Stone Child College
Erika, a recipient of a Toyota Tribal College Scholarship from the American Indian College Fund, is an enrolled member of the Chippewa-Cree tribe on the Rocky Boy Reservation in Montana. Erika grew up caring for a younger brother and sister while her mother worked. “My mom, siblings, and I moved around a lot because my mom was constantly looking for employment,” she says. “It was very hard for us financially and there was only enough money to pay for basic necessities such as rent, food, and utilities… Some months we had to depend on my grandparents to help us out.”
Despite these difficulties, Erika says she did not let a lack of finances prevent her from setting and achieving high goals. Today she attends Stone Child College, a tribal college, on the Rocky Boy reservation where she is studying to earn her associate’s degree in mathematics. After completing her first year she earned a 3.7 grade point average and was honored by being named the school’s Student of the Year.
After Erika graduates from her tribal college, she plans to transfer to a four-year university to study mathematics education so that she can teach high school math on her reservation.
“All of my life I’ve loved math and helping people learn new concepts,” Erika says, adding that as a math teacher she would also serve as a role model for other Native Americans “by showing that with optimism and discipline you can achieve greatness. It may be a long journey of lots of hardships and obstacles, but in the end when I look back on life and recognize what I’ve achieved, I know it’ll all be worth the fight.”