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Meet 2019-2020
7G Scholarship Awardee:

Shyh Saenz
Northern Cheyenne Tribe
Gonzaga University

2019 Seven Generations Scholarship Awardee, and freshman at Gonzaga University, Shyh Saenz, discovered a statue depicting a Native American man on her campus with no plaque recognizing who or what the statue is. The statue is titled Salish Warrior and was sculpted by an American artist, Ken Lonn, in 1972-73.  


 Shyh Saenz, decided to bring the issue of the underrepresented statue to her First Year Seminar (FYS), intergroup dialogue, in which she and three other freshmen underwent a project to bring justice to the statue.

“We wanted to bring actual awareness to the statue that doesn’t have a name,” Shyh said. 


Shyh’s search for answers began in the classroom, the project’s meaning ran much deeper. Shyh’s search for recognition became more important than the statue itself.


“The statue is depicted with snared wire. There is no plaque for it, it is not maintained and it’s not how a Native American should be depicted,” Saenz said. “It’s upsetting as a Native American to see that’s how I’m being viewed.”  


In her search, Shyh was also looking for Native American community. To Shyh, the statue’s lack of recognition is only a symbol of a greater absence.    


“I think I decided to bring awareness because we are still here, the Native American population. It is Native American heritage that should be highlighted,” Saenz said. “A lot of people who are Native American never had a voice for themselves”...”When I took initiative to go to the indigenous studies house, they connected me with UMEC [Unity, Multicultural Education Center], who told me they just started a Native American club,” Saenz said. 


Shyh Saenz is an encouragement to the Native American club at Gonzaga University, and hopes to connect with it and see the group of students grow.


“I’ve always been trying to bring awareness to the Native American community and be an activist for them”…“Remembrance is the main thing. A plaque would be nice, but at least clean up the statue, and represent this community in a positive way,” Shyh said.

 

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2019 Scholarship Dinner

 

Scholarship Awards Dinner

An evening of community, connection, empowerment and resilience.

The wound is the place where the Light enters you.

--Rumi


July 26, 2019 | Oakland, CA | Sandra Tavel, Communications Manager, NAHC

In a popular waterfront restaurant in Oakland’s Jack London square, about twenty families from different generations, tribes and walks of life gathered to celebrate a milestone for their loved ones:  the 7Generations Scholarship awards.  Native American Health Center (NAHC) proudly hosted this event, which is in its third year.  Twelve students from Technical, Community College, 4-year College and graduate schools received over $22,000 in scholarship monies to support their education.  NAHC recognizes the role and importance of education in the health of its community, specifically for American Indians.  American Indians are all connected by the effects of how history played out on our lands.  We experience both trauma and resilience within our communities.  Our people are actively reconnecting to the wisdoms and traditions that were not so long ago, illegal for us to have.  It was illegal to be American Indian.  Think about that—to have your language, appearance, practices, culture and very being—your identity, be written into government legislation as illegal; and to have that actively enforced by programs with names like extermination, termination and relocation.