“Education is the answer for us, and nobody can take away our knowledge.”
Single mom and recent Northwest Indian College graduate, Autumn feels blessed that scholarships from the College Fund gave her the ability to focus on school and support her family while she attended classes without having to take multiple jobs. A survivor of alcoholism, Autumn understands just how precious her second lease on life is for her and her children.
Through her faith and sheer will she was able to rise above her circumstances. She gives credit to her creator for showing her the way forward. “Running challenges and invigorates me. The fresh air, being surrounded by nature—it helps me connect to our collective past. It reminds me of our ancestors and their mantra of doing good.”
Mental health and well-being aren’t just personal goals for Autumn, they inform the work she’s embarking on to help heal Indian Country. Her bachelor’s degree in business management and tribal governance helped Autumn come up with a business plan for Native Tough, a prevention and relapse-prevention center. She’s currently working on her master’s degree in indigenous education to create a curriculum that all tribes can share as they implement similar programs across the nation. “One thing I would like everyone to know about Native American students is, we are resilient and although we face a lot of struggles in our own lives, we still find ways to pick ourselves up and pursue what we set out to do.”