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UW Inaugurates Native American Scholarship and Awards Banquet

April 15, 2019

The University of Wyoming will host the inaugural Native American Scholarship and Awards Banquet Thursday, April 18. This is the first event of what organizers hope will be an annual tradition recognizing the accomplishments of Native American students.

The banquet begins at 6:30 p.m. at the UW Conference Center.

The event’s keynote speaker is Gary “Litefoot” Davis (Cherokee), executive director of the Native American Financial Services Association and publisher of Native Business magazine. Davis also is an accomplished performer, with roles in “Indian in the Cupboard,” “Mortal Kombat” and “House of Cards.” Davis will be in Laramie as part of the WY-Wind River: Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Symposium at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday April 17, at the UW College of Arts and Sciences auditorium. The symposium is open to the public.

“This banquet will allow us the opportunity to express our appreciation to the scholarship donors who provide these awards for our students and, even more importantly, celebrate our students’ accomplishments in receiving these scholarships,” says James Trosper, chair of the Chief Washakie Foundation. 

The Native American Scholarship and Awards Banquet will provide tribes and donors the time to get to know the students who are recipients of their generosity, and also give students the opportunity to express their gratitude personally.

Organizers plan to announce three new scholarships and four new awards at the banquet. Through formal recognition of donors and engaging them with student recipients, banquet organizers hope to create opportunities to further grow endowments to support American Indian students.

The celebration will include participation by leaders from both Wind River tribes. Aldora White Eagle will lead presentations by the Northern Arapaho tribe, and Harmony Spoonhunter will lead presentations by the Eastern Shoshone tribe. The evening will open with a prayer offered by tribal elder Crawford White.

“We are honored to partner with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes, along with other donors who are creating incredible opportunities for Native Americans to further their education,” UW President Laurie Nichols says. “It is through these partnerships that we can open doors of opportunity and, ultimately, create future Native American leaders for the Wind River Indian Reservation and beyond.”

Organizers scheduled the awards banquet in April to celebrate the accomplishments of current and returning students in a venue separate from the UW graduation in May.

“We have found most UW students are anxious to embark on summer break after completing their finals, and most are not on campus during graduation,” Trosper says.

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