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Native American Scholarship Recipients Celebrate Graduation from University of Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minn. – The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) joined the University of Minnesota on Sunday, April 28, to celebrate the graduation of this year’s students who received scholarships from the SMSC. The 13 Native American students represent 12 tribes from across North America and are the ninth graduating class of SMSC scholarships.


The MSC Endowed Scholarship program supports talented Native American students with financial need who are seeking undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Minnesota. This year’s recipients are graduating from University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth, Morris and the Twin Cities with degrees ranging from ecology to social work.


At the graduation celebration, students and their families joined SMSC and University of Minnesota representatives at McNamara Alumni Center in Minneapolis. There, remarks were given by SMSC scholarship recipient, Kelly Nayquonabe, along with leaders from the University of Minnesota and SMSC. Afterwards graduates were honored with star quilts from the tribe.


“Many talented Native American students face barriers to receiving their education,” said SMSC Vice-Chairman Anderson during his congratulatory remarks. “Our tribe established this scholarship program to make sure that deserving students – like the ones graduating this year – have the chance to break down those barriers and become the next generation of leaders in our community.”


The 2019 graduates include:


Millie Baird, White Earth Band of Ojibwe

Mika Barrett, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians

Chandell Boyd, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe

Evelyn Campbell, Minnesota Chippewa Tribe

Castrenze Fricano, Chickasaw Nation

Erica Guthrie, Metlakatla Indian Community

Dana Hewankorn, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

Jordan Morrison, Big Grassy First Nation

Kaitlyn Pearson, Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa

Kelly Nayquonabe, Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians

Tatianna Silverness, Grand Portage Chippewa

Madison Smith, Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin

Alexandrah Walker, Meskwaki Nation


The SMSC Endowed Scholarship program was established through a $2.5 million gift to the University of Minnesota from the SMSC. The SMSC donated an additional $500,000 to the scholarship program in 2017. The gift leveraged a former university matching program that doubles the impact of the gift to students. Since the program began in 2009, more than 200 students have received this scholarship. This year 69 scholarship recipients are enrolled, representing more than 40 tribal nations across the United States.


About the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community


The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is a federally recognized, sovereign Dakota tribal government located southwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Following a Dakota tradition of generosity, the SMSC is one of the top philanthropists in Minnesota and is the largest contributor to other tribal governments and causes across the country. It is a strong community partner and a leader in protecting and restoring natural resources. The SMSC’s government, Gaming Enterprise and various other enterprises are collectively the largest employer in Scott County and attract millions of visitors to the region.