Sherenté Mishitashin Harris. Courtesy photo

Narragansett student nominated for presidential scholars program

Sherenté Mishitashin Harris, a young citizen of the Narragansett Tribe who is active in cultural and language preservation efforts, is among the candidates for the 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

Harris, a graduating senior at The Metropolitan Regional Career & Technical Center in Rhode Island, was nominated for her accomplishments in the fields of career and technical education. She works as an intern at three places: the Tomaquag Museum, the Narragansett Language Preservation and Revitalization Program and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Kettle Pond Visitor Center, where she helps interpret tribal culture.

She's also a Community College of Rhode Island Running Start Scholar and she received a Rhode Island Civic Leadership Award last year. And, in recognition of her advocacy for the Two-Spirit community, she's extremely proud of serving as "Head Person" at Dartmouth College’s 45th annual powwow in 2017, where she also was named grand champion in fancy shawl dance.

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"Intertwining the stories of my cultural path with my Two Spirit identity, I work to evoke an emotion that sparks dialogue regarding ideologies that are too often silenced," Harris writes in a statement in which she describes herself as an "Indigenous Cultural Artist."

"My efforts oppose the prolonged issue of Indigenous Invisibility," Harris adds. "Allowing my stories to manifest through writing, speaking, performance, and visual art, I can expand the audience of my message, educating and creating change within my communities."

Harris is among thousands of candidates under consideration for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. In May, the nominees will be narrowed down to a group of 161 finalists and up to 20 will be named Scholars in Career and Technical Education, which is the category for which Harris has been named.

Winning scholars will then be invited to Washington, D.C., in June to participate in various activities.

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