Faith, a junior at the College of Saint Benedict, is an active student leader, community volunteer, and student researcher. She has thoughtfully worked to promote awareness of Indigenous peoples on our campus, and to address root causes of inequity keeping Indigenous peoples from meaningful inclusion within the community. A member of the CSB/SJU Bonner Leader Program, Faith has interned with Dream of Wild Health, conducted research for the Wyandot of Anderdon Nation, co-facilitated an Inclusion Dialogue Group on the experiences of Native College students, and served as the volunteer coordinator for the CSB/SJU Community Kitchen Program. Faith plans to continue her education and become a health care provider with a special focus on the holistic needs of indigenous communities.
As a member of the Wyandot of Anderdon Nation, I have taken leadership positions to transform how my college recognizes Native culture and acknowledges its past. During my first year, I became increasingly aware of the lack of support available for Native students. Furthermore, boarding schools were once present on campus, facilitating a system that worked to colonize the Native community and erase our culture. My main goal became to decolonize our campus while transforming it into an institution at which Native and Indigenous students could thrive. I have served as a Co-Facilitator of the new Native and Indigenous Inclusion Dialogue group which quickly became the foundation to promote this mission. By creating this change together, I hope one day my college will serve as an example of an institution known for actively and honestly engaging with its past while uplifting Native and Indigenous agency, history, culture, and perspectives. The steps toward systemic change cannot occur until the harsh realities of our nation’s history are not ignored, but instead are widely acknowledged and openly accepted. After graduation, I plan to obtain masters degrees in Public Health and Physician Assistant Studies to combat systems that perpetuate health disparities in Native communities.