Friday, March 13, 2009

Tribal Policy/Native Health Care Follow-Up

Guest post from Mia Ibarra, Udall Foundation

Earlier today our tribal public policy and Native health care readers wrote a post about their experience with and expectations for those categories. They noted that those applicants make up less than seven percent of our 2009 nominee pool, and it follows that they will make up a small percentage of our scholar class. However, Mo’s commitment to Indian Country played no small role in shaping his legacy, as demonstrated by the Indian Child Welfare Act and other key pieces of legislation.

The Udall Foundation is dedicated to continuing this legacy through our scholarship and internship programs, and increasing the strength and size of the applicant pool in the tribal public policy and Native health care categories is a high priority. The more applications we receive from Native Americans and Alaska Natives, the more scholarships we can award in these categories.

Suggestions to faculty representatives:
  • Encourage students to think broadly about tribal public policy. Tribal governance, tribal law, Native American education, Native American justice, reservation infrastructure, natural resource protection, cultural preservation and revitalization, Native American economic development, and many other career paths can impact tribal public policy, at the federal, state, and tribal level. The Native health care category should also be considered in broad terms: we've had health care scholars who wanted to be social workers, physical therapists, doctors, psychologists, dentists . . . The most important thing is that, whatever their field of study, the student is committed to using their knowledge and skills to benefit their tribal community or Indian Country as a whole.
  • Seek assistance from departments and offices at your institutions that have ties to Native American and Alaska Native students to identify potential nominees who have shown initiative in serving Native communities and a commitment to a career path in tribal public policy or Native health care.
  • Advise your nominees on how best to present themselves, and their ties to their Native community, as they put together their applications. Many applicants in these categories are reluctant to put themselves forward, and take their community involvement for granted. Many are putting themselves through school and have extensive family obligations, and a rigorous application process can act as a deterrent. The benefits for seeing it through, however, make it well worthwhile.

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