Standing Rock Sioux
Being a proud warrior is a strong value in Native communities, so much so that more American Indians than any other ethnic or racial group enlist for military service per capita.
Brett holds true to the value of serving his country, both as a soldier and as a civilian. While serving in the U.S. Army for eight years, including time in Iraq, Brett gave it his all—earning high military honors, including The Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, and the Iraq Campaign Medal.
Now back home in North Dakota, Brett is putting the same values of service and hard work to the test at United Tribes Technical College, where he is studying to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Brett plans to go home to the Standing Rock Reservation to work for his community as a law enforcement agent after graduation, and also serve as a role model with younger people who need a hero to look up to.
It’s not always easy, Brett admits. Like most Native students, Brett says he struggles with finding the money to pay for his living expenses, tuition, and books, and a scholarship from the American Indian College Fund has helped make his career goals a reality. However, unlike his peers, Brett faces an additional challenge: dealing with the nightmares and flashbacks from his time spent in Iraq. But he soldiers on because, “I know that there is a future that I am going to help make better back home on Standing Rock.”
As committed to excellence in the classroom as he was on the battlefield, Brett was on the President’s List for two semesters, the Vice President’s List for two semesters, and he received an award from the Freedom Defenders, the United Tribes Technical College’s veteran’s group. Brett credits the values he learned at home and in the military to his success both in the U.S. Army and now at United Tribes Technical College, where he proudly leads the color guard at campus ceremonies bearing the eagle staff as a decorated veteran. Brett says those values include loyalty; duty to himself, his community, and school; respect for himself and others; selfless service; finding honor and pride in what he does; maintaining honesty and integrity; and relying on personal courage to face the world to overcome hardships.