The MetLife Foundation Tribal College Scholarship Program, now in its 12th year, provides scholarships to Native students attending tribal colleges and universities.
The MetLife Foundation is committed to building a secure future for individuals and communities worldwide through a focus on empowering older adults, preparing young people, and building livable communities. In education, it seeks to strengthen public schools through effective teaching and collaborative leadership, and to prepare students for access to and success in higher education, particularly during the crucial first year. The Foundation’s grant-making is informed by findings from the annual MetLife Survey of the American Teacher.
I was born and lived most of my life on the Fort Belknap Reservation. I have three brothers and five sisters. My mother and father died many years ago and even though I am not the eldest of my siblings they look to me as the matriarch of our family. This is a role I feel honored to be considered for; but also one I sometimes find overwhelming.
I had just graduated from my senior year of high school when my mother passed away. My baby sister was seven months old at the time of my mother’s death, so I became her primary care-giver. After I got married, I gave birth to five children and became sole supporter of them. Eventually through the years I took responsibility for a granddaughter and a grandson because of the concern I had for their welfare. Because of an aversion my nephew had to his step-father, he came to live with our family; he became like one of my own children. I cared for my two great-grandchildren when their parents went to Iraq during the conflict. During this period of my life, I managed to obtain an associate’s degree in business while working at the same time.
I worked the greater part of my life, starting at the age of nine years, until three years ago when I broke my shoulder. It was necessary to have an operation for a shoulder replacement. I had to go to physical therapy for over a year. After that I have been unable to find employment. I started to go into deep depression because I felt my life was virtually over. I am a firm believer that one is never too old to learn and in return it is one’s duty to give to others the valuable lessons one benefits from, so, I decided to go back to college at Aaniiih Nakoda College to earn a certificate in tribal management.
Eventually one of my educational goals is to earn a degree in criminal justice or community leadership that will enable me to gain the employment that I need to maintain my financial responsibilities for my family and home. I also am very concerned for the welfare of my tribal members; therefore the more education I have about what our tribe’s inherent rights and needs are I will be empowered to assist.
Receiving this scholarship will enable me to achieve the educational goals I have set for myself and help me to pay for the upkeep of my home and family needs, as well as for gas necessary for traveling to and from college (I travel 70 miles round-trip each day).
I sincerely thank the donors for their contribution making it possible for many Natives to obtain their dream of attending college.