Coming Soon:  2015 Young Native Writers Essay Contest
Submission Deadline:  TBA

The Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce the call for essays in its tenth annual Young Native Writers Essay Contest. The Foundation partners with the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) to sponsor this national writing contest.

More details will be coming soon.  To review submission requirements for last year's Contest see below.    

For 2014, students were asked to write about one or more of the cultural images, symbols or art forms that have been historically developed by their community (American Indian, Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian) to communicate a particular message or value or serve a specific purpose. Essays were to be 1,200 words or less and should cover the following:

  • Describe the image(s), symbol(s) or art forms selected;
  • Explain how it was originally developed or used by the community;
  • Reflect on the student's own experience about it, including thoughts and feelings; and
  • Suggest why or how it is still relevant today.

The contest is designed to encourage young Native American writers to explore their heritage. It is open to Native American high school students from all Native communities.

Contest winners received an all-expenses-paid "Scholar Week" trip to Washington, D.C. in July 2014.  The group's activities included an honor ceremony at NMAI; a tour of the NMAI Cultural Resources Center where tribal objects were viewed and studied; educational symposia for students and their teachers; and a tour of the U.S. Capitol. Winners also received a $2,500 scholarship paid to the college or university of their choice.

"The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian is proud to be involved in a program that inspired high school students to think innovatively about their Native communities," said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), NMAI director. "Each year we look forward to honoring the winners at our building on the National Mall as well as offering them special tours and programs."

"The National Indian Education Association is honored to begin working with Holland & Knight and the National Museum of the American Indian on this exceptional program," said Anhiwake Rose, executive director of the NIEA (Cherokee and Muscogee). "NIEA is dedicated to ensuring that every Native student has the opportunity to succeed and through this scholarship program, we will be assisting one young leader on their journey."

The contest debuted in 2006 in Red Lake, Minnesota, in response to the March 2005 shooting by a Red Lake High School student of five fellow students, a teacher, a security guard, members of his family and then himself. Holland & Knight's Charitable Foundation developed this contest with the hope that the Red Lake community would find healing by promoting its rich culture and traditions. In the following years, the program has evolved to serve all Native American communities.

About the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation, Inc.:  The Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation, Inc. was created in 1996 to support our increasing charitable activities. The Foundation is a public charity under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). The financial support of the Foundation comes from Holland & Knight LLP, our individual employees, our clients, our partner corporations and other members of the general public.

About NIEA: The National Indian Education Association (NIEA) is the most representative and inclusive Native education organization in the United States. NIEA's principal goal is to advance comprehensive and equal educational opportunities for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students. Through this vision, NIEA supports sovereignty over education by strengthening traditional Native cultures and values that enable Native learners to become contributing members of their communities. See

About the National Museum of the American Indians :  A diverse and multifaceted cultural and educational enterprise, the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) is an active and visible component of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum complex. The NMAI cares for one of the world's most expansive  collections of Native artifacts, including objects, photographs, archives, and media covering the entire Western Hemisphere.  The National Museum of the American Indian operates three facilities.



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