Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has awarded approximately $447,000 in scholarships to Sealaska shareholders and descendants and given a leadership award from a separate endowment to a student pursuing her master’s degree.
The awards, funded mostly by Sealaska Corporation, will help students pursuing graduate and undergraduate degrees and vo-tech training for the 2011-2012 school year. A portion also will fund heritage studies, language studies and culture camps. SHI President Rosita Worl said the scholarships for university and voc-tech studies went to 356 Alaska Natives.
“These awards are based on merit and class standing,” Worl stated in a release. “So, it’s an accomplishment just to receive a Sealaska scholarship, and our recipients should be very proud of themselves.”
SHI also made the second Judson L. Brown Leadership Award from an endowment established in 2006 by a $100,000 donation from Chris and Mary McNeil. That award of $5,000 was given to Helen Dianne Dangel, who is pursuing a master’s degree in psychology at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling.
“There is a need for Native leadership in the mental health community,” Dangel said. “I believe that there is a role for culture to help in healing. I know from experience that being strong in your culture makes you proud, and it can help to heal the many issues the Native community has.”
The award was named after Chris McNeil’s uncle, the late Tlingit leader Judson Lawrence Brown, who was a forceful advocate for education and leadership development. McNeil is also president and chief executive officer of Sealaska Corp.
“I think my uncle would be very proud of Helen and her vision to serve Native people with her life’s work,” he said. “She is the kind of Native leader Mary and I had hoped to support with our endowment.”