Essay Winner Tackles Alcoholism and Represents his Tribe in Washington

A Choctaw Nation Native American student wrote an award-winning essay on alcoholism and how it has affected his tribe, winning him the chance to represent his tribe in Washington, D.C.

Trevin Cole was one of eight Native American students to win the 2011 Young Native Writers Essay Contest, and the only Choctaw Nation student to do so.

His essay, titled “When the Bottle Will Be Behind Us,” about alcoholism plaguing his people.

“Alcoholism has marred the strength, the beauty, the dignity, and the great pride of Native America; it has ruined us in our own eyes, but even more so in the eyes of world where they have labeled us with a harsh broad stereotype,” he wrote in his essay.

Cole offers a number of solutions to the prevalent problem of alcoholism including bringing programs about alcohol in to schools and better funding rehab centers. He says “while children and teens are taught to not continue the tradition, the parents are helped to stop the problem with themselves.”

Cole represented his nation during a recent trip to Washington, D.C., which he won as part of the contest. While there he spoke at the Smithsonian Institute in front of a number of various political figures including members of Congress.

Cole also won a $2,500 scholarship that will go toward his education. He is currently studying for his bachelor’s degree at East Central University and plans on attending Harvard Law in the future.

According to a nation press release, Cole’s parents are Travis and Katherine Cole, his grandparents are Johnny D. and Debbie Ward and Shirley Cole, and his great-grandparents are the late Nell Prince and J.C. Ward, Doc and Pat Ingram.

Are you a Native American student? Do you want to write an essay about a problem your tribe faces? Find out more about the Young Native Writers Essay Contest sponsored by Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation here. The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2012. Visit the contest website for rules and instructions.

To read all the essays from the 2011 winners, visit the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation website.