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Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Dartmouth junior Joshua Proper is among the 80 national winners of the 2009 Morris K. Udall Scholarships. Proper, a double major in Native American Studies and Environmental Studies, is a member of the Native Village of Chitina in Alaska.
Udall scholarships are awarded to students who have demonstrated commitment to careers related to the environment, or to Native American and Alaska Native students who have demonstrated commitment to careers related to tribal public policy or Native health care.
At Dartmouth, Proper has studied the current development of Alaska Native Lands. After graduation, he plans to attend law school. His long-term goals involve working with Alaska Native communities to define their relationship with the state and federal government, and helping these communities determine the importance and direction of the development of their lands.
Proper says that his time at Dartmouth has given him insight into the current state of Native communities throughout the United States. “Dartmouth has allowed me to see what is happening throughout Indian country,” he says. “I have been able to talk with other Native students and professors about their environments and communities, and the knowledge that I am gaining at Dartmouth will equip me with the skills that I need to go back to my community and make a difference."
As the Social Chair for Native Americans at Dartmouth, Proper organized a cultural event at the Upper Valley Haven’s after-school program that introduced local youth to Native dancing, drumming, and food and dispelled stereotypes about Native people. During the past three summers he has conducted research for the National Institute of Health at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he has also mentored Native high school students in a statewide summer program. “These students all had a desire to pursue higher education and many of them wanted to go back to help their communities,” says Proper. “Underlying these ambitious students were fears and worries that they were not good enough. These were some of the brightest kids in all of Alaska, and the future for our people. I began working with them to help them realize their potential. We need more Native leaders who will encourage and support our children.”
In addition to receiving the $5,000 scholarship, Proper and the 79 other Udall scholars will convene in Tucson, Arizona this summer for a four-day orientation to meet with other Scholars, elected officials, environmental, and tribal leaders. “I am really excited about attending the Udall orientation in Arizona this summer,” he says. “This is an opportunity to see the future of tribal public policy and environmentalism in our country. I think that it will be inspiring to see how our generation envisions the future.”
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