Oglala Lakota/Crow Creek Sioux
Lynn’s experiences are the embodiment of her Lakota name, “She Helps Her People.” Lynn is a 2010 master's degree graduate of Oglala Lakota College (OLC). Today she is a Lakota language teacher; a health technician for diabetes prevention; and a volunteer at a youth detention center.
Being one of four kids in her family, Lynn grew up on housing assistance as her parents struggled to buy food and gas, living from check to check. Determined to get an education and forge a career so her life would not be a struggle, Lynn researched resources to achieve her goals and honed her work ethic to qualify for them.
Lynn credits her maternal grandparents with establishing expectations for her to do well in school. Lynn followed that advice and was able to earn full scholarships. She strived to maintain a 4.0 GPA throughout her college career to keep eligible for financial aid that was the lifeblood of her education.
Lynn went on for a short time to The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where she studied graphic design while working three jobs to pay for her tuition, room and board. One of Lynn’s jobs was working with children at a head start program, which ignited her interest in education. She decided to return home and consider local and less expensive options for completing her bachelor’s degree. Lynn enrolled at OLC, where she received an associate’s degree in Lakota studies and early childhood education and a bachelor’s degree in Lakota studies.
“For the American Indian College Fund to be able to support us is vital to college students here in Rapid City and on the reservation,” she said. “It is a struggle to even go to college, but to be financially capable [of going] is one of the most important things in helping students stay in school and come full circle. We are having professional people in our communities who are becoming teachers, business leaders, and cultural leaders. Just retaining those people [in college] and having them make a positive impact is a great thing.”