IEI is honored to have had 5 years of phenomenal Scholars.  
IEI will be honoring 5 years of scholarship and service through 5 days of celebration – and we hope that you will join us! Share your experiences, memories, and photos with IEI, Cobell Scholars, and our partners using #IEI5Year!  


Indigenous Education, Inc. Home of the Cobell Scholarship, has had the opportunity to meet many students from all corners of Turtle Island. Whether it be on the road during outreach, students stopping into the IEI office to say “hi”, or a phone call that turned into a great conversation about how we share relatives or a mutual friend from “back home.” One of the main goals of our organization from day one has been to put students first. No matter how many trial and errors IEI has experienced, especially with new systems which ultimately led to utilizing innovative strategies within the organization, our awesome and resilient Scholars have seen us through much of it, offering valuable feedback and being a part of our growth. We have always known that our Scholars are unique and passionate individuals, and they needed a place to share their experience with the world. This resulted in the creation of platforms for our Scholars to be heard and celebrated through social media and outreach programs. It all started with the Cobell Scholar Spotlight program and the Cobell Scholarship Blog, two of many campaigns created to offer them a safe space to share stories. 

This month is extra special as IEI celebrates its 5-year anniversary; therefore, this blog will share a few stories from Scholars. Enjoy the stories and as always, Be Safe. Be Well. Be Kind.


dr-elizabeth-luger 

Dr. Elizabeth Luger
Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa
University of North Dakota
PhD in Clinical Counseling and Applied Psychology

Cobell Graduate Summer Research Fellowship Program Recipient

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How has receiving a Cobell Scholarship/Fellowship impacted your educational career?

The Cobell Scholarship/Fellowship afforded me the opportunity to complete my degree, as I received the scholarship toward the end of my doctorate program. It also connected me to the Indigenous scholars community where I have been able to learn about and be inspired by others in the community. 

Can you speak to some of the community involvement in which you engaged since receiving the scholarship?

For a living I now provide individual and couples’ therapy. I see a diverse clientele from many walks of life and am aware of the privilege that comes with attending therapy. I make it a point to carry a diverse caseload which includes American Indian clients and also continuously try to promote the de-stigmatization of seeking mental health services. 

How do you honor Elouise Cobell in your education and career pursuits?

Her story of perseverance, resilience and determination is certainly awe-inspiring. I honor her by remembering her and her part in my and many others’ pursuit of education and giving back to our communities. I aspire toward her same pay-it-forward, and sincerely genuine, approach to life. With love and gratitude, I carry her in my heart and mind. 

It’s Indigenous Education, Inc’s 5-year anniversary, what would you like the public to know about your experience with this scholarship organization?

I would like everyone to be aware of the amazing work Indigenous people are doing for Indigenous people in this organization. I would also like to spread the word to other Indigenous college students so that they are aware of this amazing opportunity and group of people with which to connect. 


bo-vocu

Bo Vocu
Northern Cheyenne
New Mexico State University
Business Administration Management and Operations
Cobell Scholar Undergraduate Recipient

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How has receiving a Cobell Scholarship impacted your educational career?

Receiving the Cobell Scholarship has not only helped me financially in my pursuit of an education but it has helped me stay focused in the support that I have received from the organization. All the support received has helped me stay focused and motivated to work harder to obtain my degree.

Can you speak to some of the community involvement in which you engaged since receiving the scholarship?

With the pandemic going on, community involvement has become much more difficult due to safety protocols. Everyone plays a part in staying safe in this pandemic; however, I have tried to do my part by helping other young students around my community help further their education by assisting them with filling out scholarships. I have also helped small businesses in my community by assisting them with labor in the free time that I have.

How do you honor Elouise Cobell in your education and career pursuits?

I try to honor Elouise Cobell by continuously working hard to further my education and always doing the best I can. With my career pursuits, I hope to be able to help other communities along with my own in whatever ways that I can.

It’s Indigenous Education, Inc’s 5-year anniversary, what would you like the public to know about your experience with this scholarship organization?

It has been a great honor to be awarded this scholarship and what the organization stands for! Being a student athlete and competing in rodeo professionally, it often times becomes stressful with school but knowing that I have the support from family members and the people from the organization it helps keep me striving to do the best I can. The scholarship organization always seems to be pushing us students to do the best that we can not only with our education but also with our community!


adam-hannah

Adam Hanna
Chickasaw Nation
Boston University
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
Cobell Scholar Graduate Recipient

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How has receiving a Cobell Scholarship impacted your educational career?

The Cobell Scholarship has emboldened me to pursue what I thought was an impossible dream; never in my life did I believe that I could get a doctoral degree, but here I am all of these years later, only one year away from graduating. Although it has lifted an incredible burden from my shoulders for which I couldn’t be more grateful, it wasn’t the money alone that had such a huge impact on my educational career, but the inspiration I’ve received from Elouise’s sense of inextinguishable passion—a passion that I closely identify with. When you are being supported by a team that cares about you, it is hard not to be motivated to go that extra step. Although I strive as a Chickasaw citizen to be self-sufficient and self-determined, my connection to my community is inextricable from my identity and motivation; our tribe is made up of empowered individuals, but we are also part of a group of dedicated pillars and patrons of each other’s well-being. This scholarship serves as a reminder to me of the tremendous blessing that was Elouise Cobell’s determination and passion to make a better life for others as well as herself. This inspires me even more to use my education and my music as a way to help others feel that sense of connection that I’m blessed with from receiving this scholarship.

Can you speak to some of the community involvement in which you engaged since receiving the scholarship?

One of the most difficult things about community involvement this year was the fact that we were all separated from seeing each other in person. It has been nearly one year at this point. While this has caused tremendous pain and longing, one of the most beautiful things was to witness how we all have adapted as a community to continue our relationships online. This past summer, I participated in an 8-hour daily group meeting over Zoom for several weeks straight to discuss how to create empowerment through song; we discussed everything from bringing music into prisons to social justice to how to be inclusive to those on the margins. This experience taught me how to take proactive steps in making music an inclusive and unifying enterprise, and I am now a proud affiliated faculty member— a Native American member—of Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research. I have also organized online chamber groups to volunteer their services for causes like Toys for Tots, which I particularly enjoy being involved with.

How do you honor Elouise Cobell in your education and career pursuits?

I honor Elouise by living her story every day of my education and beyond. She believed in the impossible. It’s as she said: “When someone tells me something can’t be done, I get so mad I just have to do it”. Elouise wasn’t just a dreamer or a ‘knower’ but a ‘doer’; she did the hard work of making educational opportunities like this scholarship a reality. Like Elouise, I think that dreaming is the first step on the road to progress, but it is only a small part of the journey. Her life’s story serves as a great reminder to me about rolling up my sleeves and creating my future instead of leaving it up to chance. She didn’t wait around for someone to come along and help her; she literally fought every single day for a cause she believed in, and against all odds, she succeeded—a true triumph for an entire nation of people, not just herself. I want to honor her by also going headfirst into each day of my educational career and beyond, constantly living out her legacy of hard work and sacrifice to embolden my tribe… and everyone else I can. Thus, I strive to be someone who turns ideas into actions.

To all of you out there, especially those of you pursuing a career in the arts, I understand firsthand how extremely competitive and volatile the road to success can be. Know that you are not alone—that you have people like Elouise Cobell behind you, willing you to succeed and paving the way forward. Know that if she can do it—if I can do it—so can you!

It’s Indigenous Education, Inc’s 5-year anniversary, what would you like the public to know about your experience with this scholarship organization? 

You won’t find a more caring and dedicated team of professionals anywhere. Indigenous Education has been there for me in so many more ways than just financially. I feel as if they are cheering me on all the way to the finish line. We all know that these are indeed difficult times, but we must also realize that the most valuable resources are support and encouragement. There is a massive amount of support coming from the team at Indigenous Education, starting all the way from the top, and it is something every citizen can tap into. I can’t wait to see your stories here in the future as I share mine.

I believe that we must help lift each other up as we ourselves climb the ladder of life. I couldn’t be more grateful to Elouise Cobell and the Indigenous Education team for reaching out to help me up so I can turn around and do the same for those who need their own helping hand.

Thank you!

 

For the past 5 years, you have been on this journey with us, and we are immensely grateful. We have been honored, amazed, and inspired by the passion and drive of our Scholars and Fellows, and are eager to see where the next 5 years will take us.

 

IEI will be honoring 5 years of scholarship and service through 5 days of inspiration – please join us in this celebration! Share your experiences, memories, and photos with IEI, Cobell Scholars, and our partners with the hashtag, #IEI5Year – Be Safe. Be Well. Be Kind.