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Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation announces winners of Second Annual Young Native Writers' essay contest

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WASHINGTON - The Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce the five winners of the firm's second annual Young Native Writers' Essay Contest. The writing contest focuses on the richness of Native American life and history.

The contest, which encourages young Native American writers to explore their heritage in order to become positive forces in their communities, was expanded this year to include high school students from all tribes throughout the United States. This year the project partnered with the National Museum of the American Indian after receiving a strong endorsement last year from its school program manager, Genevieve Simermeyer (Osage).

''We were pleased to give all Native American high school students throughout the United States the opportunity to participate in the contest this year,'' said Angela Ruth, executive director of Holland & Knight's Charitable Foundation. ''It is our hope that the contest offers the writers a sense of pride for their rich heritage.''

The five high school student winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where their activities will include an honor ceremony and educational program at the National Museum of the American Indian, touring the Capitol and American University, visiting the National Zoo and meeting with students from WINS (Washington Internships for Native Students). The winners, accompanied by the teachers who inspired their entries, also will receive a scholarship ranging from $1,000-$5,000 to be paid to the college or university of their choice during a scholarship ceremony taking place at Holland & Knight's office in Washington, D.C.

The contest debuted last year in Red Lake, Minn. in response to the March 2005 event where a student at Red Lake High School shot five of his fellow students, a teacher, a security guard, members of his family and then himself. The foundation set up the contest with the hope that the Red Lake community would find healing by promoting its rich culture and traditions.

''I am pleased that Holland & Knight is encouraging American Indian youngsters to share their thoughts and perspectives,'' said Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell, a former U.S. Senator and currently a senior policy advisor with Holland & Knight. ''Indian people have made great strides in recent years, but there is still much to overcome. The voices of our youth give us the perspective of tomorrow's leaders, allowing today's leaders the opportunity to look at these issues through fresh eyes.''

Holland & Knight is pleased to announce that the five winners for 2007 are:

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Natalie Carpenter - Kanuk tribe in Hoopa, California

Fairuz Dakam - Oglala Lakota tribe in Kyle, South Dakota

Sandra Menadelook - Alaskan Inupiaq Eskimo from Teller, Alaska

Bridgette Mesa - Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Tucson from Camas, Washington

Kai Monture - Tlingit tribe in Yakutat, Alaska

About Holland & Knight LLP: Holland & Knight is a global law firm with more than 1,150 lawyers in 17 U.S. offices. Other offices around the world are located in Beijing, Tokyo and Mexico City, with representative offices in Caracas, Helsinki and Tel Aviv. Holland & Knight is among the world's 15 largest firms, providing representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law. Our interdisciplinary practice groups and industry-based teams ensure clients have access to attorneys throughout the firm, regardless of location.