These are the 2011 winners of the Holland & Knight Young Native Writers Essay Contest. Pictured, from left, are Hunter Harmon, Nanticoke; Trevin Cole, Choctaw; Merk Robbins, Yurok; Harry Boling, Comanche; Neyom “Taigi” Osceola, Seminole; Alana Stone, Sicangu Lakota /Navajo; Talon Ducheneaux, Cheyenne River Sioux/Crow Creek Sioux; and Chance Carpenter, Hupa; shown with special guest Ed Edmo, Shoshone/Bannock/Nez Perce; and Kevin Gover, Pawnee, director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Essay Writers Asked to Tackle Crucial Issues


This year, for the seventh annual Young Native Writers Essay Contest, Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation is asking participants to write about crucial issues facing their tribal communities. But the task doesn’t stop there. Students are also being asked to explain how they hope to help tackle that crucial issue to improve their community’s future.

This direction for the essays was also used in the 2011 contest and had Native American students tackling issues like the importance of education, clean water, putting an end to alcoholism and substance abuse, preserving culture, unemployment and curriculum in schools.

“The contest is designed to encourage young Native American writers to explore their heritage while becoming positive forces in their communities,” reads a release from Holland & Knight, the law firm that sponsors the contest with the National Museum of the American Indian.

The contest is open to Native American high school students from all tribal communities in the United States.

“Indian youngsters have learned, better than any generation before them, how to ‘walk in two worlds,’” said Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a former U.S. Senator and current senior policy advisor with Holland & Knight. “Many have mastered the tools of the technological age while preserving the traditions vital to their culture. I am pleased that Holland & Knight and the National Museum of the American Indian have continued their partnership in providing a forum for these talented and thoughtful young people to offer their perspectives on issues of importance to all in Indian Country.”

Interested students can visit the contest website for rules and instructions on submitting essays. All essays must be submitted electronically by April 30, 2012.

Five finalists will be announced in June and those finalists will attend Scholar Week from July 8 to 14 in Washington, D.C., and receive a $2,500 scholarship for college.

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