May 31, 2023
By: Nora Mabie
The Jeannette Rankin Foundation has awarded grants to 51 Indigenous women attending Montana tribal colleges.
The Native Woman Scholar Grant program launched earlier this year and provides $2,500 unrestricted education grants to Native women. Grants this year total $127,500.
Every reservation in Montana has a tribal college, which offer various two- and four-year degrees. The grants are awarded directly to students and aim to ease financial burdens associated with pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree
Sandra Boham, president of Salish Kootenai College, said education “empowers (Native) women to achieve economic independence, build self confidence and allow for the integration of Indigenous knowledge, culture and language into all aspects of the workplaces and organizations in the communities where they live.”
Several grant recipients said the funds will help them achieve their educational and career goals.
Sara Meyers, who is pursuing an associate’s degree in Native Language education at Salish Kootenai College, said she wants to be part of the “revival of our Salish language.”
“With my education, I aim to be a Salish language teacher and encourage others to get their education, be rooted in their culture and serve the community,” she said.
Morgan Harrison-Woolf, a student at Blackfeet Community College, said as a mother, stroke survivor and student, “I am thrilled to keep pushing forward and continue facing the odds. I hope to be fully independent again and find a position within my community.”
Cheyenne Robinson, a student at Little Big Horn College on the Crow Reservation, is pursuing a degree in business marketing.
“I plan to use my degree to run a nonprofit I’ve founded to help encourage, inspire and protect our community while bringing awareness to missing and murdered Indigenous people,” she said.
The Rankin Foundation will accept applications for its second round of Native Woman Scholar Grants in November 2023. The foundation was founded in 1976 to honor Jeannette Rankin, who was the first U.S. Congresswoman and first woman to hold federal office. For more information, visit rankinfoundation.org.