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Students establish scholarship

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COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – American Indian students at North Idaho College have done something no other group has ever done at the school. They have established a scholarship program to help fund a college education for future students and they continue to add to that fund.

Last fall the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho donated $2,000 to the American Indian Student Alliance. Rather than use it for attending a conference or some other activity, the students decided to establish a scholarship program. During the remainder of the school year they held several functions that earned the club another $2,000. They recently presented a check in that amount to the North Idaho College Foundation which manages all scholarship programs for the college.

“I’m glad the club is doing this, that we’ve created this, not for us but for the people that will be following us,” Antonia Bancroft, Navajo, said. Antonia is a member of AISA. “It amazes me that students realize it’s not benefitting us but future students. I think that’s really cool and that the students realize that.”

Evanlene Melting Tallow, Blackfeet/Blood, is the American Indian student advisor. She said there were 139 students at the school last year who were enrolled descendents and that only 14 percent of them receive funds from their tribes to help with college education. Some of those others do receive some financial aid but many do not.

“The students are the ones who created this and the ones who are backing this. I’m so proud of them.” -Evanlene Melting Tallow

“For financial aid, if you’re younger than 24, you have to include your parents income. If you do that and are middle class the student won’t be able to get a Pell Grant. The only thing they’ll be eligible for is a student loan. What happens is that parents can’t afford tuition and books and so forth so the students have to rely on loans. You see students taking out a lot of loans for community college to be able to attend school.”

A major fundraiser is planned for this fall and golfers in the region should take note. On Oct. 1 there will be a four-person scramble with a shotgun start beginning at 1 p.m. at Circling Raven Golf Club. [www .cdacasino.com/golf.html] The cost is $100 per person which includes golf, golf cart, use of the driving range, and a dinner afterward. There will also be an auction and raffle during the event.

“The Coeur d’Alene Casino and Circling Raven Golf Club are sponsoring this and they’re putting their funds and efforts to help the scholarship,” Evanlene said. “They will keep half the proceeds to help cover their expenses but the other half will be turned over to the American Indian Student Alliance.”

Ryan Carden, Colville, is another club member and avid golfer. “I hope the golf event fills up and becomes a great annual thing and turns out to be very successful. It’s good to see there’s going to be something left behind after I leave to help other students.”

It’s hoped that between golf and the auction the club will receive close to $10,000 which will go into the scholarship fund. If the club can raise $10,000 or more before Feb. 1, 2011 it will receive another $10,000 from the American Indian Education Foundation Challenge Grant. If that should happen the scholarship fund would suddenly jump to about $24,000.

“We applied for the grant with the foundation and have just been awarded that grant,” Evanlene said. “That’s a big goal. We are not putting any money out for the fall of 2010 but in the spring of 2011 we’ll start giving it out in scholarships. Students will be able to apply for the scholarships and we’ll have a committee to make that determination. We want to lessen the amount of money that students take out for student loans. That was their (the club’s) vision.

“The students are the ones who created this and the ones who are backing this. I see that in a lot of Native students. They’re always looking into the future. How can I help today for the generations coming? I’m so proud of them.”

The event is being called the Che’nshish Scholarship Scramble. Che-nshish means assisting or giving to others in the Coeur d’Alene language and was suggested as an appropriate name by Carden.

“Out of respect, a student and myself went to tribal council and asked permission to use the name so we’re going to change the scholarship name at the foundation to that name. The next check we present to the foundation will have that name on it: Che’nshish Student Scholarship,” Evanlene said.

To sign up for the golf event, call Circling Raven at (800) 523-2464.