LAWRENCE, KANSAS – College senior, Briana Edmo is excited about the closure of her undergraduate journey when she walks across the stage in May at Haskell Indian Nations University. But, her biggest adventure is still ahead with a fall law internship in New Zealand.
Briana (Navajo/Blackfeet/Shoshone-Bannock) plans to move to New Zealand this fall where she will serve in a 4-month law internship at a community law center serving the Maori people and other pacific islanders. This internship comes on the heels of a year-long internship with the Prosecutor’s Office for the City of Lawrence, KS.
Briana graduates from Haskell in May with a bachelor’s degree in Indigenous & American Indian Studies with an emphasis in Tribal Sovereignty. Her career dreams are to use her future law career to serve indigenous people in the US and around the world.
“I am eager to learn about the differences and similarities between Native Americans and indigenous communities in other countries, as well as their unique cultures, traditions, and politics” Briana states.
She will be placed in a community law center in Auckland, where she is expects to work closely with the Maori people and other Pacific islanders. Briana believes this internship will be a beneficial personal experience, as well as an opportunity to build relationships between US Natives Americans and the indigenous peoples of the south pacific.
Further, this experience will give her the opportunity to research the history of the how the Maoris have executed political leverage in their own country. “I believe their triumphs can be a model for other indigenous nations, including those in our own country,” Briana said.
Her dream is about to become reality. Her unpaid internship begins in September and will continue through December, approximately 14 weeks. The program doesn’t come free. The program costs $8,000 (program fee), plus airfare to/from (approximately $3000) for her participation in this once in a lifetime experience. Since this internship is in New Zealand, it will be unpaid because of visa restrictions.
Briana explains, “This is an amazing opportunity and will be a wonderful experience. Not only will it give me the opportunity to learn about other indigenous peoples, but I will also be living and immersing myself in another country’s culture, which will be priceless!”
Briana and her family will host several food sale fundraisers within the next few months around the Lawrence, KS area. They also plan to reach out to tribal communities for assistance.
If you would like to donate, she has created a “GoFundMe” account at www.gofundme.com, with the title, #GetBrianaToNewZealand. All donations would be greatly appreciated.