April D Youpee-Roll
Research Assistant for Indian Affairs and the Judiciary, United States Senator Tim Johnson
Harvard College, A.B. Sociology 2008
Hopeful, Proud, and Grounded
Friendly, energetic and driven.
My grandfather, William Youpee, Sr. and my mother, Isabelle Florence Youpee.
Dr. David Wilkins
Home, because it's in my blood. Boston, because I found great friends and an unforgettable college experience there.
I was raised by a single mother who is the strongest person I know; she taught me to stand and speak up for myself. When I was a Junior in college, my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer. I struggle daily with the balance between my current need to be closer to home and the good work I am able to do and experience I am able to gain here.
I enjoy discovering new poets, reading place-relevant novels related to Montana or Indian people, and Haruki Murakami's Japanese postmodern fiction.
I listen to a little bit of everything: Top 40 when I'm in a dancing mood, Country and Powwow music when I'm homesick, and Oldies when I miss my mom.
I enjoy photography, reading, beading, computers, going for scenic walks, and sending small gifts and letters by mail to my loved ones.
Networking is everything. Meet people and show them how special you are; you'd be surprised how helpful it is.
I feel that I am about to reach one. In August I plan to return home to care for my mother, and I feel that returning home will present unique challenges concerning the way my current skillset can be utilized back home on the reservation.
My ultimate goal is to return home in service to my tribe. I am not sure what shape this goal will eventually take, but I am wholly prepared for a life of service. To this point I have attempted to guide and measure my employment and educational experiences by this goal.
One way in which I continue to differ from my various academic and career-related circles is my lack of travel experience. Though I have crossed the continental US more than once throughout my childhood and adult life, I have no passport and have yet to experience international travel.
Dedicated lifelong learner.
Billie Lea Rusek
Office of the Governor
I earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Technology from the University of Montana-Helena College of Technology.
Independent, Determined, and Strong
Outgoing, committed, loyal and strong-willed.
Current and former colleagues, teachers and friends.
Ms. Chriske, the computer teacher at the Helena Career Training Institute. After taking her class, that's when I realized that I wanted to pursue a degree in computer technology.
My sister and I lived a short time with my grandfather in Texas. He would take us across the border in to Matamores, Mexico every Saturday so he could get his Spanish newspaper. He would buy us lemonade and Mexican candy.
One obstacle I had to overcome was being one of very few minorities in predominately white schools. It was hard not having any friends but then I learned how to make friends and talk to other kids. I learned to trust and respect others and treat them the way I want to be treated.
The National Enquirer, Software Manuals and Newspapers!
I enjoy all music, from classic rock to the 80's and today's hip hop.
I like to hike, camp, fish, boat and play billiards and dance.
The technological world is advancing every day. Keep up with the latest technologies!
The turning point in my life is when I received my GED and realized that I could go to college! I was determined to prove to myself that I could do it. But first and foremost, I wanted to make my parents proud and to be the first to graduate with a college degree.
I plan to return to a four-year college and earn a bachelor's degree. I also want to continue to mentor teen mothers and let them know that they can make it too.
My family moved all over the western United States when I was a child. We lived in many states such as Washington, Idaho, Utah and Texas. But one of my most favorite places is Glacier National Park, Montana! I want to one day travel abroad.
I love to do web site development and graphic design. Someday I would like to own my own web site company.
Nkwusm-Salish Language Revitalization Institute
Slshensh - Littlerock
Haskell Indian Nations University (no degree) University of Montana (no degree) Salish Kootenai College - Certificate of Completion Salish Cultural Leadership - Associates of Native American Studies - BS in Elementary Education
Repsectful, Honest, and Steadfast
Mother, Elders, Wife, Children, Friends
Doug Rhuman (SKC) - Johnny Arlee - Sophie Mays
Lower Flathead River - Mission Mountains - Home
One obstacle that is common with many people is peer pressure. We are constantly being told by outside influences what we should do with our life. These can be both positive and negative but they are always around us and it is hard as a young person to know what is good and what is bad. Learning to really think for myself, to be positive and to know and understand that we all make mistakes but it is how we get back up when we have been knocked down.
I like looking at old history books about tribal people, National Geographic, News papers.
Roundance, Powwow and old Salish Music and though I hate to admit it country music.
Hang out with family and friends, jam hand drum tunes, study the Salish Language, listen to Elders, train jui jitsu, Enjoy life.
Follow your heart, Listen to your parents and Elders, Be strong and True and Respect everything especially yourself...
When I quit drinking and started to learn about what it means to really be Salish. There was a time when I was extremely excited about being "Indian" and I read everything and was all about being militant. I learned a lot during this time especially about Native politics on a national level but it was when a friend said,"Chaney Tell me about your people, tell me about who you are. I spouted off a bunch of statistics such as how big my rez was how many people are enrolled and he was like no! who are you, where do you people come from, your ceremonies your language who are you? Well, I didn't know and that was probably my biggest turning point in my life. Though after that my eyes were open to how beautiful life is and how precious it can be when I held my new born babies.
My main goal or dream would be to see our language alive again, to be spoken all over by our people. There are so many positive things that can come out of our people knowing their language with the main thing being knowing who you are as a human and being able to move forward in life with confidence. I would love to become fluent myself and then pass this knowledge on to my children and our tribal youth. Little camps are good but I want to see a program that focuses on our youth all year around and teaches many different things.
I went to school at Haskell for 3 years, traveled to New York City for the American Indian College Fund Gala, numerous AIHEC and NIEA conferences, South Texas for a Film Institute, and New Zealand to learn and study how the Maori people have brought back their language.
Proud Parent for sure, wish I was a fluent speaker...working on that though, the idea that we need to really enjoy life and be happy for all the things that the Creator has provided for us. Life is so precious and we should never take it for granted.
Social Science Researcher/ Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust
My Cheyenne name is Bear Mint Woman and I am named after one of my grandmothers, Rose King.
Stanford University B.A. 2007, M.A. 2008
Spirited, Blessed, and Grounded
I am a loyal friend and very committed to my work. My friends would probably describe me as fun, loud, and fabulous. My colleagues would probably describe me as motivated, positive, something new and exciting.
My mother, my aunties, and my grandmothers have always been my role models and I strive to be a strong Native woman just like each of them. I try to surround myself with positive, beautiful people and they all influence me for the better.
I have had some tremendous teachers and professors. I owe my utmost gratitude to Mr. Nick Serres, Mr. Waylon Fortune, Prof. Matthew Snipp, Prof. Teresa Lafromboise, and Prof. JoEllen Shively for their mentorship, guidance, and friendship.
Machu Picchu, Peru, the Bay Area, and New Zealand have special meaning to me. My favorite place, however, is my family home and land on the rez--it's where I get my strength.
Life is full of obstacles, both small and large. I can't pinpoint just one, but overall I've been very blessed in my life. I try to believe in myself and just roll with the punches.
Decolonizing Methodologies by Linda Tuhiwai Smith is one of the most powerful books I have ever read. I love to read pretty much anything from Nicholas Sparks' romance novels to poetry by Maya Angelou.
Music keeps me going. I have different playlists for every part of my day/life. Country and powwow jams remain a constant.
My family come first in my life and my friends are a close second. Basketball is my sport of choice and I love to dance, watch movies, youtube/wikipedia random stuff, laugh, visit new places, eat great food, and just enjoy life as much as possible.
Read and write as much as you can and never stop questioning the status quo.
A big turning point in my life was the passing of a best friend, Maurice Morsette, in April 2007. As a result, I have promised myself that I will never hesitate to let people know how much they mean to me.
I am dedicated to my tribe and community. I eventually hope to return home and teach high school or work in some capacity to improve the lives of Northern Cheyenne and Native youth. I would also like to continue working in the area of Indigenous education and policy, particularly at the national and international level.
I travel as much as I can and try to enjoy the journey wherever and with whomever it takes me. I have been all over Central and South America, Mexico, Australia, the South Pacific, Costa Rica, New Zealand and I can't wait to explore Europe, Asia, and Africa.
I love being an auntie, I enjoy fishing, I like bright colors, live music and good company are two of my must-haves in life, I love Native bling, my grandpa is my favorite person in the world, I love spicy food, fresh flowers make me smile, and nobody can make me laugh like my baby brother.
MT WY Tribal Leaders Council and the Montana Arts Council
I attended MSU-Bozeman for three years and completed my degree at MSU-Billings in 2000 with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Native American Studies.
Introspective, Energetic, and a Good Listener
Understanding, caring, bubbly and passionate.
My entire family has been a positive influence in my life. I am inspired by creative people who stand up for what they believe in.
I learned from teachers in high school that I needed to be accountable for my own behaviors and studies. In college, there were many professors who helped me open my mind to new ways of thinking and to read between the lines.
I will always feel connected to Alaska and the ocean, since I was born in Soldotna, AK, which is on the Kenai peninsula. I love Montana, from the mountains and lakes to the plains and rivers, it is in bones through and through.
I have had to overcome self esteem issues and negative self talk in my life. I have been able to overcome by focusing on the present, surrounding myself with positive people and taking care of myself physically, mentally and spiritually. I believe in positive affirmations and I love to laugh and make people laugh.
I love to read books by Vine Deloria Jr., Joyce Carol Oates and Toni Morrison. I love to read memoirs and non-fiction books about interesting people and interesting times in history.
I primarily listen to rock and roll and country. I love The Beatles, Radiohead, Dixie Chicks and anything with a good beat.
I read, bake, bead jewelry, take walks, make picture collages and play and make traditional native games.
When you begin your career, listen more than you talk and find a mentor or mentors to help you along the way. Speak from your heart. Don't forget to take care of yourself and your own needs to avoid burnout.
I don't believe I have had a "turning point" in my life. I have taken it one day at a time, one step at a time, and I'm open to new experiences along the way.
I am interested in doing work for Mother Earth and those creatures who cannot speak for themselves, whether it be recycling, cleaning up sites that are strewn with garbage or reducing my carbon footprint, I believe that how we treat the earth is a direct reflection of how we treat others. I am also an activist for children's issues, cancer awareness, the environment and indigenous rights.
I have traveled throughout all of Montana, which is so much fun. There is so much to do and see right here in our own state. I also visited New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, Kentucky and Alaska. I traveled internationally and visited London, England. While traveling, visit local historic landmarks, eat local cuisine and shop at local stores. Immerse yourself and you will gain from the experience.
I am a proud parent of a ten year old son. We have grown together and all I do I do for him.
Indian Ed Dept Tutor/MCPS
Tawowiyawiya - red cloth girl
University of Montana, BS Business Admin with an emphasis in Mgmt
Zealous, Witty, and Humble
Ornery, empathetic, compassionate, smart, hard-working, talented, and nurturing
Mom, grandmother(gram), Aunt Henri, Jerry O'Reilly
Missoula, born and raised it will always be home
I'm a slow reader, takes me a long time to complete a chapter, I read high lights, first and last paragraphs, take good notes and outline chapters, fill in as needed, college was a challenge made me appreciate my education.
I LOVE MYSTERIES, Tony Hillerman, and Jeffrey Dreaver
Reggae, Motown RandB, and hand drum, Love Bob Marley, Temptations, too many drum groups to name
beading, beating all my relatives at board games, and going to the movies with my mom
Don't be afraid to try, be sure to ask for help (most people cannot read minds and do not know you need help unless you ask)
Deathly ill when I was 28 (was told I had a few years) made me re-evaluate life, decided to dedicate myself to urban indians. Applied for a job working with Indian kids and love it. Mysteriously I have overcome quite a few medical conditions, but live with Crohn's. I push now to enjoy every moment.
I want to make sure that the Indian people have a strong voice in all areas of education. I want to get a NAS degree and someday teach afterschool beading courses and do after hour family book nights. I have worked hard on what is now the 8th Annual Honoring Our Youth Pow Wow Committee, I want to see it become a place of sharing culture and maybe get to the point of giving laptops and/or scholarships to the kids (yeah I dream big)
I mostly travel around to pow wows. Went to Hawaii for a conference, want to someday travel to another country.
I dance women's traditional, cook some good fry bread, first college graduate in my family, raised by a single mom
NATH-I-DOE-HUUT / Three Strike
Texas State Technical College - Aircraft Pilot Training.
Cultural, Active, and Happy
My parents, teachers, and musical friends.
My Harlem School Elementary and High school teachers.
Signing up for the military.
I like to read legal thrillers (John Grisham novels) and cultural/history books.
I like everything!
Playing music, dancing, and golfing.
Aviation is a great field to look into - it has endless opportunities. You can become a pilot, work in the mechanical world, or even work in the business side of it.
Growing up I have always had great respect for the military veterans in my area. Both of my Grandfathers were World War II Veterans - when I was about ten years old one of my Grandpa Dave's close friends passed away and was in need of a military funeral. At the time, the services that were offered consisted of the honor guard and a recorded tape of Taps. My Grandpa hated the fact that Taps was never performed live and found the recorded version tacky. He asked if I would be able to learn Taps on the trumpet for his close friend's funeral and of course I was honored and learned it. Ever since then, every time a veteran passed away I was part of the honor guard and performed Taps for them. I feel that it's important and I hope to keep doing it.
Yes, my music has taken me all over the country! I have had the opportunity to travel from the state of Washington to the coast of Maine and all in between.
Indian Education Coordinator/ Ronan School District #30
University of Montana,Bachelors of Arts, Salish Kootenai College , Associate of Arts.
Patient, Determined, and Thoughtful
He has a good sense of Humor.
Pat Lefthand, Kootenai Elder.
Mike O' Donnell Salish Kootenai College
Kootenai Falls, This is a place of reflection for me. Going each time helps me to understand my place in the world.
I had to learn how I was going to be a student beyond high school. In my family I was the first to graduate from college. I followed that path by myself. My parents supported me but i had to learn and experience all of that on my own. It changed me by helping me to see what inner strength I possessed. I helped me to develop my inner strength when i experienced something that was foreign to me and my family. I learned that I didn't have to be afraid of not being able to do it. Even though it was new and foreign I had the support and understanding to succeed because of my support and family.
The first book i recommend is Lame Deer Seeker of Visions. This book helped me to understand that our stories as native people struggling to understand the non-indian experience can help us all to know who we are and that as we mature and grow we too affect the world that we are apart of. That we are not mere spectators of the events but participants who have an ability to share apart of ourselves with the world.
Randy Wood & Harvey Dreaver they are musical geniuses
I am learning the art of bowmaking.
I like to believe that this world has plenty to learn from tribal people. We have a keen insight into systems, this can help us to understand the non-indian world. if we as students can see the parallels between systems we can understand the similarities and learn how to create success within these systems, be it educational systems, political systems, or social systems, we can share our understanding and add to the foundation that has been laid by our ancestors before us so we can continue to be unique in our indianness yet stronger too, in the broader world community. It is going to be our lasting contribution that light the way for the generations that follow us. This means the level with which we illuminate the path of success is in direct correlation to the distance we help our next generations to travel.
SKC - AA in Native American Studies University of Montana - Elementary Education
Witty, Talkative, and Sensitive
I am a shy person and I have had to learn how to speak up to assert myself in my job
read, powwow, watch movies
Learn your language
powwowed in the USA and Canada, been to conferences as far as Hawaii and Alaska
Kenneth Tuffy Helgeson
Wamni Onowa means Singing Eagle
Fort Belknap, MSU Northern I have received a Class 7 Language Certificate
Plain, Kind, and Respectful
I would hope they would say I was straight forward and dependable.
My parents and aunts and uncles and my late grandmother.
My second grade teacher.
Our home, we have ranched there for 100 years +.
I had to not depend on people to always be there to watch over my shoulder to make sure I was right,I became a teacher at the age of 18.
Historical Documents of my people.
Pow-wow, Mandaree, Fort Belknap, Assn. Cree, Dry Lake the list goes on on and on.
Spend time with my family and tribal elders.
Keep your nose to the stone you hold your destiny nobody else.
When I realized our language is be threatened by extinction, I started work to revitalize by making real situations in the community so the language would be used.
Our name is Nakoda it means the generous ones, we help one another in any way we can. Our community is so important because it has been said it takes a village to raise a child. How ever we can help the future that's what we have to do.
Being a Pow-wow M.C. and Language Teacher as well as a small time singer I have traveled heavily through the U.S. and Canada.
I come from a big family with native as well as white heritage and I am furiously proud of both.
The Office of Public Instruction is pleased to present the "honor your Self" poster series which features 22 American Indian role models from across the state of Montana. The individuals highlighted in this series represent all tribal nations in Montana, both urban and reservation, and were all nominated by their communities and tribal elders and leaders. They also represent a broad spectrum of experiences, colleges, careers, and paths to success. Their accomplishments are truly outstanding and should be celebrated across Montana.
As a part of Indian Education For All Efforts, these posters are also an excellent resource in presenting contemporary portraits and experiences of American Indians. The series corresponds with Essential Understandings 1 & 2 by furthering the idea that the individuals come from diverse tribal nations and are a part of the continuum of American Indian identity in Montana.
Another primary goal of the series is to promote role models and the value of positive decision making to American Indian students. We hope that by encouraging young American Indians to honor themselves, their minds, their bodies and their talents, that they will also honor their families, their tribal nations and their communities. American Indian youth can create their own path to success by working hard, staying in school, setting positive goals, and following their dreams.
The OPI would like to thank not only the featured individuals below for their participation in this project, but also Missoula-based advertising and design agency, saltStudio for bringing this concept to life and for their exceptional work in creating the series. The design team from saltStudio included Bob Tutskey, Spider McKnight, Dave Mckay and Sarah Tarka. OPI would also like to acknowledge the important work and contributions of the project's cultural consultant Dr. Iris Pretty Paint Heavy Runner.
To view the Honor Poster, click on the name/link.
Ameline (Little Shell)
Shannon Augare (Blackfeet)
Chaney Bell (Salish)
Michael Beers (Blackfeet)
Dyani Bingham (Fort Belknap Assiniboine)
Joshua Brown (Salish)
Duran Caferro (Northern Cheyenne)
Heather Cahoon (Pend d'Orielle)
Leslie Caye (Kootenai)
Lauren Corcoran (Chippewa-Cree)
Gisele Forrest (Fort Peck Assiniboine)
Jamie Fox (Gros Ventre/Metis)
Casaja Fritzler (Crow)
Tamara Guardipee (Blackfeet)
Tuff Harris (Crow/Northern Cheyenne)
Kenneth "Tuffy" Helgeson (Fort Belknap Assiniboine)
Kenny Nicholson Jr. (Gros Ventre/Cree)
Tachini Pete (Navajo/Salish)
Desi Small-Rodriquez (Northern Cheyenne)
Billie Rusek (Chippewa-Cree)
Ryan Rushe (Fort Peck Assiniboine)
Melanie Sandoval (Salish)
Lane Spotted Elk (Northern Cheyenne/Crow)
Dustin Whitford (Chippewa-Cree)
April Youpee (Dakota Sioux)
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Montana Office of Public Instruction