Last year, SweetGrass Trading Company, a member of Ho-Chunk Trading Group, launched a scholarship program awarding funds to a Native student planning to attend college.
The funds are given to students who are attending, or planning to attend, a four-year college, two-year college, or technical school. Any Native student is encouraged to apply at https://sweetgrasstrad.wpengine.com/native-scholarship-program/.
Nationwide, Native students lag behind non-Native students in college enrollment and completion.U.S. Census Data shows that Native American students face a number of barriers and challenges that other students do not, such as lack of cultural inclusion and underrepresentation in the college setting.
The Native Scholarship program aims to help students manage the costs of attending college, while encouraging them to pursue their goals and dreams. SweetGrass recognizes that education is important to help students deliver meaningful contributions not only to their Tribes, but to society at large.
Last year’s winner, Jacquelyn Gutierrez, said the scholarship helped relieve the financial burden of college, giving her more freedom to focus on coursework.
“I hope the scholarship donors understand the impact that their gifts have on the lives of many students in this area,” Gutierrez said. “I find it admirable that HCI had this scholarship set up and was inclined to invest in a Winnebago tribal member like myself.”
Gutierrez is a sophomore at Little Priest Tribal College and will graduate in fall 2020 with an associate’s degree in business administration. She will then be transferring to Wayne State College, where she will pursue her bachelor’s in human resource management. After graduation, she hopes to work for Ho-Chunk, Inc.
“I take a lot of pride in my Native American heritage and I love seeing the growth and development that Ho-Chunk, Inc., is working toward in Sioux City and Winnebago,” she said. “Over the years, I have seen the Winnebago Reservation blossom and I would love to take part in strengthening my community.”
The goal of SweetGrass Trading Company is to offer more scholarships in the future as the company continues to grow.