With more than 12 years of support, the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Tribal College Scholarship Program and the company's employee matching gift program provide scholarship support to talented American Indian students attending the nation's tribal colleges.
This past year the Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Tribal College Scholarship Program provided $100,000 for scholarships for American Indian students maintaining at least a 2.0 grade point average at the tribal colleges. Through Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.'s employee giving program, Wal-Mart employees match the company's generosity by donating from their personal pay to help Native students achieve their higher educational goals.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has also supported and co-sponsored the American Indian College Fund’s annual gala, and contributes to the Fund’s local Annual Elder’s Dinner in Denver. Through their support, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is helping the Fund make a difference in Native communities, and is creating opportunities in Indian Country.
Madonna has had a rocky road to college. She spent time in foster care, and dropped out of high school her junior year due to lack of support and encouragement. But she found the strength to get back on track, and after moving back to the Standing Rock Reservation, she went back to school and earned her G.E.D. from Sitting Bull Community College.
Madonna, a self-proclaimed “tumbleweed” who moved around a lot, turned 18 and moved to Minneapolis to live with her sister, where she worked for temp agency and helped her sister with her three children for two years before moving back. Finding no jobs, she followed work to the Dakotas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Nebraska. She finally settled down in Omaha, Nebraska in 1999, where she met her husband, a member of Omaha Nation of Nebraska, and married him in 2008. They have two young children, a son and daughter.
After having a family of her own, Madonna realized the importance of roots and an education. She decided to move to Rapid City, South Dakota to give herself and her family a chance to know her father and extended family better, as she never really knew them while growing up in foster care. She also realized the importance of showing her children by being an example herself of an education is a valuable tool for life.
Madonna enrolled at Oglala Lakota College because part of the curriculum includes the Lakota language and culture, which she wants to pass on to her children. She is majoring in nursing “because it is a way for me to give back to the people.”
Madonna says her scholarships help to take a tremendous financial load off of her shoulders, and allow her to worry less about supporting her family and concentrate more on her studies.