Oglala Lakota Student Interns at U.S. Census Bureau

An Oglala Lakota Native American student interning with the U.S. Census Bureau wants to advocate for Indian country and help her people.

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!”