Through its Scholarship Committee Sealaska Heritage Institute has chosen a Native education advocate as the recipient of its annual Judson L. Brown Leadership Award.
Jordan Craddick, a graduate student working toward his doctorate in history from the University of Washington, plans on becoming a teacher and is passionate about changing educational systems that continue to portray Native American people as relics from the past, he wrote in an essay submitted to Sealaska Heritage Institute.
“For the entirety of the time I’ve been in graduate school I have pushed back against this flawed historiography, and I will continue to do so as a teacher,” Craddick wrote. “I want to see more Native students earning degrees and more Native professors teaching.”
Craddick graduated from Skagway High School, earned his bachelor’s in history from the University of Alaska Anchorage and his master’s in northern studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He has also taken on leadership roles in the Native Organization of Indigenous Scholars at the University of Washington, serving as co-president and as a senator of the group, which promotes the academic efforts of indigenous students and fosters a sense of community for them as they adjust to university life.
The $5,000 is awarded to students who have demonstrated academic achievement and leadership skills, said Sealaska Heritage Institute President Rosita Worl, pointing out that it is only awarded once a year.
“Our younger generation is changing the world for the better, and Jordan is an example of that. He understands our history, he sees the injustices that still occur and he is on a mission to make our schools work for our Native students,” Worl said. “We are honored to support his journey.”
The scholarship comes from an endowment established in 2006 through a $100,000 donation from Chris and Mary McNeil. It was named for Chris McNeil’s uncle, the late Tlingit leader Judson Lawrence Brown, who was an advocate for education and leadership development.