Spending a few days in D.C. with my fellowship sisters gave us the chance to experience a new city together and an opportunity to meet with some of our nation’s leaders.
One experience I will never forget was the laying of the wreath ceremony at the Arlington Cemetery. As we strolled toward the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I felt sorrow and privilege all intertwined: sorrow for the men and women who lost their lives fighting for this great country and the privilege of being fortunate enough to have been present for this occasion. As I walked towards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I recognized that this was a moment I was not supposed to let go. I was about to witness the group representing the American Indian College Fund honoring this soldier.
Watching my sisters marching in unison towards the monument, escorted by the Guard of Honor, was truly unique to anything I’ve ever observed before. The pride they carried in their eyes was noble, and we all knew that we were there to represent more than just ourselves. We were representing our friends, family, children, and Indian Country. The sound of Taps was performed by an officer off to the side and I could feel my emotions run high. I watched spectators take pictures of these women, and then take pictures again afterwards of our entire group. I felt proud to be there. I felt security in knowing that these women would be my support group to lean on for the rest of my life, and that we would all reminisce and converse about this experience together down the road.
This Embrey Indian Women in Leadership program is certainly a prestigious opportunity for me. I have gained experience and met people I might otherwise not have had without this opportunity. The support I receive from the American Indian College Fund has been a key benefactor to my success as a graduate student. I am completely confident in completing my education and providing a positive role model to others who need support. There’s a quote that my late grandmother, Audrey Stonefish, always used to tell me throughout my undergraduate years: “Your children will become in the future what you make of yourself today.”