Student Native & Non-Native Leaders

Get to know the leaders that inspire our Native scholars.

Billy Frank Jr.

Billy Frank Jr.


One of my greatest inspirations is the late Billy Frank Jr., who was an advocate for Indian Treaty Rights and Environmental Stewardship. From 1945 into the 1960s, he was arrested over 50 times for fishing in our ancestral waters, which is something our ancestors had been doing for generations. The state of Washington was trying to deny Billy and his traditional way of life. But in 1974 in United States v. Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312, Judge Hugo Boldt upheld the government’s treaty with the Native people of the Pacific Northwest, which stated that tribes who signed the Point Elliott Treaty were allowed to fish on their ‘usual and accustomed grounds.’ Billy Frank Jr.’s fight is inspiring to me because it shows that our way of life will not go away. We have been here for generations and we intend to keep our way of life alive, no matter what. Billy Frank Jr.’s fight for our treaty rights is one of the main reasons I intend on attending law school once I complete my undergrad.

Chief Manuelito

Chief Manuelito


Chief Manuelito is one of the most famous chiefs of the Navajo Nation. He was a leader in the great times of disparity for the Diné people when the U.S. government forced Native Americans off their land in the ‘Long Walk.’ For many years during this time, he led a group of warriors resisting the United States military. Their efforts ultimately resulted in the signing of a treaty that put the Navajo reservation where it is today, giving the Diné people much of their sacred land back.

I really admire Chief Manuelito and his determination. Even though there was a lot of tribulation going on with the Diné, he pushed forward and was a source of strength to those who followed him. I admire his leadership and he inspires me every day to improve my life and the lives of those around me.

Dr. Monica Carrillo

Dr. Monica Carrillo


Monica is a doctor for the Swinomish Tribe at their Indian Health Clinic, and she is also my physician. I met her when I was in very bad shape, at the start of my recovery, just after my liver failed. She saw something in me that I didn’t even see myself and she helped me tremendously during those first few months. Eight months into my recovery, I started running to help with my depression and other existing health issues. I told Monica during one of my appointments and that day she changed my life when she asked me to run the New York City Marathon with her. I accepted and we trained like there was no tomorrow for this amazing adventure. During training, Monica mentioned how she ran throughout med school. It wasn’t long after that that I committed to getting my bachelor’s at Northwest Indian College. She was so right about running pairing up nicely with school. Now I’m at Arizona State University going for my master’s of indigenous education and I also celebrated 4 years of sobriety at the end of July. Monica truly helped me on my journey. She took me in with open arms, gave me the courage to put myself out there, and helped me find my passion in running. I firmly believe she was sent into my life for a reason.

Sunshine Carlow

Sunshine Carlow


I look up to Sunshine Carlow because she is a Native leader who is doing a lot for the Lakota language revitalization. I was her intern at Dakota Lakota Summer Institute and I admired her positivity and confidence. She always seemed to know exactly what to say. Someday, I hope to help the Lakota language and community as much as she has, starting with our youth.

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– Tom Brooks, Vice President of External Affairs

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– Pat Roe, USA Funds Vice President, Philanthropy

The Anheuser-Busch Foundation applauds the work of the American Indian College Fund and proudly supports its Tribal Colleges Scholarship Program and Cultural Preservation Recognition Initiative. The students that benefit from the work of the College Fund have the knowledge, skills and cultural awareness to succeed in school and to serve as leaders in their communities.

– Bill Bradley, Vice President of Community Affairs

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation is proud to support the American Indian College Fund Tribal College Scholarship Program that is helping to strengthen communities and provide economic development in Indian Country by supporting life-changing opportunities for promising first-generation American Indian and Alaska Native students who seek to build a better future through education. These students are leaders in their communities and role models for their peers. We understand how important it is to support the empowerment and advancement of the United States’ Indigenous Communities.

– Carol May, Walmart Foundation

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