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Personalized License Plates, NDN-Style

Native American student makes a statement with a personalized license plate.
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Julianne Jennings, Cheroenhaka Nottoway, moved from Rhode Island to Arizona to study anthropology with a focus on Native Americans at Arizona State University.

But her transition was made difficult by border patrol, who she said stopped her nearly everyday because she looked “suspicious.”

Jennings got fed up and decided to order the university’s license plate with Sparky the Sun Devil, the schools mascot, which helped identified her as a college student and local. But she didn’t just get a plain university license plate.

“I took it a step further to let border patrol know I wasn’t going out without a fight,” she said.

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Now her license plate is a testament to staggering statistics and her ambition to get ahead. According to 2008-09 statistics from the U.S. Department of Education, of all the doctoral degrees awarded that year, only 0.5 percent of them went to Native Americans.

“My license plate reflects my struggle and persistence in wanting to earn an advanced degree and that this Indian has arrived,” Jennings said.

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