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In a collaboration to assist descendants of Indian boarding school survivors, the American Indian College Fund and the National Native American Boarding School (NABS) Healing Coalition have joined forces to provide scholarships of $3,000 each to 20 recipients.

The scholarship is designed to acknowledge the experiences of boarding school survivors and to allow families to come together and heal. In the application process, students share a 500-word essay about their relationship with a boarding school survivor in their family. This process is designed to prompt sharing and healing, while acknowledging the impact of this trauma on their lives and relationships.

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NABS raised over $51,000 as part of a matching campaign to fund the scholarships for this academic year. The American Indian College Fund made up the difference.

In addition to financial support, the American Indian College Fund (the College Fund) provides students with culturally relevant and holistic support to facilitate persistence in education, academic achievement, personal and professional development, and career planning.

“We know that the impacts of Indian boarding schools are intergenerational and have played a profound role in the educational disparities Native American students experience today. This scholarship program is a first step for boarding school descendants to heal intergenerational trauma, change their own narratives, and restore what was taken from us through Indian boarding schools,” Christine Diindiisi McCleave, CEO of NABS Healing Coalition said.

“Native students are reclaiming education. All of us are survivors of intentional damage to the rights of our Tribes to educate and socialize their own people. The College Fund is honored to work with NABS to support those who are directly impacted by boarding schools. This helps all of us restore ourselves to the abundant and healthy lifestyles that are our right,” Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund said.

To qualify for the scholarship, a student must be a U.S. citizen, a tribal member or descendant of a federally or state-recognized tribe, a boarding school survivor or direct descendant of boarding school survivors, and enrolled full-time in a non-profit higher education institution in the United States. Students do not need to demonstrate financial need for this scholarship. Applicants must complete the College Fund’s online Full Circle Scholarship application and a 500-word personal essay about the assimilation model of boarding schools. Interested students can apply at https://collegefund.org/students/scholarships/.

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