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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

POWER RECLAIMED: INDIAN UNITY

Currently, 42% of all American Indians are 24 years old or younger.That’s nearly half our population about to come of age ready, able and determined to do great things that will fundamentally change the future of our people. Your support won’t change just one life, it will impact the lives of our students’ families and communities for generations!
Many of our supporters have shared with us their personal journey to connect with their culture by tracing their heritage back to countries like Italy, Scotland, Argentina or Ghana. We understand how fulfilling it can be when you are able to incorporate elements of your heritage into your everyday life, keeping the knowledge of who you are and where you come from alive.

The same is true for many of our students, with one very real difference – we cannot say confidently that the knowledge of their culture and heritage will always be accessible, because for many the past is on the verge of slipping away forever.

That’s why learning, celebrating and sharing Native culture is so important to us. When we are able to connect with our culture and heritage, it allows us to see our place in the world, which in turn inspires greater life success. It is critical that we find ways to connect the past to the future so we can live life in today’s world in a way that celebrates and embraces our identity as Native people.

And right now, we are poised to do amazing things. Currently, 42% of all American Indians are 24 years old or younger. That’s nearly half our population about to come of age ready, able and determined to do great things that will fundamentally change the future of our people. Your support won’t change just one life, it will impact the lives of our students’ families and communities for generations!

That is why every November during Native American Heritage Month, we join with our supporters for a month-long celebration of our culture, heritage and shared future.

Our students understand they are in a very unique position – they have benefited from the sacrifices their elders have made to be here today. And they also understand the responsibility they have to lead themselves, their families and their communities into a healthy, happy, prosperous future.

We know that a higher education is the clear path to achieving that and so much more.

This moment, right now, is your opportunity to help young Native people create a legacy of learning, sharing, achieving, and accomplishing that will last for generations to come.

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. 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. 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.

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.

LEAVING A LEGACY: THE BROADY FOUNDATION

During their lifetimes, Earl and Anna Broady were passionate supporters of social justice issues and education. They recognized that they had the ability to continue their support in perpetuity by creating a foundation, whose mission is to provide minority students in financial need with scholarships to college.

This academic year, the Broady Foundation has provided five Native American students with life-changing scholarship support for tuition, books, and school supplies. This means that instead of working the graveyard shift at his local power plant, Zachary can focus on being a full-time college student. Katy could buy her first computer and change her part-time student status to full-time student status. Tatiana could take a respite from her job on her family’s fishing boat and get back to working on her college degree.

Earl and Anna knew that Native American students were being left behind, and they wanted their legacy to ensure extraordinary students like ours have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Through their planned giving, the Broadysare able to continue their work in social justice and education forever. To learn how you can create your own legacy through the American Indian College Fund, please email Emi, our Planned Giving Officer at plannedgiving@collegefund.org or call 303-426-8900 (x353).

HELP RAISE MONEY FOR NATIVE EDUCATION

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. 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!

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!

Need help? We can provide you with graphics, images and videos to build your fundraising page.

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!