Iva is a Blackfeet language major at Blackfeet Community College, an honors student, a mother of three children, and a wife who decided to realize her dream and complete a college education.
Iva first became interested in learning her language when she listened to her grandparents speak when she was a child. Hearing her Native language spoken filled her with wonder. But as an adult, the demands of raising a family came first, and it wasn’t until after two decades of working for her tribe that she decided to go back to school.
Iva says as her tribal elders started to pass on from this life, she decided she wanted a career teaching the Blackfeet language to preserve her culture. She plans to earn her associate’s degrees in both Blackfeet Language and Blackfeet Studies, transfer to the University of Montana to further her education in Native studies, and then return to her reservation to teach. “I will have a career doing something I love—teaching the language, sharing what I have learned, and fostering a growth in the preservation of the Blackfeet language, traditions, and healthy lifestyle.”
Iva says her American Indian College Fund scholarship is a blessing. She uses her college work-study wages to buy groceries while her scholarship pays for her tuition, books, and transportation.
She says, “American Indian College Fund donors are angels on earth, giving struggling people the opportunity to rise up out of poverty, hold their heads high on graduation day, and demonstrate to others that the success rate for American Indian college graduates can and will increase. You have no idea what it feels like to have someone I don’t even know contribute to the realization of my dream. It makes me feel very important. Your investment in people like me has a ripple effect on the Blackfeet people, because those are the people who will benefit from my education. Again, thank you, and may the Creator bless you and your loved ones.”