Brandon,

Navajo Nation

You could say healing is in Brandon’s blood. After all, his beloved grandmother was a Navajo healer, a medicine woman. And now Brandon is following in her inspired footsteps. The journey hasn’t been easy, but thanks to his College Fund scholarship and his fierce determination, Brandon is on his way to becoming a doctor.

Changing perspectives and giving people hope is as important to Brandon as healing ailments and physical wounds. He sees his success as vital in reversing a disturbing trend in the nation’s medical schools.

“According to a 2015 study, ‘Only 20 indigenous or Native American people were enrolled in medical schools.’ We need doctors and healers more than ever.”

When Brandon returns to his reservation to provide vitally needed care to an underserved population, he also hopes to serve as an example for other aspiring physicians. “There’s no better inspiration in the world than seeing someone like yourself achieving greatness.”

Navajo Fry Bread (the “right way”)

Recipe

Navajo Fry Bread (the “right way”)

Student:
Brandon

I have such fond memories of making Navajo fry bread with my family and it’s been such a meaningful experience to make it with my college peers for powwow concessions. It’s funny because everyone has their own spin on it, based on their own family’s recipe, so we always end up bickering about the “right way” to make it.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Bluebird flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp shortening

Instructions

Mix all the ingredients together. Use warm water and pour it over the flour mixture slowly. Knead until soft. If the mixture is sticky, sprinkle flour into it until the dough is nice and soft. Let it sit for about one hour. Next, warm up the grease/shortening. Pat out the dough, poke a hole in the center, and slowly put it into the grease. Turn the bread clockwise while cooking to keep with tradition. Fry until it’s light golden brown.

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

Book

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

Student:
Brandon

Stone Fox was one of the first chapter books I read as a child. It tells a story about a young Alaskan boy who enters a dog sled race in order to save his grandfather’s life and his family’s farm. The story taught me at a young age to always persevere. Sometimes it may feel like the odds are stacked against you, but you really can overcome anything if you set your mind to it.

Movie: Wind River

Arts & Entertainment

Movie: Wind River

Student:
Brandon

Wind River will always be one of my all-time favorite movies. It takes place on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. To me, it promotes a voice of awareness and a call for action. It makes me reflect on the great people and things I hold dear to my heart and it’s a continual reminder of the importance of improving the quality of life in Native country.

Sacred Circle Healthcare Clinic

Native Owned Business

Sacred Circle Healthcare Clinic

Student:
Brandon

One of the businesses that I truly feel makes a difference in many Native and non-Native lives is the healthcare clinic Sacred Circle in Salt Lake City. It is the first and only tribe-owned clinic in Utah that’s located outside of a reservation. It’s owned and operated by the Confederate Tribes of the Goshute, and it serves many urban Natives that live off the reservation that may not have typical access to health care.

https://www.sacredcirclehealth.com

Chief Manuelito

Native & Non-Native Leader

Chief Manuelito

Student:
Brandon

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.

Native Representation in Government

Social Issue

Native Representation in Government

Student:
Brandon

San Juan County is the largest county by area in Utah and it is currently governed by a three-member commission. Two of the three current commissioners are Navajo. For decades, there was only one—if any—Navajo commissioners, even though Native Americans make up the slight majority within the county. This representation has already had a big impact on several county policies, but now there is some debate as to whether or not this is the best way to run our government. There is a special election coming up that will decide whether or not the three-member commission will continue to be the form of government used. I feel it’s so important to keep our people represented in our government, so the decisions made are in line with the beliefs of the Navajo people in our county.

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