First Nations Invests in Next Generation of Native Food and Agriculture Leaders

LONGMONT, Colorado (December 7, 2023) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced the awarding of 40 Native Agriculture & Food Systems Scholarships. The scholarships, which range from $1,000 to $1,500 each, are designed to encourage more Native American college students to enter agriculture fields.

Recipients of the 2023-2024 scholarships were chosen for their commitment to excellence in their academic studies, and represent a bright future for communities working to advance Native food sovereignty. First Nations asserts that this investment in the future of 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 40 2023 scholarship recipients and their schools and areas of study are:

  • Agnes Hudson (Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation) Heritage University, Natural Resources, Science Teacher
  • Arielle Quintana (Pueblo of Cochiti, New Mexico) Colorado State University, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources
  • Bailey Nez (Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah) Lawrence University, Environmental Science, Geoscience, Ethnic Studies
  • Bryceson Tugade (Native Hawaiian)  University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu, Sustainable Community Food Systems
  • Caleb Williams (Sokaogon Chippewa Community) Montana State University, Native American Studies
  • Cameron Macias (Lower Elwha Tribal Community) Idaho State University, Natural Resources/Fish and Wildlife Sciences
  • Carly Collins (Cherokee Nation) Cowley County Community College, Agriculture Education, Agriculture Livestock Nutrition
  • Celina Hall (Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin) Kansas State University, Environmental Studies, Indigenous Studies
  • Ciara Benally (Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah) Arizona State University, Biosystems Engineering
  • Cristina Weske (Cherokee Nation) University of Minnesota – Duluth, Tribal Natural Resource Management and Sustainability
  • Cynthia Wilson (Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah) University of California, Berkeley, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, Food Sovereignty
  • Darren Olney (Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation) ITEP: Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, Environmental Science, Restoration Ecology
  • Donna Kuehu (Native Hawaiian) University of Hawaii at Manoa, Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering, Data Science
  • Emiliano McLane (Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada) New Mexico State University, Agricultural and Extension Education, Agricultural Strategic Communications
  • Emily RunningHawk (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe of North & South Dakota) United Tribes Technical College, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems
  • Ethan Romero (Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico) Central New Mexico Community College, Environmental Studies
  • Fabian Cantu (Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation) Salish Kootenai College, Natural Resources, Park Ranger
  • Faith Wells (Cold Lake First Nations) SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, Environmental Education & Interpretation, Geoscience
  • Hai-Wee Fredericks (Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, formerly Death Valley Timbi-Sha Shoshone Tribe) University of California, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, Native American Studies
  • Hannah Corbett (Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians) Grand Canyon University, Masters in Public Health,
  • Harleigh Moore (The Osage Nation) Oklahoma State University, Food Science
  • Jana Stewart (Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah) Dine College, Agroecology/Environmental Science (A.A.), Public Health (A.S.)
  • Jonathan Romero (Pueblo of Jemez, New Mexico) West Texas A&M University, Agriculture
  • Kristi Olney (Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation) Salish Kootenai College, Natural Resource Management
  • Kristy Kinlicheenie (Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah) Texas Tech University, E.D.D Agricultural Education
  • Lance Owyhee (Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Reservation, Nevada) University of Nevada Reno, Forest Ecology/ Management, Wildlife Ecology/ Conservation and Indigenous Studies
  • Laticia McNaughton (Six Nations of the Grand River Mohawk) University at Buffalo, Native American Studies,
  • Lelahneigh Mitchell (Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah) Dine College, Environmental Science
  • Megan Baker (Ponca Tribe of Nebraska) University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Environmental Studies, Political Science
  • Oscar White (Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah) New Mexico Highlands University, Public Health
  • Peter Thais (Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe) Cornell University, Biological Engineering, Ecological and Microbial Systems
  • Phillip PrairieChief (Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Oklahoma) University of Oklahoma, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry
  • Roberto Pacheco (Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin) Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University, Biology, Ojibwe Language
  • Sage Walstrom (Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah) Fort Lewis College, Environmental Conservation and Management, Regenerative Food Systems certification
  • Samantha Werk (Fort Belknap Indian Community of the Fort Belknap Reservation of Montana) Colorado State University, Agriculture Sciences
  • Spencer Busick (The Chickasaw Nation) Western Colorado University, Rural Community Health
  • Tierra Iron Shirt (Blackfeet Tribe of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation of Montana) Blackfeet Community College, Health Science, Agriculture minor
  • Tynya Kee (Navajo Nation, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah) ITEP: Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, Forestry, Sustainable Communities
  • William “Riley” Logsdon (Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Oklahoma) Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Agribusiness, Entrepreneurship
  • Yusn Moore Stanger (Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation) Northwest Indian College, Native Environmental Science, Food System Science

The Native Agriculture & Food Systems Scholarship program began in 2014. For more information about the scholarship and previous recipients can be found here.

About First Nations Development Institute

For 43 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