Yale University junior Katherine N. McCleary is one of 10 students from eight tribes and nine universities selected by the Udall Foundation as 2017 Native American Congressional Interns.
McCleary, who is Little Shell Chippewa-Cree, and the other interns were chosen by an independent review committee based on their academic achievements and a demonstrated commitment to careers in tribal public policy.
The interns will complete a nine-week internship during the summer of 2017 in Washington, D.C. McCleary, who grew up on the Crow Reservation in Montana, will intern in Senator Jon Tester’s office. The interns will also be given the opportunity to meet with key decision-makers in the nation’s capital.
McCleary’s Apsáalooke (Crow) name is Baaapáaliksshitchish. She is part of the Ashikaamne clan and child of the Ashshitchite clan. Her studies focus on the historical intersection of sex, gender, and race in healthcare during the early Crow reservation period.
She is involved with the Yale Native American Cultural Center, and works to create a welcoming space for Native students and to educate the Yale community about Native American culture and law. After graduation she wants to attend law school and advocate for health and education policies that have a positive impact on Native American communities.
The Native American Congressional Internship Program gives Native American and Alaska Native students the chance to gain practical experience with the federal legislative process so they can better understand the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the federal government. The internship is funded by the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, which was founded in 2001 by the Udall Foundation and the University of Arizona to serve as a self-determination, governance, and development resource for Native Nations. Since 1996, 255 Native American students from 117 tribes have participated in the internship program—seven of those interns have been students at Yale University.
Established by Congress in 1992, the Udall Foundation is an independent executive branch meant to honor former Arizona Congressman Morris K. Udall’s lasting impact on the nation’s environment, public lands, and natural resources, as well as his support of the rights and self-governance of Native Americans and Alaska Natives. His brother, Stewart Udall, was added to the Udall Foundation by an act of Congress in 2009.
To see a full list of this year’s interns, visit the Udall Foundation website.