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Posted: 4/9/2012

The Udall Foundation is pleased to announce that 12 students from 12 tribes and 12 universities have been selected as 2012 Native American Congressional Interns. They were selected by an independent review committee of nationally recognized Native educators and tribal policy leaders on the basis of academic achievement and a demonstrated commitment to careers in tribal public policy.

This highly regarded internship program is intended to provide American Indians and Alaska Natives with an insider's view of the federal government. The internship is located in Washington, D.C., and is known for placing students in extremely competitive internship positions in Senate and House offices, committees, Cabinet departments, and the White House, where they are able to observe government decision-making processes firsthand.

The Udall Foundation awards approximately 12 internships every summer on the basis of merit to American Indians and Alaska Natives who are college juniors or seniors, recent graduates from tribal or four-year colleges, or graduate or law students who have demonstrated an interest in fields related to tribal public policy, such as criminal justice, cultural preservation and revitalization, education, economic development, health, law, natural resources protection, and tribal governance.

The 12 new Udall Interns will complete an intensive, 10-week internship in the summer of 2012. Special enrichment activities will provide opportunities to meet with key decision makers. From 1996 through 2012, 198 American Indian and Alaska Native students from 104 tribes will have participated in the program.

The 2012 Native American Congressional Internship class includes

  • Adeline Aranaydo, Tohono O’odham Nation, interning in the office of U.S. House Representative Raúl M. Grijalva;

  • Bree Blackhorse, Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, interning with the U.S. Department of Justice in the Office of Tribal Justice;

  • Mary C. Bodine, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, interning at The White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ);

  • Travis G. Clark, Osage Nation, interning with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, in the Office of the Solicitor;

  • Aja Conrad, Karuk Tribe of California, interning in the office of U.S. Senator Mark Udall;

  • Helena Cross, Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation, interning in the office of U.S. Senator Tim Johnson;

  • Maria Givens, Coeur D’Alene Tribe, interning in the office of U.S. Senator Tom Udall;

  • Jacqueline Keliiaa, Yerington Paiute Tribe, interning with the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of Indian Education;

  • Mary Matilda Lindeblad-Fry, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, interning with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, in the Office of the Assistant Secretary;

  • Travis Lovett, The Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama, interning with the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Majority Office;

  • Letitia M. Stover, Navajo Nation, interning in the office of U.S. Senator John McCain; and

  • Aurora Trujillo, Taos Pueblo Tribe, interning in the office of U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman.

About the Udall Foundation

The Udall Foundation is an independent federal agency that was established by Congress in 1992 to provide federally funded scholarships for college students intending to pursue careers related to the environment, as well as to American Indian students pursuing tribal public policy or health care careers. In 1998, the Foundation grew to include the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, created by Congress as the federal government’s only program focused entirely on resolving federal environmental disputes. The Foundation also cofounded the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, which is a self-determination, development, and self-governance resource to Indigenous peoples.

For additional information, please contact Jane Curlin at 520-901-8565 or


Adeline Aranaydo is Tohono O’odham, Akimel O’odham, Muscogee-Creek and Filipina from Oakland and an enrolled tribal member of the Tohono O’odham Nation. Aranaydo graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in Native American studies and ethnic studies. She is currently a graduate student in the Department of Social Welfare at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her professional interest is in assisting tribal programs to expand and serve Native children and families through policy development and coordination with state and federal entities. She has worked with Native women and children, supporting their goals in economic self-sufficiency as well as educational achievements.

Bree Blackhorse is an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and is currently a second year law student at Seattle University. Blackhorse is the 2010 Seattle University Native American Law Scholar. She is a cofounder, as well as the incoming Editor in Chief, of the American Indian Law Journal. Additionally, she is the President of the Native American Law Student Association. Blackhorse is also a traditional powwow dancer, a Native ledger artist and contemporary painter, and enjoys hiking and glacier climbing mountains such as Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier in her free time.

Mary C. Bodine is a Wasco Warm Springs from Portland, Ore., currently seeking her law degree in environmental law and Indian law at Lewis and Clark Law School. She graduated from Lewis and Clark with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and was accepted to law school at the age of 20. She would like to work with Indian tribes in the fields of energy and environmental law, helping to ensure that tribal interests are served. She is involved in her community through dance and participation in the Northstar Painted Sky Dance Company in Portland, Ore.

Travis G. Clark is a member of the Osage and Cherokee Nations and hails from Claremore, Okla. Clark is currently pursuing a law degree at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minn. Having worked as a paramedic for several years prior to entering law school, he hopes to use his background in medicine, as well as his law degree, to help develop effective Native American health care policies. Clark belongs to the Pawhuska district and participates every year in the Osage Nation’s In-Lon-Schka Dances. He also dances Southern Straight in powwows throughout Oklahoma.

Aja Conrad is a member of the Karuk Tribe of California and comes from Somes Bar, a unique town in the northern California wilderness. She is currently pursuing degrees in both Native American studies and society and environment at the University of California, Berkeley. Upon graduating, she hopes to pursue her passion in helping youth stay on a positive path for success and explore her interests in working with environmental issues that are affecting tribal communities.

Helena Cross is a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nations of Fort Berthold Reservation, N.D. She will receive her bachelor’s degree in psychology in June 2013 from Stanford University. As a National Institutes of Health Scholar and participant in Harvard Medical School’s Four Directions Summer Research Program for Native pre-med/pre-health students, she has focused her interest in public and global health policy. Rampant oil development on her home reservation has made her especially interested in developing new energy and environmental initiatives that will better manage development’s risks and costs to the health status of tribal communities.

Maria Givens is Coeur d’Alene from northern Idaho. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington (UW) in both political science and American Indian studies. Givens is very concerned with the environment, especially cleanup of tribal lands and possible effects of climate change on reservations. She is actively involved in First Nations at UW, the Native American student group on campus. She enjoys playing basketball and traveling.

Jacqueline Keliiaa is Yerington Paiute and Washoe from the San Francisco Bay Area. Keliiaa is currently pursuing a master’s degree in urban planning, with a concentration in community and economic development, at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Her master’s thesis is centered on economic development in Indian country, and she is conducting her research with the Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada. At a young age, her mother instilled in her the value of higher education, and she continues to make her family and tribal communities proud with her accomplishments.

Mary Matilda Lindeblad-Fry is a member of the Colville Confederated Tribes in Eastern Washington State. She is from the Sinixt or Arrow Lakes Band, originally from British Columbia. Lindeblad-Fry is currently completing her degree in sociology at Reed College in Portland, Ore., and expects to graduate in 2013. In starting the Native American student group at Reed College this year, she hopes to provide a strong network of support for Native students. Her internship at the Colville Confederated Tribe Summer Youth Program inspired her to continue the goal of increasing educational opportunities for all tribal youth.

Travis Lovett is a Cherokee Indian from Atlanta, Ga. Lovett has continued to maintain his heritage by traveling all over Indian country competing in powwows and has earned the title of “World Champion Fancy Dancer.” Upon graduating high school, he received a wrestling scholarship to the University of the Cumberlands, where he went on to be an Academic All-American and graduated cum laude in biology. He is currently attending law school at Arizona State University (ASU) with a Dean’s Recruitment Scholarship and the Kevin Kane Memorial Book Scholarship. At ASU, he is active in the Indian Legal Program and the Native American Law Students’ Association.

Letitia M. Stover is Diné from the Navajo Mountain/Inscription House/Shonto area of the Navajo Nation. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona in secondary education and taught on two Indian reservations for five years before returning to school. Stover is currently seeking a law degree at the University of South Dakota School of Law with a specific interest in Indian law. Upon graduation, she hopes to continue working with Indian communities. She enjoys spending time with her husband Tim and their two daughters and learning more about her language and culture with her grandparents and mother.

Aurora Trujillo, of Taos Pueblo, N.M., will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in public health from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She plans to continue her education with a master’s degree in public health policy. A varsity athlete, Trujillo wants to improve the health of American Indians through prevention with physical activity and nutrition, along with integrating traditional living. She strongly believes improved health will strengthen native culture and communities, create opportunity, and empower youth. She is also interested in environmental and social issues affecting community health.

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