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Posted: 4/5/2011

Udall Foundation Awards 2011 Native American Congressional Internships

The Udall Foundation is pleased to announce that 12 students from 12 tribes and nine universities have been selected as 2011 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 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 2011. Special enrichment activities will provide opportunities to meet with key decisionmakers.

Since its inception in 1996, 174 American Indian/Alaska Native students from 88 tribes have participated in the program.

The 2011 Native American Congressional Internship class includes

  • Alys Ann Alley, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, interning in the Office of Representative Dale E. Kildee;
  • Sarah Butrum, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, interning for Senator Tim Johnson;
  • Brianna Carrier, Mohawk from the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, interning in the Office of Senator Tom Udall;
  • Mark Cruz, affiliated with the Klamath Tribes, interning at the U.S. Department of Education in the Office of the General Counsel;
  • Tara Houska, Couchiching First Nation, interning at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ);
  • Daniel Knudsen, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, interning for Senator Mark Udall;
  • Michael Mainwold, Onk Akimel O’Odham from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, interning with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor, in the Indian Affairs Division;
  • Rose Nimkiins Petoskey, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, interning at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, in the Office of the Assistant Secretary;
  • Elizabeth Anne Reese, Pueblo of Nambe, interning for Senator Jeff Bingaman;
  • Jacob Schellinger, Stockbridge-Munsee Band of the Mohicans, interning with the U.S. Department of Justice in the Office of Tribal Justice;
  • Farrah Lisa Secody, Navajo Nation, interning for Senator John McCain; and
  • Christopher Sharp, Mohave from the Colorado River Indian Tribes, interning in the Office of Representative Raúl M. Grijalva.

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. The Udall Foundation also offers a doctoral fellowship to those whose dissertation topics are relevant to U.S. national environmental public policy and/or environmental conflict resolution research. 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 operates the Parks in Focus program, connecting underserved youth to nature through photography.

The Udall Foundation was created initially to honor the legacy of the late Morris K. Udall, who represented southern Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years. Stewart L. Udall, who also represented southern Arizona in Congress from 1955 to 1961, was Morris Udall’s older brother. The two brothers were leaders in many policy areas, including natural resources and the environment and Native American issues. They worked together on many initiatives while Stewart Udall was Secretary of the Interior and Morris Udall a member of Congress. In 2009, Congress amended the legislation to honor Stewart Udall and add his name to the Foundation, renaming it the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation.

For additional information about the Udall Foundation, contact Libby Rodke Washburn 651.343.4660 or  For information about the Native American Congressional Internship Program, please visit our website at or contact Chia Halpern at


Alys Ann Alley is an enrolled member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and was raised in Lansing, Mich.  She is currently pursuing a double major in philosophy and American culture from the University of Michigan, and hopes to eventually attend law school.  At the University of Michigan, Alley cochaired the Native American Student Association and founded the Michigan Indian Students Achieving Great Educations program (MI-SAGE) to increase college access for Native students.  She was also appointed regional coordinator for college campuses for the Michigan Democratic Party during the 2010 gubernatorial election cycle.  Her interests include political activism, graves protection, education, and economic development in tribal communities.  In her free time, she enjoys beading, learning Anishinaabemowin, and mentoring children in the Dream Seekers Youth Group at American Indian Health in Detroit.

Sarah Butrum is a tribal member of Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate in South Dakota. In May 2011, she will earn a bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University in psychology with minors in business management and political science. Butrum plans on pursuing a master’s degree in public policy or another related field.  She has been deeply involved with policy on and off her university campus. She would like to pursue future involvement with the development of policies and solutions regarding Native American issues. Since childhood, Butrum has been dancing at powwows and is proud to share her cultural heritage with others. 

Brianna Carrier is Mohawk, Turtle Clan, from Niagara Falls, N.Y., and is a member of the Six Nations reserve in Ontario, Canada. She was brought up the Haudenosaunee Longhouse way and remains rooted in her culture. Carrier expects her bachelor’s degrees in policy studies and geography, with a minor in Native American studies, from Syracuse University in 2012. Her participation in the Washington Internships for Native Students (WINS) program and placement in the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs gave her experience in researching sustainability, climate change, and cultural preservation. Her career interests include working on sovereignty, environmental, and natural resource protection issues in Indian country and also fostering a better understanding between science and public policy.

Mark Cruz is originally from Klamath Falls, Ore., and affiliated with the Klamath Tribes. Cruz is currently a Teach for America corps member, teaching 11th and 12th grade English at St. Francis Indian School in St. Francis, S.D., on the Rosebud Indian Reservation. He graduated from Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., with a BA in political science and a minor in history. He is also a 2006 Gates Millennium Scholar.  Cruz would like to help Native American communities and schools in addressing their educational and social needs by finding ways that federal and state assistance can be most effective, efficient, and beneficial. His future plans include pursuing a master’s degree in social work or education leadership. When not in the classroom, he likes to travel, read, cook, and watch college sports.

Tara Houska is Anishinaabe from Couchiching First Nation in Fort Frances, Ontario.  Born and raised in nearby International Falls, Minn., she earned a BS and BA after majoring in American Indian studies, art history, and biology at the University of Minnesota. She is currently in her second year at the University of Minnesota Law School and is particularly interested in Indigenous intellectual property rights and health care initiatives.

Daniel Knudsen is a Kootenai Indian from Missoula, Mont.  He is currently seeking degrees in public communication from Montana State University in Billings and accounting from the University of Montana in Missoula.  He is seeking to further his education with the study of law and an LLM with the goal of practicing as an attorney specializing in tax law.  He believes education and equality are essential elements to the advancement of all people and actively works to add value to the lives of his community through his involvement with the Missoula Indian Center. Knudsen also works on behalf his community by representing important issues at events, such as The Hope Conference that is held annually to address the issue of child sexual trauma in Indian country.  Knudsen is further dedicated to the preservation of the natural environment and public trust lands for future generations through his work with the U.S. Forest Service’s Northern Region Public and Governmental Relations Department.  He is an avid runner and enjoys cooking and skiing.

Michael Mainwold is part Onk Akimel O’Odham and a member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Scottsdale, Ariz.  He is working towards earning his juris doctorate from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.  Mainwold hopes to use his educational background and experience to produce continued success in the area of economic development for Native American tribes nationwide.  He would like to see this success translate into achievements in other areas, such as the progress of Native nations in the fight against diabetes and improved education standards for Native students.  He continues to serve on his community’s wellness team, and he enjoys playing basketball, softball, and snowboarding in his free time.

Rose Nimkiins Petoskey is Anishinabek and a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians from Peshawbestown, Mich. She is currently pursuing a degree in political theory and constitutional democracy along with a specialization in American Indian studies from Michigan State University. Upon graduation, Petoskey plans to go to law school to study Indigenous law. She would like to pursue a career as a tribal lawyer working for the benefit of sovereign tribal communities. She is most interested in strengthening sovereignty through the incorporation of Indigenous justice practices. Petoskey is very involved in her tribal cultural life and returns home often for community events.  She is a jingle dress dancer and participates in powwows regularly. Petoskey is very committed to the preservation of Anishinabek culture and has been studying the Anishinabek language for two years.

Elizabeth Anne Reese, who is also known as Liz Reese and by  her Tewa name Yunpovi (Willow Flower), is from the Pueblo of Nambe and is a recent graduate from Yale University, where she majored in political science with a concentration in Native American studies. She lives in a traditional adobe home at the upper village of Nambe and participates in religious ceremonies and dances at Nambe. She spent her Yale years reading the Western Canon, and doing work on campus concerning race, religion, dialogue, and community. Reese is confident that her generation will play a significant role in helping their Native nations to more fully function as culturally and politically vibrant sovereign nations in control of their future, and she is deeply committed to that work. She is a photographer, film director, and writer who makes traditional jewelry and Pueblo clothing. She loves to watch movies and bake oven bread with her grandparents.

Jacob Schellinger is a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee band of the Mohicans in northern Wisconsin.  He is a graduate of Marquette University High School and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.  He is completing his second year at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University (ASU).  Schellinger is a member of the Indian Legal Program at the ASU College of Law and is active in the Native American Law Student Association.  His future practice interests include those areas of law that advance the interests of sovereign tribal communities and multitribal urban Native populations.  His personal interests include family, history, literature, music, travel, and cycling.

Farrah Lisa Secody is a member of the Navajo Nation and received her bachelor’s from Arizona State University (ASU) in American Indian studies, tribal law, and policy.  She is currently seeking her master’s of legal studies at ASU with a specific interest in the Indian Legal Program at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. She is very interested in understanding the law and legal thought. This process fascinates her and is the reason why she is interested in studying the legal system. Currently, Secody works with Native American youth at a high school in her community to help them prepare for college and assist in academic endeavors.  Native American issues that are of most importance to her are repatriation, gaming, land/water rights, and nation building.  She enjoys being a "#1 Aunty," an affectionate name given to her by her nephews and nieces, and spending time with her family.  Some of her hobbies include traveling, hiking, dancing, and reading.   

Christopher Sharp is from the Colorado River Indian Tribes and is a member of the Mohave Tribe.  He is a student in the MPA/MSW dual degree program at Arizona State University.  In May 2011, he will complete the Master of Social Work program and continue to pursue a Master of Public Administration.  His social work internships have been at Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Division of Social Services, and currently at the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona.  Prior to graduate school, he worked at the Salt River Elementary School for five years.  Sharp hopes to serve as an advocate for the improvement of educational opportunities for tribal communities, strengthening tribal child welfare systems and ICWA, and tribally driven research that promotes tribal sovereignty and self-governance.

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