U of M student wins prestigious Udall Native American Congressional Internship

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MINNEAPOLIS – Philip Brodeen, a student in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota, has been awarded a 2009 Morris K. Udall Native American Congressional Internship. He is one of 13 students nationwide to be chosen for this fully supported, highly competitive internship.

Brodeen, a native of Tower, Minn., is an Ojibwe from the Bois Forte Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in northeastern Minnesota. He is currently a senior at the University of Minnesota and will graduate in May with Bachelor’s in sociology and American Indian studies. After graduation Brodeen plans on continuing his education at the University of Minnesota Law School, where he will focus on Indian legal issues and hopes one day to represent tribal governments in negotiations and litigations. He is interested in upholding tribal sovereignty, developing successful tribal economies, and promoting cultural revitalization programs.

The 13 Udall interns will complete an intensive, 10-week internship, working full-time in congressional offices or federal agencies and observing the federal legislative process first-hand. Brodeen will intern with Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin of South Dakota. “I’m excited to work for her,” he said. “Native Americans look to Representative Sandlin for leadership on their issues. She’s someone they go to get their voices heard in politics.”

Thinking about his experience in Washington, D.C., Brodeen said, “I hope to gain knowledge about how legislation can be used to further Native American interests, and how we can use law and the legislature to our advantage.”

Since its inception in 1996, 162 Native American/Alaska Native students from 98 tribes have participated in the program. Internship recipients were selected by an independent review committee of nationally recognized Native American educators and tribal policy leaders on the basis of demonstrated commitment to careers in tribal policy and academic achievement.

This highly regarded internship program is intended to provide Native Americans and Alaska Natives with an insider’s view of the federal government. The internship is located in Washington, D.C., and is known for placing Native students in competitive positions in Senate and House offices, committees, Cabinet departments and the White House, where they are able to observe government decision-making processes first-hand.

The Morris K. Udall Foundation was authorized by Congress in 1992 to honor Congressman Udall’s legacy of public service. Udall served in the United States House of Representatives for three decades. He championed the rights of Native Americans and Alaska Natives, using his leadership in Congress to strengthen tribal self-governance and national environmental policy.