U.S. Senator Tim Johnson with Sierra Two Bulls, an Oglala Lakota (Sioux) member who is interning at the U.S. Census Bureau this summer as part of the Washington Internship for Native Students program.

Oglala Lakota Student Interns at U.S. Census Bureau

Gale Courey Toensing

Sierra M. Two Bulls, a junior at Haskell Indian Nations University, is wrapping up an eight-week internship in the Washington Internship for Native Students (WINS), a program that offers students of sovereign American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian nations the opportunity to build leadership skills while living, studying, and interning in Washington, D.C. Students are given full scholarships by American University and sponsoring organizations.

Two Bulls, 21, is interning at the U.S. Census Bureau in the Human Capital & Decennial Field Staff Branch of the Human Resources Division, working with American Indian and Alaska Native statistics and research.

“I am looking forward to any experience that will help me shape my future goals and perspectives. So far, I have encountered diversity, effectiveness, an all-around networking and so much more within the Census Bureau,” Two Bulls said. At night she attends two courses for credit in public policy at American University–an internship class and a course called Native Nations, The Global Economy & the Future of America.

At Haskell, Two Bulls is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in indigenous and American Indian studies. “I’m a self-driven, family and goal-oriented person who enjoys practicing my culture and the desire to learn,” she said. She was in the Math & Science Initiative Program (MSIP) at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, South Dakota from 2004 to 2008. In 2008, she graduated with honors from Red Cloud High School at Pine Ridge and then graduated with honors earning an Associates of Applied Science degree in criminal justice from United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Two Bulls is enrolled in the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Tribe from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and is literate in the Lakota language. Her Lakota name is Oyáte Wawókiya Wín, which means, “Woman Who Helps Her People.” And that’s exactly what she intends to do.

“I want to be an advocate for Indian country. I’m still trying to find my career choice–social work or something pertaining to law. I’m even looking at the military. Whatever I do, I want to do it for my people,” she said. But for the moment, Two Bulls, a jingle dancer since age 5, is looking forward to going home. “Powwow is just around the corner!”

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taylorpayer's picture
Submitted by taylorpayer on
Boozhoo Gale, My name is Taylor Payer and I am writing to you from the Quest Scholars office in Palo Alto, CA where I am interning this summer. My work involves recruiting Native American students to the program and to encourage applying to college and scholarships in general. As a member of the Turtle Mountain Anishinaabe tribe in North Dakota and as a Quest Scholar, I am personally invested in the Quest Scholars program and their ability to connect low-income students with some of the top schools in the country. Through the Questbridge National College Match program, I was able to attend Dartmouth College with a great financial aid package and other resources advantageous to my educational success. As a rising sophomore at Dartmouth I plan to double major in Native American Studies and Women and Genders Studies and am thankful to be a very involved member of the large Native American community. All of this being said to let you know how valuable the Quest Scholars program is to me, and hopefully by the end of my internship, hundreds of other low-income and college-bound Native students across the country. Because of my personal experiences with the Quest scholarship program and as a strong advocate of education for Native students, I believe Quest can become a huge resource and opportunity to Indian Country similar to popular programs like the Gates Millenium Scholarship and College Horizons. With the support of the rest of the Quest recruitment team, I would like to explore the possbility of engaging in a partnership with Indian Country Today. My collegue, Taylor Altman, informs me that you have written Questbridge-related articles in the past for Indian Country today. I write to you to inquire about possible interest in a Questbridge/Indian Country Today relationship. My specific idea was to use the 'student spotlight' series under the 'Education' section to feature a Native American Quest Scholar. If there is interest in this idea, I would like to suggest myself as the first Native Quest Scholar student 'spotlighted' in Indian Country Today. Please email me at Taylor.Payer@gmail.com Miigwech, Taylor