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 (IAIA), 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 (IAIA), 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 proves 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.”