Native American Student Award

Each year, the Plains Anthropological Society seeks to award one or more grants of $1000 each to outstanding Native Americans students of anthropology

Nominations are Currently Solicited for the 2013 Award
(deadline September 20)

For additional information, contact

Jeani Borchert
608 E. Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58505

2012 Native American Student Award

The Native American Student Award was created to support the efforts of outstanding Native American students to pursue their undergraduate or graduate education in Anthropology. The grant is intended to defray costs of the student's tuition, books, room, or board. The funds are administered by the winning student's department.

The Native American Awards Committee and volunteer PAS members (this year Ruthann Knudson and Jaquelin St. Clair) evaluated the applicant’s statement of interest outlining their goals in studying anthropology. We considered their direction in research and whether or not their school is on the Plains. We considered the strength of the letter of recommendation from a faculty member.

We also considered where a student is within their educational goals. While PhD students will likely show great potential, we didn’t simply exclude younger students based on their lack of experience in anthropology.

In 2012 we had ten interesting candidates apply from schools in Iowa, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Alberta, Manitoba, Colorado, Oklahoma and Saskatchewan. These individuals are from Lakota, Eastern Shoshone, Mandan-Hidatsa, Seneca, Ponca, Metis of Alberta, Enoch Cree, Tlinget, One Arrow First Nation, Northern Arapaho, and Moosoomie First Nation heritage. Six were pursuing their undergraduate degrees in Anthropology, while two were working toward their Masters and the final two toward their Doctoral degree. These students are working to bring archaeological and anthropological methods to their interests at home, but also looking for ways for the Tribal perspective to be heard, integrated and understood within our profession.

One Undergrad stated interest in applying anthropological thought into the area of treaty rights and social justice. Another was already mediating between cultures and working toward overcoming miscommunication while preserving indigenous knowledge. A third was interested in mortuary and plains ceremonial traditions, mending relations between archaeology and traditional tribal perspectives while encouraging archaeology to consider and apply the knowledge of tribal traditions. A fourth was involved in traditional life at home and interested in teaching archaeology on the Reservation while working to protect and preserve sacred sites and landscapes. The fifth undergraduate was early in her educational career but was dedicated to learning and working in archaeology. And the sixth was focused on stewardship of tribal cultural resources and sacred areas within a career in Museums.

The graduate students who applied were exceptional. One individual working toward an MA plans to continue into a Doctoral program with a focus on pre-contact site excavation and using this work to further cross-cultural understanding. The other MA student was already enrolled in a Doctoral program and was studying the proto-historic on the Northern Plains – interested in tribal knowledge and preservation efforts with current research focused on Omaha Clan structure, status, and mortuary practices. One of the Doctoral students was working to use landscape archaeological perspectives to facilitate introduction of aboriginal perspectives to interpretation and explanation.

And, finally, our Native American Student Award Winner for 2012: Ms. Royce K. Freeman, a doctoral student from the Department of Anthropology, University of Oklahoma. The following was taken from her Letter of Interest: “My thesis research was on the history of native language innovation, collaboration, and negotiation that has aided in the creation of the Shoshonean Language Reunions and how this history can still be learned from to inspire and guide continued language revitalization efforts. Throughout my participation with the language reunions and my academic research, I have had the chance to work with Native people who, like myself, are passionate about our mother tongues and who are motivated to preserve and revitalize our tribal languages. My current studies and research goals as a Ph.D. student in Sociocultural Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma are continuing this research through my studies in sociolinguistics. Language revitalization involves many people and is at times, an extremely challenging feat to create and maintain lasting relationships amongst the speakers, learners, and those who are aiding in these preservation and revitalization goals. My research goals are to participate with and analyze the methods and processes that create and strengthen these collaborative relationships. The field of sociolinguistics offers me the opportunity to study the details and methods of linguistics, while also providing training and research methods necessary to analyze how Native/Indigenous languages are bringing people together through their common language goals.”

One of her Professors says: “Royce Feeman is an exceptional candidate for your Native American Scholarship. She is among the top 1% of students with whom I have worked; indeed she is one of the finest students with whom I have ever worked. ..”

Previous Awardees

Who qualifies for the award?

Nominees must meet the following criteria:

How do I apply?

To apply, submit the following documents to the Native American Student Award committee:

Nomination forms are
How is the grant administered?

The grant is intended to defray costs of the student's tuition, books, room, or board.
The funds are administered by the winning student's department.

When is the grant awarded?

Recipient(s) are selected from among the nominees by a committee comprised of members of the Plains Anthropological Society.

Recipient(s) are announced at the business meeting and banquet of the Plains Conference. An announcement is also published in the Plains Anthropologist.

Nominees are encouraged to attend the conference,but need not be present to receive the award. Recipient(s) and his/her departments will be notified of the award following the conference.