First Nations Awards Scholarships to 25 Students to Advance Native Food Sovereignty

Two additional students named First Nations Policy Scholars

LONGMONT, Colorado (February 26, 2021) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced the awarding of 25 GATHER Native Agriculture & Food Systems Scholarships designed to encourage more Native American college students to enter agriculture fields so that they can better assist their communities in advancing Native food sovereignty and improving overall health.

First Nations awarded $1,000 to $1,500 scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic school year to Native college students majoring in agriculture and agriculture-related fields.

A-dae Romero-Briones, First Nations’ Director of Programs, Native Agriculture & Food Systems, said the 2020 scholarship recipients demonstrate a commitment to helping their communities reclaim local food system control, and represent a variety of studies, from agricultural business to veterinary medicine. “The breadth and scope of study of this year’s applicants is an indicator of how broad the field is and how many important components are involved in securing food sovereignty,” she said.

Romero-Briones also said the large number of quality applications received is a positive sign, especially in light of the year’s pandemic. “There were so many great applications – it was a difficult decision. We know all these students will go on to do great things to ensure the long-lasting health and economic well-being of their communities. Further, these are students who, despite COVID-19, show no signs of slowing down and are moving forward toward careers in improving Native food systems.”

First Nations asserts Native food-system control has the potential to increase food production, improve health and nutrition, and eliminate food insecurity in rural and reservation-based communities, while also promoting entrepreneurship and economic development.

The 2020 scholarship recipients are:

  • Jared Begay (Navajo) Northern Arizona University, Forestry
  • Marquel Begay (Navajo) University of Arizona, Ecology, Management and Restoration of Rangeland, American Indian Studies
  • Jonathan Credo (Navajo) Arizona State University, Clinical Translational Sciences
  • Shelby Crum (Cherokee) University of Oklahoma, Master of Public Health
  • Anthony Delmedico (Cherokee) Northeastern State University, Integrative Biology, Fish and Wildlife
  • Susan Doty (Muscogee [Creek] Nation) College of Muscogee Nation, General Studies
  • Echo Ecoffey (Oglala Sioux) Central Wyoming College, Equine Science, Pre-Veterinary Medicine
  • Mariah Gladstone (Blackfeet) SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, Environmental Science
  • Christopher Gomez (Ysleta Pueblo) New Mexico State University, Horticulture, Animal Science
  • Greta Gustafson (Three Affiliated Tribes) Montana State University, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
  • Daniel Hayden (Comanche) University of Wisconsin, Plant Pathology
  • Lilian Hill (Quechan Tribe of Fort Yuma) Northern Arizona University, Sustainable Communities, Community Food Systems
  • Foster Cournoyer Hogan (Rosebud Sioux) Stanford University, Native American Studies, Education
  • Brennen Jones (Navajo) Arizona State University, Veterinary Science, Natural Resources
  • Aldwin Keo (Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs) Idaho State University, Fishery Resources
  • Jayden Lim (Pinoleville Pomo) Stanford University, History, Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity
  • Cameron Macias (Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Community) Idaho State University, Natural Resources/Fish and Wildlife Sciences
  • Emiliano McLane (Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone) Idaho State University, Agricultural Science, Agricultural Business
  • Arena Plenty (Crow) Montana State University, Ranching Systems
  • Yasmine Quiroz (Gila River) Arizona State, Agribusiness Management, Business Administration
  • Percy Sharp (Muscogee [Creek] Nation) College of Muscogee Nation, Natural Resources
  • Raina Stokes (Peoria Tribe of Oklahoma) Green River College, Forestry, Water Quality
  • Samara Jackson Tobey (Mashpee Wampanoag) University of Michigan, Anthropology, Native American Studies
  • Adriano Tsinigine (Navajo) Northern Arizona University, Biology, Wildlife Ecology & Management
  • Oscar White (Navajo) Central New Mexico Community College, Biology/Food Sovereignty, Chemistry

Policy Scholars
In addition to the Native Agriculture & Food Systems Scholarships, First Nations also awarded two policy research scholarships for policy work surrounding Native non-profits and philanthropic funding. These students are imperative to advancing research and drawing important attention to the future health and well-being of Native communities.

The two Policy Scholars are:

Thomas Klemm, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, PhD student, University of Michigan, Political Science

Cheryl Ellenwood, Nez Perce, PhD candidate, University of Arizona, Public Administration and Management


About First Nations Development Institute

For 40 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit

Kendall Tallmadge, Senior Program Officer or (303) 774-7836

Amy Jakober, Senior Communications Officer or (303) 774-7836