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Chief Washakie Scholars Selected at UW

May 3, 2018

Chief Washakie scholarships recently were awarded to 18 University of Wyoming students for the coming academic year. They will be recognized at the American Indian Studies honoring of graduates ceremony Friday, May 11, at 5 p.m. in the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center, located at 222 S. 22nd St.

Current recipients of the scholarship -- selected by the Chief Washakie Memorial awards committee -- who will continue to receive support for the coming year, are: Contessa Bonds, a Master of Science degree candidate in health services administration, from Lander; Colleen Friday, a Master of Science degree candidate in rangeland ecology and watershed management, and Vanessa Sorrels, a doctoral candidate in pharmacy, both from Laramie; Mia Holt, a senior in physiology, with a minor in American Indian studies, from Lander; and Taryn Jim, a senior in speech, language and hearing science, with a minor in disability studies, from Fort Washakie.

New recipients are Jada Boyer, a freshman in veterinary science, Tonya Dewey, a junior in criminal justice, and Christie Wildcat, a senior in American Indian studies, all from Riverton; Jenna Medicine Horse, a freshman in pre-nursing, from Ethete; and Sadie Posey, a freshman in chemistry, and Nolan Smith, a freshman in kinesiology and health promotion, both from Lander.

From Fort Washakie are: Chelsea Bad Hawk, a junior in psychology; Darrell Bell, a junior in business management; Wolf Star Duran, a freshman in American Indian studies; Sheri Moon, a sophomore in pre-nursing; Alyson Sounding Sides, a junior in energy resource management and development; Jackie Washakie, an undeclared freshman; and Juwan Willow, a freshman in secondary education.

The Chief Washakie Scholarship committee received a record number of applicants this year, and eight of those applicants were from freshmen for the coming fall semester.

The Chief Washakie Memorial Endowment at UW helps students and educators -- with significant ties to the Wind River Indian Reservation community -- gain formal knowledge, skills and abilities.

“The spirit of the award assumes that the recipients have, as part of their ultimate goals, some direct participation, appropriate to their educational background, in activities that will further the common good of the people of the Wind River Indian Reservation,” says Debra Littlesun, UW Student Financial Aid associate director.

James Trosper, the UW director of both the Native American Education, Research and Cultural Center and the High Plains American Indian Research Institute, says the committee owes its gratitude to UW President Laurie Nichols for her outreach and support to the Wind River Indian Reservation, and for her commitment to Native American students at UW.

“In our history, there were many places where we, as Native Americans, were not welcome. The message from the University of Wyoming is changing that,” Trosper says. “When I think back to the grand opening of the Native American center here on campus, something that Gov. Matt Mead said stands out. He said, ‘We hope to send a message loud and clear to all Native Americans -- we want you at the University of Wyoming because we want you to have a wonderful opportunity for education.’”

He says Nichols supported that message, mentioning that a record number of Native American students are enrolling at UW.

The scholarship selection committee is composed of representatives of the Wind River Indian Reservation community and UW. Members are Trosper, Chief Washakie Foundation chairman; Mark Harris, co-chairman of the Chief Washakie Foundation; Zedora Enos, great-granddaughter of Chief Washakie; May Raynolds, a Lander resident and member of the Chief Washakie Foundation; Littlesun; Angela Jaime, UW director of American Indian studies; and Amy McClure, retired UW Outreach regional office academic coordinator at Central Wyoming College.

For more information about the Chief Washakie Scholarships, call Littlesun at (307) 766-2411 or email her at

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