee Nation, Keshena, Wisc.

Melissa Besaw (Menominee) earned an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Studies from the College of Menominee Nation, and is pursuing a career in interior design. She followed in the footsteps of her older brother, choosing to attend tribal college because it was close to home, offered a more personal learning environment, and enabled her to become more familiar with her culture and community through Menominee language classes and studies in Native American history and culture. Her involvement on campus included participating in the college’s American Indian Higher Education Conference knowledge bowl team, and finding ways to demonstrate her leadership skills as a team member. “Knowing more of my own language makes me feel more confident in my identify as a Menominee.”

Clarissa Brissette

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, Hayward, Wisc.

Clarissa Brissette (Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa) is pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education, as well as an Ojibwe Language Certificate. Clarissa commutes 90 minutes each way every day from her community on the Red Cliff Reservation near Bayfield, Wisc., to the Lac Courte Oreilles Reservation near Hayward. That’s where her daughter attends the Waadookadaading Ojibwe Language Immersion School where Clarissa is also a volunteer. Clarissa is striving to revitalize the Ojibwe culture and language on her reservation, and her education will help Clarissa make that a reality. Clarissa used her Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship funds to lessen the financial burden of traveling 150 miles every day to achieve her educational goals and those of her child.

Joshua Plumage

Aaniiih Nakoda College, Harlem, MT

Joshua Plumage is majoring in environmental science at Aaniih Nakoda College on the Fort Belknap Reservation, home to the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine (Nakoda) tribes. He is an excellent student who moved from Washington to Montana to live with extended family and attend college. Joshua receives no financial aid and is responsible for the entire cost of his education, including tuition, fees, books and living expenses. The Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship is helping him pursue a career in solar energy to benefit Native American communities in the future.

Jonathan Ammesmaki

Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College, Cloquet, MN

Johnathan Ammesmaki grew up on the Fond du Lac Reservation in Northern Minnesota as one of eight children. Now 27 years old, Jonathan and his wife Crystal have two kids and three foster children, and he is a full-time student at the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, Minn. “I enrolled in college right out of high school, but I got ill and couldn’t finish the term,” he said. “Then I joined the military and served for eight years, including in Iraq and Kuwait.”

Jonathan returned to college in the fall of 2015, pursuing an Associate of Arts degree and working on the prerequisites to enter the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota Duluth. “I know I have to work hard in school to balance family life with homework and other responsibilities,” he said. “I will be the first one in my family to have a college degree.”

Charletta Yazzie

Institute of American Indian Arts, Sante Fe, N.M.

Charletta Yazzie (Navajo) is a Diné Artist from Lukachukai, Ariz. Born in Chinle, Ariz., in the Navajo Nation, her clans are To‘aheedliinii (Water Flows Together) and Tachii’nii (Red Running into the Water). She is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Studio Arts (Painting) from the renowned Institute of American Indian Art in Sante Fe, N.M., and she holds an Associate of Arts degree from Dine College in Tsaile, Ariz.

“Thank you for this opportunity. It was a great honor to receive this award,” Charletta said. “With the help of this scholarship, I have the opportunity to continue in my education and career goals. Without this award, many students could not afford to come back next semester.”

Jacob Thomas Frye

Institute of American Indian Arts, Sante Fe, N.M.

Jacob Thomas Frye (Navajo) is a member of Tesuque Pueblo near Sante Fe, New Mexico. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Studio Arts. The former football all star at Ramah High School would like to be an art teacher. The Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship will help me fulfill my dreams,” said Jacob. “It will help not just me but the community of Tesuque Pueblo. Thank you so much for your support.”

Glenda Goodsell

Sisseston Wahpeton College, Agency Village, S.D.

Glenda Goodsell (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate) is pursuing an associate’s degree in science at Sisseton Wahpeton College. Glenda graduated from the Tiospa Zina Tribal School where she played varsity volleyball and was involved in a variety of community and volunteer activities. After graduating from her tribal college, Glenda intends to pursue her Bachelor of Arts degree and wants to go into early childhood education.

The biggest challenge I overcame was being scared I wouldn’t be accepted into college. Now I can ask questions without being afraid and I am much more comfortable in college than I ever was in high school,” she said. “I want to thank you for what you are doing to help Native Americans go to college. You are teaching those who want to go farther in life that life does not stop after high school, and you are helping them follow their dreams.”

Joedes Emerson

Chief Dull Knife College, Lame Deer, MT

Joedes Emerson (Northern Cheyenne, Navajo) is working on an Associate of Arts degree in mathematics and science at Chief Dull Knife College in Lame Deer, Mont. One of 11 children, he was born in Fort Defiance, Ariz. but spent much of his youth in Montana. “I am proud to be both Northern Cheyenne and Navajo,” he said.

After graduating with honors from Window Rock High School in Arizona where he ran track and played football, Joedes took a year off to help his grandmother before pursuing higher education. “When I was in grade school, I loved patterns and puzzles so I automatically took an interest in math,” said Joedes, who is in the college’s rocket club and science internship program. He plans to transfer to a larger university and earn a degree in engineering or aerospace science. “One option I keep in mind is being able to work at NASA someday,” he said. “I want a career where I love what I do. It’s not going to be an easy trail but it will all be worth it in the end. I hope some day that my progress will encourage future generations on my reservation and other reservations.”

Carrie White Antelope

Wind River Tribal College, Fort Washakie, WY

Carrie White Antelope (Northern Arapaho) is the first member of her family to earn a college degree, graduating from Wind River Tribal College in Wyoming with an Associate of Arts in Native American Studies. “My greatest reward is learning to speak the Arapaho language,” she said. “I consider it the most important experience I will ever have.”

The impetus behind Carrie’s pursuit of higher education is her work at Head Start, a federal program that provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and families. There she encourages families to continue their education by providing them with the resources they need to enter college. “I found that I had no power in my words,” she explained. “Getting my degree has helped me learn our language, our culture, and to better understand my identity, while also giving me the power behind my words of advice to other families.”



Kia Timber

Chief Dull Knife College, Lame Deer, MT

Kia Timber (Northern Cheyenne) is pursuing an associate’s degree in science at Chief Dull Knife College in Lame Deer, Mont. where she is the student body president. Kia discovered a talent for mathematics and science in high school but she is also enrolled in language courses at the tribal college. “I was raised in a traditional Northern Cheyenne household, and both of my parents grew up with traditional Cheyenne values and customs,” said Kia, who also serves as a language tutor. Kia plans to continue her studies at a four-year university and is considering a career in engineering or education. She is open to other options, too.

“My love and knowledge for my culture and people is very strong so I may end up taking a different career path to anthropology or Native American studies,” she explained. “Once I complete my education and graduate with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, I will come back home. I want to inspire the community and the youth to continue with their education and know that there are no limits with what we, as Native Americans, are able to do.”

Jerry Racine

Blackfeet Community College, Browning, MT

As an accomplished athlete who is looked up to by the younger members of his community, Jerry Racine (Blackfeet Nation) is able to reach kids with positive messages through sports. Now he wants to do it in the classroom. “I know I can make a difference for the students that I teach,” said Jerry, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in education at Blackfeet Community College in Browning, Mont. Jerry excelled at football and wrestling in high school, and went on to play college football in Kansas. Since returning home, he has volunteered extensively in the community working in after-school programs, coaching, mentoring and inspiring kids to achieve. One of Jerry’s goals is to help kids live a healthier lifestyle.

“I want to make a difference in improving the health disparities in our community,” he said. To do that, he needs assistance paying for life’s necessities while attending college, and his Spirit of Sovereignty Scholarship has been very helpful. “At this point in my academic career, the most difficult thing is funding to accomplish my educational goals,” he said. “Education is important but it comes with a cost.”

Samantha Milk

Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence, KS

Samantha Milk (Oglala Lakota) graduated Magna Cum Laude from Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kan. with a two-year degree in Natural Science. She will soon earn her bachelor’s degree in environmental science and currently works part-time for the U.S. Geological Survey as a student trainee in hydrology. As a full-time student and single mother, finances can be challenging, and Samantha particularly appreciates the flexibility of the Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship that allows her to use the funds for housing, childcare and other needs associated with attending college. “I cannot express the amount of gratitude I have for being chosen to receive this honor,” she said. “This proves hard work will pay off, if given time. Pilamaya!! (Thank you)”

Kaylie Trottier

Sitting Bull College, Fort Yates, N.D.

Kaylie Trottier (Chippewa) is a second-year student at Sitting Bull College on the Standing Rock Reservation in Fort Yates, N.D. An enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Kaylie is studying Business Administration. Like many of the recipients of a Spirit of Sovereignty Scholarship, Kaylie is a non-traditional student and the mother of two young daughters – 8- year-old Rylie and her sister Paislee, age 3. “I am pursuing higher education now to show my girls how important education is.”