Success Stories

Full Time Student, Part Time Poet

A photo of the Blackfeet reservation Owen's dream is to contribute to the Blackfeet Nation's food sovereignty and local economy by becoming a fourth-generation rancher.

Partnership With Native American's American Indian Education Fund receives letters from scholarship students via mail and the internet throughout the year. Handwritten notes are sometimes a lost art in a world inundated with social media applications, so when AIEF receives these gems, we like to share them with our donors.

Meet Owen, AIEF Scholar 2020-2021

A photo of Owen and his horseOwen is a part of his college's rodeo team.

Owen is a junior at a college in North Dakota and has received an AIEF scholarship award for the past three years. He is part of the college rodeo team competing in Tie-Down Roping and Team Roping. Spending his entire pre-collegiate life on his family ranch in the heart of the Blackfeet Nation in upper Montana, Owen is Arikara, from the Three Affiliated Tribes of Fort Berthold in North Dakota and a Blackfeet descendent. He found time at the close of his rodeo season to send a quick note of thanks for the support AIEF offers him through his undergraduate academics.

Pursuing a BS in Agricultural Studies, his dreams after college are to become a fourth-generation rancher, contributing to the food sovereignty and local economy for the Blackfeet Nation. AIEF went back to Owen's essay to learn more about this Montana proud young man. It's clear he has many talents, and embracing the written word is among them. Here is an excerpt from his current year's essay (the photo is not of his land but was taken on the Blackfeet Reservation):

A note from Owen reading: Owen took the time to pen a handwritten thank you to AIEF.

"The rush of the Two Medicine's waters assaults my ears. The Rocky Mountains tower to the west, strikingly beautiful, strikingly fierce as chinook winds tear down their east slopes, surging to gale force until they reach this place, my place, rocking my stance. The air is cold on my face, it smells fresh and wild as it fills my nostrils. Looking down river I see our home, built in 1904 by the Blackfeet family who settled this ranch. In a dry, short grass year the tepee rings of their ancestors are clearly visible. In a rainy year the native bunch grass grows tall, dancing in the wind, obscuring the tepee rings, obscuring the headstones of my ancestors. My grandparents chose this place for the final rest because they could see the Two Medicine River, the Rocky Mountains and our home. Now, as I pursue my dream of operating this ranch and a mobile welding business, I feel it is my place as well."

All of our AIEF Scholars have a special connection to the land, their homes, and their families. As we enter a new year, we wish them all well as they move towards their educational goals with the ultimate goal of having a lasting impact in their communities.

Thank you for your support of Native American students like Owen!

Owen's handwritten note reads: "Dear AIEF, I am so very grateful for your scholarship assistance. We are so far able to attend live classes. Our abbreviated fall rodeo season was very successful, although the consolidated travel schedule made for numerous missed classes. I am happy to be back on campus full time and catching up on classwork. Thank you again, I can't imagine succeeding without your support. Sincerely, Owen G."



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