Lummi and Northern Cheyenne
University of New Mexico
Waylon (Lummi and Northern Cheyenne) is a rarity. Waylon is a small number of American Indian college graduates. Only 13% of American Indian students age 25 or older have a college degree—115% below the national level. Too often talented Native students like Waylon must forego a college education due to finances. For Waylon, a talented young man who comes from a traditional Lummi fishing family in the Pacific Northwest, college was something his family could not afford.
He says, “When I began my college journey, I came with the idea I was alone. I was determined to keep afloat. I obtained a full time job, working graveyard shifts, which only allowed me 3-4 hours of sleep a day. Homework was a priority and I made sure I was on time for class every time. Once, I woke crying because I was so tired and had homework to do. Not long after, I applied to the American Indian College Fund for scholarships. These funds allowed me to resign from full-time work to focus on my studies.” Waylon excelled in college, graduating with honors, and now plans to enter law school.
Waylon likens his scholarships to the crews who give support to rowers on traditional Lummi canoe journeys. “The support crew always remains within sight of the canoe, waiting for a sign that would indicate the need for assistance. Scholarships provided me with that safety boat, that well-being.”
You can help the American Indian College Fund help Native students like Waylon earn their college degrees. Visit www.standwithnativestudents.org.