Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The author at age 18.

I received a letter from Ann Marie Donoghue from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center about this painting, A Young Oglala Sioux, painted by the artist James Bama. I was the subject in the painting, which is currently on view in the Coe Auditorium Gallery. Prior to that, it was displated in the Kriendler Gallery of Contemporary Art, a gallery inside the Whitney Gallery of Western Art at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.

Seeing this painting again after so many years reminds me that from adolescence to young adulthood, a person is coming into his own. He is learning about who he is, how he fits into the world, what talents the creator has gifted him with, and how he can contribute those gifts to the world.

Chrysalis is a word derived from Latin for the gold-colored pupa of butterflies, denoted as the “sheltered stage of being or growth.” When I look back on this painting, I think of the golden years of youth.

Sadly, for many of our young Indian people, there is no sheltered golden time to learn, grow, or determine what their gifts might be. They are often responsible for young children or family members, and the grinding demand of providing food and shelter for their families and themselves engulf their days. Young Indian people live in some of the poorest areas of the country, and the opportunity to go to college for higher intellectual and spiritual growth is a luxury that few can afford.

As we enter the season of giving, my fervent wish is that all of our young Indian people can fulfill the purpose that the creator intended.

All young people should have the luxury of holding dear and nurturing a dream, giving birth to that dream as it emerges from the chrysalis to fly, spreading beauty and hope. I hope that you will help spread the gift of hope this holiday season.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Lot to Be Thankful For...

We at the Fund have a lot to be thankful for this year. Our individual, corporate, and foundation supporters are stepping up to the plate to help American Indian students achieve their goals and dreams. We are seeing our graduates go on to successful and fulfilling careers. And we are seeing tribal colleges expand their offerings and increasing their support to their communities in many capacities as educators and community centers.

As we enter this period of reflection and thanks across the nation, I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who care enough to make a difference in your communities and with the American Indian community.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Flame of Hope Gala A Success

Thanks to all of you, our supporters, the Fund raised $400,000 to support student scholarships at the Flame of Hope Gala in New York last Thursday.

This event doesn't happen overnight. Many of our supporters donated funds for the event itself, including the venue, the meal, and the entertainment. And many of you also donated your beautiful artwork for the silent auction. Others volunteered your time to work on the planning committee to choose the venue, the meal, to solicit sponsorships, to generate media support, and more. Others volunteered on site at the registration desk and at the auction.

I'd like to take this time to thank everyone who helped the Fund further its goal to assist American Indian students in achieving their dream of an education.