November 17, 2020

Boozhoo (Hello),

My name is Kyra Azure. I am an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa tribe. I grew up on the Turtle Mountain Reservation, also known as Belcourt, in North Dakota. Currently, I am enrolled at the North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) where I am starting the Dental Hygiene Program. This fall will be my first in this program. I have recently been awarded an Associate of Science by NDSCS and plan to obtain an Associate in Dental Hygiene as well.

I applied for the American Indian Services Scholarship because it supports Native American perseverance. Organizations like the American Indian Services have a mission to open doors for Native Americans, which is something I want to be a part of. Getting an education is the best thing I can do for my people so, with the help of this scholarship, I could obtain my dream job and help my community.

Growing up on an Indian reservation, I had a family that was very close-knit. My mother raised my two older sisters and I by herself. My father was not in the picture, so all of our necessities were taken care of by my mom with a little help. There were times that we would have nothing but rice to eat and wore hand-me-downs to school that were too small because we couldn’t afford new ones. I am very thankful for what I was given. Even though my childhood was not as luxurious as the other kids’, I had family and that was all that mattered.

Now that I am an adult, I understand the hardships we had growing up. When it came to meals, paying bills, going to school, and having a job, my mother put us at the top of her list which is what I do now with my son. I have a year old son named Aero Zaagate Giizis (Shining Sun) Goulet. Because of him, I try my best to make and save the money we need. It is not easy, but it needs to be done so we can live comfortably. Aside from paying for tuition, books, and other supplies this Fall, I will also be paying for the bills and necessities at home. My fiancé is also returning back to school this fall after his training for the National Guard. With both of us attending school full time, we will have to pay for childcare, which has a rising cost. Because I have a child who needs an endless supply of diapers and wipes and constantly outgrows his clothes, I struggle with paying for our other necessities.

While I was at UND I was part of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES). We fundraised and went to conferences around the country that promote Native American education and opportunities. Working with the Native American community is something I am very passionate about because I believe my people have a lot to offer. Growing up I heard people talk about us like we were bad people. The stereotypes I have heard about being Native American is degrading and hard to ignore. Wherever I go, I hope to positively create a different image of Native Americans; an image that says we are not stupid, lazy, dirty, liars, or poor. I want students to see that my culture comes packed with humility, truth, love, bravery, honesty, wisdom, and respect. My culture exerts a sense of responsibility to help others and care for our people.

With that being said, my ultimate goal is to go back to my reservation and serve my people. I believe dental hygiene is very important. It is not easily accessible to my community due to the shortage of hygienists at the Indian Health Service (IHS) in Belcourt. I am hoping, with my help, people in my hometown can get the help they need and deserve.

Miigwetch (thank you), for your time and consideration,

Kyra Azure

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