The Nigani Scholarship was developed with the belief that now, more than ever, we need a generation of fearless, prepared activists working to build a better world through social, economic and environmental change. We are seeking native students who want to be leaders in ranks of this generation needed to change the world. This scholarship provides resources needed to participate in ITY/Native Like Water programming, with the aim of propelling these Nigani Scholars toward study and careers that create a world with equal opportunity and environmental sustainability. The opportunity is available to students who want to apply any discipline of study, from science to art to social fields, toward this goal.

We are currently recruiting applicants for the San Diego program that begins July 15, 2018. The Program is held at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in La Jolla. The Nigani Scholarship covers all the expenses of participation in the program and includes travel.

The Inspiration Behind Nigani

 Jake Williams, a member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi initiates the Nigani Scholarship in honor of his late sister, Rachel Williams

Jake Williams, a member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi initiates the Nigani Scholarship in honor of his late sister, Rachel Williams

Nigani means “she/he leads” in the Potawatomi language. This scholarship was created by Jake Williams, a member of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, in honor of his late sister, Rachel Williams. Rachel had a passion for activism and had hopes of discovering the world through travel, but the full scope of her ambitions were unrealized due to a cancer that claimed her life at a young age. This spirit, however, will be carried forward by Nigani Scholars.  

Jake Williams has built a career in advocacy on fronts including economic justice, LGBTQ equality, environmental sustainability and health equity. He believes that the opportunities he had to discover wide ranging places, people and cultures at an early age were ones that enhanced his ability to succeed. Through the Nigani Scholarship, he seeks to provide native youth with the same type of opportunities for discovery and growth. By learning about who they are and how they relate to the world, Nigani Scholars will be better positioned to change the world for the better.

Application Guidelines

Applications will be graded on merit, but economic need can also be factored into the final selection.

 selected Nigani Scholars carry on Rachel William's passion for activism and knowing the world through InterTribal Youth travel education

selected Nigani Scholars carry on Rachel William's passion for activism and knowing the world through InterTribal Youth travel education

The merits of an application will be judged on the overall clarity and persuasiveness of the case presented by the applicant. We will look for points that support the expectation that the applicant would be a productive participant in ITY/Native Like Water programs and a promising long-term candidate as an agent of change. Desired attributes include demonstrated interest in creating change (whether through previous experience or an articulation of aspiration), creativity, and demonstrated aptitude in a relevant field of study or pursuit.

We are currently only accepting applications for students who would like to participate in the San Diego program that takes place from July 15th-26th, 2018. This scholarship will cover the expenses of participating in that program, including travel.

This scholarship is available to applicants who:

  1. Are ages 12 to 18.

  2. Are Native American, Native Hawaiian or Native Alaskan. The tribes to which applicants belong may or may not be state or federally recognized.

If a tribal resource can cover the participation costs of an ITY/Native Like Water program, we ask that those resources be utilized. The Nigani Scholarship can be awarded to provide the remaining balance.

To apply for the scholarship, the following materials should be emailed to niganischolarship@gmail.com by June 8th at 1pm Pacific / 5pm Eastern Time.  You should first download the Scholarship Application Form here or request a one by contacting us or emailing niganischolarship@gmail.com.

 Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary,  a living museum. one of the last old-growth white pine stands in Michigan. these native trees were spared from deforestation and oil drilling by advocates and activists.  

Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary,  a living museum. one of the last old-growth white pine stands in Michigan. these native trees were spared from deforestation and oil drilling by advocates and activists.  

  1. A completed Intertribal Youth/Native Like water registration form

  2. A completed Nigani Scholarship form (Google Application Form here)

  3. A supporting essay or video (described on the scholarship form)

  4. One letter of recommendation (described on the scholarship form).

Applicants may be asked to participate in a brief interview via phone or video (FaceTime, Skype, etc). Questions regarding the scholarship can be sent to niganischolarship@gmail.com.