Press Release
June 13, 2011

Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation and National Museum of the American Indian Announce Winners of Young Native Writers' Essay Contest

Washington, D.C. – June 13, 2011 – The Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation and the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) are pleased to announce the eight winners of the 6th Annual Young Native Writers' Essay Contest.

The contest, which asks high school students to "describe a crucial issue confronting your tribal community today" and "explain how you hope to help your tribal community respond to this challenge and improve its future," focuses on the richness of Native American life and history and encourages Native American youth to explore their heritage.

The winners of the Young Native Writers' Essay Contest are:

  • Harrison Boling (Comanche) - Hinsdale, Illinois
  • Chance Carpenter (Hupa Tribe) - Hoopa, California
  • Trevon Cole (Choctaw) - Coalgate, Oklahoma
  • Talon Ducheneaux (Cheyenne River Sioux) - Mission, South Dakota
  • Hunter Harmon (Nanticoke) - Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
  • Neyom Osceola (Seminole Tribe of Florida) - Miramar, Florida
  • Morek Robbins (Yurok) - Hoopa, California
  • Alena Stone (Rosebud Sioux) - Lincoln, Nebraska

"It's such an honor to give all Native American high school students in the U.S. the opportunity to participate in this rewarding contest," said Angela Ruth, executive director of Holland & Knight's Charitable Foundation. "Our hope is that this contest will offer these young rising stars a sense of pride for their heritage and encourage these bright minds to think seriously about the great potential they hold for positive change."

"It is inspiring to read the thoughts and innovative ideas of young Native people today, who are committed to the betterment of their tribal communities," said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the National Museum of the American Indian. "Through collaborative efforts with Holland & Knight, we are delighted to once again host the awards ceremony for this group of talented Native youth. We look forward to future opportunities to celebrate the excellence of young Native writers."

All finalists receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. where they will join members of Holland & Knight's Indian Law Practice group for a week of activities that include: a tour of the National Museum of the American Indian, other Smithsonian museums, the Capitol and other monuments and a meeting with the Native American Embassy. Ed Edmo (Shoshone-Bannock), author of "These Few Words of Mine," and an acclaimed poet, performer, storyteller and lecturer on Northwest tribal culture will be traveling with the group. Edmo will offer an afternoon symposium on creative writing for both students and teachers at the NMAI. The week-long experience for the student winners and their teachers will take place July 18-22.

The winners, accompanied by the teachers who inspired their entries, will also receive a scholarship of $2,500 to be paid to the college or university of their choice and an award to display in their home or school during an honor ceremony taking place on July 21 in the Potomac Atrium of the National Museum of the American Indian.

About the Young Native Writer's Essay Contest: The contest debuted in 2006 in Red Lake, Minnesota in response to the March 2005 event where a student at Red Lake High School shot five of his fellow students, a teacher, a security guard, members of his family and then himself. The Foundation originally set up the contest with the hope that the Red Lake community would find healing by promoting its rich culture and traditions. Now, this essay contest has become a means of reaching out to a variety of Native American students.

About the National Museum of the American Indian: The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere, past, present, and future, through partnership with Native people and others. The museum works to support the continuance of culture, traditional values, and transitions in contemporary Native life.

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