As part of the Udall Foundation’s goals to strengthen Native American communities and enhance tribal government, the organization chooses 12 Native students each year for the Native American Congressional Internship. This year’s interns are from 12 different tribes and nine universities; they were chosen for their academic achievements and commitment to careers in tribal public policy.
“This highly regarded internship program is intended to provide American Indians and Alaska Natives with an insider’s view of the federal government,” states the press release announcing the interns. “The internship is located in Washington, D.C., and is known for placing students in extremely competitive internship positions in Senate and House offices, committees, Cabinet departments, and the White House, where they are able to observe government decision making processes firsthand.”
The 10-week internship will take place this summer; it is available to American Indians and Alaska Natives who are college juniors or seniors, recent four-year college graduates, or graduate or law students who have an interest in tribal public policy.
The 2011 Native American Congressional Internship class includes:
- Alys Ann Alley, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, interning in the Office of Representative Dale E. Kildee;
- Sarah Butrum, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, interning for Senator Tim Johnson;
- Brianna Carrier, Mohawk from the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, interning in the Office of Senator Tom Udall;
- Mark Cruz, affiliated with the Klamath Tribes, interning at the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of the General Counsel;
- Tara Houska, Couchiching First Nation, interning at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ);
- Daniel Knudsen, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, interning for Senator Mark Udall;
- Michael Mainwold, Onk Akimel O’Odham from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, interning with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, in the Indian Affairs Division;
- Rose Nimkiins Petoskey, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, interning at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, in the Office of the Assistant Secretary;
- Elizabeth Anne Reese, Pueblo of Nambe, interning for Senator Jeff Bingaman;
- Jacob Schellinger, Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohicans, interning with the U.S. Department of Justice in the Office of Tribal Justice;
- Farrah Lisa Secody, Navajo Nation, interning for Senator John McCain; and
- Christopher Sharp, Mohave from the Colorado River Indian Tribes, interning in the Office of Representative Raúl M. Grijalva.
Since it began in 1996, 174 students from 88 tribes have participated in the program.
“The Udall Internship enabled me to form incredible friendships that I will benefit from for years to come. It was a privilege to meet and work with senators, congressmen, my fellow interns, and Native American organizations that are passionate about bettering Indian country,” Prestene Garnenez, a 2009 intern from the Navajo Nation, said on the Udall Foundation website. “What a great community to be a part of!”