Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) recently awarded a $5,000 scholarship to Helen Dianne Dangel to assist her in her pursuit of a master’s degree in psychology at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling.
“There is a need for Native leadership in the mental health community,” Dangel said in a press release. “I believe that there is a role for culture to help in healing. I know from experience that being strong in your culture makes you proud, and it can help to heal the many issues the Native community has.”
Dangel currently holds a bachelor’s degree in natural resource policy, and has worked for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska as a cultural resources specialist and resources protection director. She has been documenting the Tlingit culture and fighting for subsistence rights by protecting herring. Her choice of psychology was made so she could help Native people on a personal level.
“I think my uncle would be very proud of Helen and her vision to serve Native people with her life’s work,” Chris McNeil Jr., president and CEO of Sealaska Corporation, said in the release. He and his wife Mary established the Judson L. Brown Leadership Award in 2006 with an endowment of $100,000. “She is the kind of Native leader Mary and I had hoped to support with our endowment.”
Dangel wasn’t the only one to get a scholarship though, SHI handed out a total of $447,000 to Sealaska shareholders and descendants.
According to SHI President Rosita Worl, 356 Alaska Native students received funds to help them pursue a variety of graduate and undergraduate degrees.