Amanda (Rosebud Sioux Tribe)
B.S. Natural Science, Pre-Engineering
Amanda is worth celebrating – her love and empathy for others along with her drive and passion have taken her to places no one thought she could go. Having survived traumatic brain injuries, she was told learning would be hard for her and she should forget about college. But Amanda had other plans – her injuries inspired a deep and abiding desire to provide emotional and spiritual healing for others. She knew she would need an education to help those she cared for most deeply.
Amanda’s goal is to graduate with degrees in Lakota studies and Natural Science, where she is also learning about the heritage she most closely identifies with. Her plans are to open the Four Directions Natural Healing Lodge, an educational cultural center that uses plants and science to connect with and teach kids who have experienced trauma how to use nature to heal. “We are all broken in some way,” says Amanda, “but it’s through the cracks and brokenness that our light shines through.”
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We will not forget our ancestors or where we come from
My grandmother had a passion for people. It didn’t matter if it was a stranger that came to use the phone off the street – she would feed them and give them her own jacket or shoes. When they would go I’d say, “Grandma, you don’t know them.” And she would say, “That’s why we’re here.” And that lesson was not just a whisper, it was being shouted from the rooftops. She taught me that when you meet somebody there is no such thing as a stranger, they’re just a relative you have not met yet. So it’s up to you to embrace that moment because there’s so much for you to learn and a lot that they can not only teach you but learn from you as well.
We will work together to break down barriers and be heard
As “Indians” we are still not recognized as a people – not in the way society fails to see us and also because we are not recognized as sovereign nations. But we live in an exciting time. Election day is coming! This will be one of the most important elections in history because with it we can vote to make change! We must pray together as First Nations people. We must educate our youth and raise up leaders who understand and can help enforce the laws, treaties, and both the tribal and federal government systems. We must start calling the tribal Chiefs and council members of all our nations together for prayer and to find the strength within that has not yet been extinguished. I once heard “it only takes a spark to start a wildfire.” Well, it’s time to create that spark!
Join me in celebrating our rich history, but also the resilience and strength of all Native peoples here and now.
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Meet The Students
Get to know some of the students whose lives you are changing.
We understand our challenges and know what is needed to address them. We are the generation that will fuse western knowledge and tools with our cultural traditions and practices to build stronger, healthier, safer communities. We will also resolve the disconnect between tribal communities and the US government and re-establish our independence and sovereignty. We will use our knowledge to protect and manage our natural resources to create sufficient food, water and housing for our communities. We are pursuing degrees that will empower us to strengthen economic development and financial security. We will also lead the way in strengthening and updating our educational and healthcare systems. We will be less vulnerable as people and communities in the face of health crises and natural disasters.