Grand Opening of American Indian Hall
In October 2021, Montana State University hosted the grand opening of the American Indian Hall in Bozeman, Montana, with dignitaries, Native dancers and students, community members and supporters. Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez / MSU
Six students win 2022 MSU Native American leadership awards
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
MSU News Service

BOZEMAN, Montana — Six Montana State University students have been selected for awards given by the university’s Department of Native American Studies and the American Indian/Alaska Native Student Success Program to honor academic excellence, community service and leadership.

“Our office, with the support of the NAS Department, is pleased to announce we have selected six students who demonstrate a commitment to academic excellence and have represented and served our community well in such areas as scholastic achievement, leadership, community involvement, and outstanding service and ambassadorship,” said Nicholas Ross-Dick, program manager for the American Indian/Alaska Native Student Success Program.

The awards, and the students honored are:

Maleeya Knows His Gun, a sophomore majoring in nursing, and Cassandra Baker, a junior in mathematics, have earned the Dan Voyich Community Involvement Award. The award honors Dan Voyich, a native of the former Yugoslavia and MSU graduate. He ran a Bureau of Indian Affairs School in Sales, Arizona, which convinced him of the need for advocacy and support for Native students. He returned to MSU and met with then-president Leon Johnson to gain support to begin a Native student support program at MSU. He spent 30 years as director and adviser to MSU American Indian and Alaska Native students.

Maleeya Knows His Gun
Montana State University celebrates the opening of the American Indian Hall in Bozeman, Montana, on October 16, 2021. Photo by Kelly Gorham / MSU
Cassandra Baker
Cassandra Baker, a junior in mathematics, has earned the Dan Voyich Community Involvement Award. Photo by Adrian Sanchez-Gonzalez / MSU

Knows His Gun, a member of the Crow Tribe who grew up in Ashland on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation and claims affiliation with both tribes, is Miss Indian MSU. A member of the American Indian Club planning committee, she has been involved in a variety of causes, from caring for relatives with diabetes to making others aware of the cause of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Cassandra Baker is a member the Northern Cheyenne Tribe from Lame Deer. She is a member of Pi Mu Epsilon mathematics honorary society, a recipient of the Milton F. Chauner Mathematics Scholarship and the student office assistant for the MSU Department of Mathematical Sciences. Baker serves as a tutor for American Indian/Alaska Native Student Success program.

Makayla Mather, a master’s student in Earth sciences from Tacoma, Washington, and Journey Erickson, a sophomore in nursing from Wolf Point, have received the Phyllis Berger Award for Leadership. The award honors the late Berger, who lived near Pony, and was a generous benefactor of MSU Native American programs.

Makayla Mather
Makayla Mather, a master’s student in Earth sciences from Tacoma, Washington, has won the Phyllis Berger Award for Leadership. Provided photo
Journey Erickson
Journey Erickson, a sophomore in nursing from Wolf Point, has received the Phyllis Berger Award for Leadership. Provided photo

A master’s student in Earth Sciences, Mather (Tlingit/Tsimshian), was elected the Junior U.S. National Student Representative for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Mather will serve as a liaison for the seven regional student representatives and will serve as a non-voting member of the AISES board of directors for a two-year term.

Journey Erickson, a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota, is the fundraising chair for the MSU American Indian Council.

Cheyenne Whiteman, a sophomore majoring in nursing from Crow Agency, has won the Glenn Kirkaldie Award for Scholastic Achievement. The award honors the late Glenn Kirkaldie, who was originally from the Flathead reservation area. Kirkaldie served on a health sciences advisory board to MSU and had a passion for Native students.

Cheyenne Whiteman
Cheyenne Whiteman is a second-year nursing student who will be performing at the MSU powwow this Friday, March 25. Photo by Adrian Sanchez Gonzalez / MSU

A member of both the Crow and Northern Cheyenne tribes, Whiteman is co-president of MSU’s American Indian Council. She maintains a perfect 4.0 GPA. Along with her duties with the American Indian Council, she participates in the Native American nurse support group Caring for Our Own Program and serves on the financial board for the student government, the Associated Students of MSU. Whiteman serves as a tutor for the Office of American Indian/Alaska Native Student Success.

Terrance Limpy has received a Harriette Cushman Award for Outstanding MSU Indian Student. The award honors Harriette Cushman, who was hired in 1922 to be MSU Extension’s first poultry specialist. She worked with the Blackfeet reservation for a time to establish poultry there. She also worked with MSU staff and faculty to develop an unofficial network of advocates and support staff for Native students.

Terrance Limpy
Terrance Limpy has received a Harriette Cushman Award for Outstanding MSU Indian Student. MSU photo

Limpy, a senior majoring in business management from Lame Deer and a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, is president of the MSU student chapter of American Indigenous Business Leaders, a national organization that aims to empower Indigenous business students. In 2020, the club won the university Chapter of the Year award, and Limpy was part of a team of students that earned first place two years running in the organization’s national business plan competition.

Limpy was a part of the inaugural Jabs Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee, which seeks to create and achieve objectives within the business college that align with the university’s diversity and inclusion goals.


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