Yale junior awarded Native American Congressional Internship

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Katherine McCleary ’18

Yale junior Katherine N. McCleary is one of 10 students from 8 tribes and 9 universities selected as 2017 Native American Congressional Interns.

She and the other awardees were selected by an independent review committee on the basis of academic achievement and a demonstrated commitment to careers in tribal public policy.

The Udall Interns will complete an intensive, nine-week internship in the summer of 2017 in Washington, D.C. McCleary will intern in the office of Senator Jon Tester of Montana. In addition, the interns will be offered opportunities to meet with key decision-makers in the nation’s capital.

McCleary is Little Shell Chippewa-Cree and grew up on the Crow Reservation in Montana. Her Apsáalooke (Crow) name is Baaapáaliksshitchish. She is part of the Ashikaamne clan and child of the Ashshitchite clan. At Yale, she is studying the historical intersection of sex, gender, and race in healthcare during the early Crow reservation period. Through her involvement with the Yale Native American Cultural Center, she works to create a welcoming space for Native students and educate the Yale community about Native culture and law. After graduating, she plans to attend law school and advocate for health and education policies that positively impact Native communities.

The Native American Congressional Internship Program provides Native American and Alaska Native students with the opportunity to gain practical experience with the federal legislative process in order to understand firsthand the government-to-government relationship between tribes and the federal government. The Udall Internship is funded by the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management, and Policy, which was founded in 2001 by the Udall Foundation and the University of Arizona to serve as a self-determination, governance, and development resource for Native Nations. From 1996 through 2017, 255 Native American and Alaska Native students from 117 tribes will have participated in the Udall Internship program. Seven Udall Interns have been students at Yale.

The Udall Foundation was established by Congress in 1992 as an independent executive branch agency to honor former Arizona Congressman Morris K. Udall’s lasting impact on the nation’s environment, public lands, and natural resources, and his support of the rights and self-governance of Native Americans and Alaska Natives. In 2009, Congress enacted legislation to honor Stewart Udall — the brother of Morris Udall and former Arizona Congressman and U.S. Secretary of the Interior — and add his name to the Udall Foundation.

To see the other Udall Internship winners or learn more about the program, visit the program’s website.

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