|Like many Native single mothers, Audra Stonefish knows what it means to struggle. She works hard to put food on the table and teach her children about the importance of their culture while earning top grades as she works towards a college degree in science at Sitting Bull College.
Audra’s academic success makes it look easy, but it’s not. She says that for students living on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, even something as simple as getting to classes is cost-prohibitive for Native students. The college does not have dorms and many students must travel one hour or more each way in a place where most people cannot afford vehicles and gasoline prices are high. The remoteness of a rural Indian reservation also makes it hard to do research and homework, since many students, including Audra, cannot afford a computer or Internet access at home, requiring them to travel to the tribal college to complete assignments.
“Most Native students are going through something that is holding them back whether it is the lack of transportation, funding for tuition, or the lack of a computer to do homework at home,” she says. “The American Indian College Fund scholarships enable them to go forward with their education.”
Thanks to the help of our supporters, scholarships from the American Indian College Fund have given Audra the opportunity to excel at her studies without the added worry of paying for her schooling and the additional costs associated with an education.
Audra is studying the health benefits of the wild prairie turnip, a plant that was traditionally harvested by the Lakota and Dakota people. Audra hopes to carry on her research into her graduate school studies.
“It is one of my dreams to see myself, later in my career, to have the ability to be a donor for the American Indian College Fund. I believe the donors give the students a lot of hope,” Audra says.