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News Release

American Indian College Fund

The American Indian College Fund has promoted Emily R. White Hat, J.D. to the position of Vice President, Programs. In her role as Vice President White Hat will support tribal colleges and universities to develop and implement projects and assists in capacity building to strengthen educational opportunities for Native students.

White Hat, who is a citizen of the Sicangu Lakota from the Aske Gluwipi Tiospaye and whose Lakota name is Nape Waste Win or "Good Hand Woman,” was born in Rosebud and grew up in St. Francis, South Dakota.

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White Hat’s experience as a former firefighter, emergency medical technician, policy researcher, evaluator, and legal background have been vital to her work in program development and implementation, strategic planning, national outreach, qualitative research, writing, curriculum implementation, and evaluation with tribal nations and colleges using a capacity-building approach. She earned a J.D. and natural resources law certificate from the University of New Mexico School of Law. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in forestry with a concentration in fire science and a minor in rangeland ecology from Colorado State University, and an associate of arts degree in Lakota history and culture from Sinte Gleska University, a tribal university located on her home reservation.

In 2015, Emily was recognized by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development as one of the “Native American 40 Under 40” award recipients. Emily currently serves as a board member for the Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation in Porcupine, South Dakota, a Lakota organization focused on creating systemic change through regenerative community development.

About the American Indian College Fund

Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer" and provided 5,896 scholarships last year totaling $7.65 million to American Indian students, with more than 131,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $200 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. 

For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit