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Native American Heritage Month: Honoring Students’ Heritage

The month of November—along with being the designated “giving thanks” time of the year for most Americans—is also National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

Last year, The UPS Foundation once again gave $150,000 to the American Indian College Fund to continue The UPS Foundation funding of AICF’s Tribal College Scholarship program, awarding one student in each of the nation’s tribal college and universities (TCUs) a $2,250 scholarship.

One recipient of the award, Jesse, is an enrolled member of the Gros Ventre tribe. When her father had a heart attack in 2008, Jesse took the reins for his at-home care, dropping out of high school to work two jobs. She managed to get her G.E.D. in 2009.

During her high school years, however, Jesse was able to get her Certified Nursing Assistant (C.N.A.) license—a decision that helped her care for her father, and led her to pursue a career in healthcare.



“My C.N.A. license has helped me so much. Without it I wouldn’t be going to school now, I wouldn’t have known how to take care of my dad after he got out of the hospital, and I wouldn’t have such a rewarding job,” she says.

Now back in school to get her Associates Degree in Allied Health at Aaniiih Nakoda College in Harlem, Montana, Jesse is excited for her future in healthcare. She plans on getting her nursing degree, followed by a hospital position focusing on hospice care.

“I believe that if I work in hospice I’ll be happy,” she says. “When I give palliative care, I feel I am doing my best.”

Jesse is appreciative of The UPS Foundation’s continuing support of the American Indian College Fund, and UPS is proud to be part of an organization that’s helping young people learn more, every day.

“Lastly, I wanted to tell you, ‘gin ee hay ats,’ which is ‘thank you’ in Gros Ventre,” says Jesse. “Thank you for allowing me to continue my education and help better my people.”

Category: Caring for Communities
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