For the ninth annual Young Native Writers Essay Contest, students are being asked to write about one or more of the cultural images, symbols or art forms that have been historically developed by their community (Indian tribal, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian) to communicate a particular message or value or serve a specific purpose.
Essays should be less than 1,200 words and should describe the image(s), symbol(s) or art forms selected; explain how it was originally developed or used by the community; reflect on the student’s personal experience about it, including thoughts and feelings; and suggest why or how it is still relevant today.
The contest is held by the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation, which partners with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian and the National Indian Education Association, to encourage young Native American writers to explore their heritage. The contest is open to all Native American high school students.
To view contest rules and past winning entries, visit NativeWriters.HKLaw.com. Entries must be submitted electronically by April 22. Up to five winners will be announced mid-May.
The winners will receive an all-expenses paid “Scholar Week” trip to Washington, D.C. the week of July 20, 2014. The group will enjoy an honor ceremony at the National Museum of the American Indian; a tour of the NMAI Cultural Resources Center where tribal objects can be viewed and studied; educational symposia for students and their teachers; and a tour of the U.S. Capitol. Winners will also receive a $2,500 scholarship to be paid to the college or university of their choice.
“The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian is proud to be involved in a program that inspired high school students to think innovatively about their Native communities,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), NMAI director, in a press release. “Each year we look forward to honoring the winners at our building on the National Mall as well as offering them special tours and programs.”