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2023 Okhíčhaŋye Scholarship Awardees

Akiptan is pleased to announce that we have awarded 14 scholarships from the Okhíčhaŋye Scholarship Program (O-KHI-CHAN-YE - the Lakota word for cultivation) in the amount of $1400.00 each to Native American High school students who are pursuing a degree to support the agriculture industry.

“We are very honored to be able to support the students pursuing careers in the Native agriculture community, it’s inspiring to see so many students committed to agriculture within their families and communities” -Dawn E. LeBeau, Program Officer

We are proud to be in our second year of offering our Okhíčhaŋye Scholarship.

to support the next generation of Native Agriculture stewards. Native American high school students from across the United States were encouraged to apply. Students who have been awarded are pursuing degrees in the following areas; Ag Business Management, Veterinary Medicine, Plant and Soil Science, Animal Science and Agriculture Business, Agriculture Equine Science, Agriculture Economic Sciences, Biology, Agriculture Education, Botany, and Animal Sciences.

“Receiving this scholarship will help me immensely and make sure I keep the debt I incur to a minimum; while also helping me to fulfill my goals of giving back in the realm of agriculture while helping to preserve the values of my native heritage. - Blake Denson (Muscogee Creek Nation)

Blake plans to attend Texas A&M University in Texas to pursue a degree in Agriculture, Range & Wildlife Management, which will support the beginning of a career in agriculture."

Congratulations to this year’s awardees:

  1. Kennedy McLellan, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

  2. Kashlin Bettelyoun, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

  3. Jackson Obregon, Cherokee

  4. Blake Denson, Muscogee Creek Nation

  5. Koen Ponder, Choctaw

  6. Jules Ecoffey, Oglala Lakota Tribe

  7. Gabriella Yanez, Kaw Nation

  8. Wilson Saylor, Oglala Lakota Nation

  9. Bailee Mathews, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

  10. Charley Kioni, Navajo Ramah

  11. Natalie Gross, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

  12. Jana Stacy, Western Cherokee of Arkansas

  13. Ralphina Yazzie, Navajo Nation

  14. Matea Whittington, Choctaw Apache Tribe of Ebarb

“This will help with much needed funds to go to college so that I can get my degree and I can come back to help my family and tribe to ensure that we protect the land and the resources to work on food sovereignty issues. I think it is important that we provide opportunities for people to hunt and gather to provide access to food resources.” said Jules Ecoffey (Oglala Lakota)

Jules will be attending the University of Nebraska pursuing a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife. To learn more about the Okhíčhaŋye scholarship, please visit our website at or reach out to Dawn E. LeBeau, Program Officer at

The Okhíčhaŋye Scholarship is made possible with the support of the Native American Agricultural Fund.

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