“Leaving the reservation is a huge step.”
Specifically, to Native American students applying to college — I would say go for it. What's the worst that can happen? You're going to learn. You're going to meet new people. You're going to have great experiences. It's the time of your life, I would say. It's when you're in your prime. You have a lot of fun. You're learning. I would say just go for it.
Definitely, being from the reservation, it's a huge step. And people that go to school — your elders, they look up to you, you know. It's very special when the elders in your community congratulate you, say, "Oh, you're going to school. That's really good. I didn't get to go to school. I didn't understand this, you know. Explain this to me." And you actually know how to explain it. You can tell them how plants are fed from the sun and things like that. When they see someone that's kind of like this prominent figure in the community that can articulate well, that's smart, that's goal-driven — it's just a really highly looked-upon person. And highly looked-upon from your elders, which is huge in Native American culture.
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