The Past, the Future … and the Present
Happy Native American Heritage Month to you!
As we once again take the time to look back and honor our ancestors while at the same time keeping a watchful eye on the future, I find my thoughts drawn to the present.
This is an amazing time for young Native people. Like many Americans, they are inspired, energized, and motivated toward making meaningful changes. In January of this year, there were so many young American Indians in our nation’s capital participating in the first-ever Indigenous People’s March, my heart swelled with pride.
We must capitalize on this momentum! We need to do everything we can to give our passionate youth the tools they need to move forward, make a difference, and act as agents of change for themselves and their communities.
And the first rung of that ladder is education.
Imagine entire graduating classes filled with Native lawyers, ready to fight for indigenous rights; Native scientists, poised to tackle the issues of global warming and climate change; Native leaders, inspired to run for congressional and Senate seats to be our voice in government. Imagine the future they can bring.
I know how proud our ancestors would be of these scholars and soon-to-be scholars, because it’s the same pride I feel toward them. But pride isn’t enough. Financial support is crucial to us being able to provide scholarships for every Native youth who wants to make a difference with a college education as a launching pad.
During this most special month of the year, please be as generous as you can and help us build a future we can all be proud of!
Pilamayayapi (thank you) for your support and friendship,
Cheryl Crazy Bull
President and CEO, American Indian College Fund
Getting Better Every Day: Autumn
My name is Autumn, and I’m from the Blackfeet Nation. I just recently graduated with my bachelor’s in business management and tribal governance from Northwest Indian College.
I am where I am now because of the challenges I’ve faced, and I am proud of how far I’ve come.
At the lowest point in my life, alcoholism took a terrible toll on my health and my liver failed. As I embraced sobriety, I knew I had to get my health back and that is how I found running.
Running has helped me heal physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Being outside in the fresh air and among the animals, I can almost hear the cry of my ancestors to do good. So, when I run, I’m running for the people who can’t run. But I’m also running toward a better future for myself and my family.
I'm here getting my education not just for myself but for my children and to help Indian country.
I want to help preserve our culture and prove that the old way of healing through mind, body, soul, and spirit is the natural way of being.
The health and wellness movement is very important to me and I want to be able to share that with others. I know by being an example, I can show others they too can have a fresh start.
If we’re all living the health and wellness movement then we’re going to be able to go so far together as a people.
Viewing Natives Through a Different Lens: Margarita
My name is Margarita. I’m Diné and Hispanic, and I’m a film student at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
I believe that, as Native people, we live in two worlds. The Native world exists right alongside the modern, mainstream world, and that can be a real challenge for people from both realities.
But I also believe that it’s possible to bridge the two worlds with communication.
We’re all different sizes and colors and souls with different backgrounds and beliefs but we can still be open to learning each other’s differences and accepting them.
That is why I want to be a documentary storyteller. I want to be able to tell stories that evoke emotions such as compassion, empathy, and understanding. I want to inspire people to get an education in order to create change within our society. I want to tell people’s stories so that other people can see they can turn their lives around and change for the better.
Healing the Divide: Brandon
My name is Brandon. I am a proud member of the Navajo Nation. I come from the Kiyaa’áanii, or towering house clan.
There is a serious need for doctors and healers in my community, and I want to bridge that gap by becoming a physician.
My grandmother was a traditional healer. I understand the traditions of my people and I wish to connect Western and Native medicine.
I want to have an impact on the lives in my community and indigenous people as a whole. I feel it is my duty to help serve them just as my grandmother served them as a medicine woman.
I have an inner drive that comes from the sacrifices my ancestors made for me. It makes me determined to finish school so that I can make a difference in my community by becoming a modern-day healer.
Thank you for the gift of education. It continues to shape my life and will make a lasting impact on my people.
Help Raise Money for Native Education
There are so many things you can do during Native American Heritage Month and throughout the year to help honor Native Americans and their cultures, both past and present, by helping raise money for Native students.
At the American Indian College Fund, we work year-round to raise awareness and funds to help Native Americans attend and complete college. Show your support by joining us at one of our signature events. Or create your own fundraiser designed just for you and your friends!
We’ve made it as easy as possible to create your own personal fundraising page. Share your event and communicate with everyone in your network, family, friends, colleagues – everyone you know! Make it personal! Share event updates, fundraising goals, pictures and videos.
Need help? We can provide you with graphics, images and videos to build your fundraising page. Visit collegefund.org/get-involved to get started!
Did You Know?
Did You Know?
42% of the American Indian population is 24 years old or younger.
That means your support will not only help this generation succeed, but every generation to come. You have the opportunity to help nearly half of an entire population of people. Your support is needed now more than ever.
Help create a tradition of learning among young Native Americans with a gift today!