UW Northern Arapaho scholarship fund reaches $100,000

The Sky People Higher Education Scholarship at the University of Wyoming has reached $100,000, thanks to Sky People Higher Education, the Northern Arapaho Business Council, and an anonymous donor.

The Sky People Higher Education Scholarship supports UW Northern Arapaho students. The endowment was created in early 2019 by Sky People Higher Education, an organization that promotes postsecondary education among the Northern Arapaho population.

“Since its creation in April 1979, the Sky People Higher Education program’s priority is to provide our young people with opportunities they typically wouldn’t have or even have dreamed about,” says Joseph Smith Jr., Sky People Higher Education executive director.


“Sky People Higher Education promotes the education of the Northern Arapaho Tribe by providing students with scholarships and other educational resources. A very special thanks to the anonymous donor for helping keep this special endowment moving forward to help Northern Arapaho tribal students at UW.”

Sky People Higher Education gifted $25,000 to create the endowment. The Northern Arapaho Business Council matched the gift, bringing the scholarship to $50,000. The remaining $50,000 was donated through private funding by a generous anonymous donor.

“As Chief Black Coal said, ‘Educating our children is their only chance for survival.’ His words remain true for our Arapaho children today,” says Lee Spoonhunter, chairman of the Northern Arapaho Business Council.

“The Northern Arapaho General Council named education its highest priority because we know this is what ensures our Arapaho people have the knowledge, job skills and cultural values they need to succeed and walk in both worlds as residents of Indian Country and American citizens. We are proud to support the Sky People Higher Education Scholarship at the University of Wyoming, which continues to lift up tribal students and provide them a means to better their own lives and those of their fellow tribal members.”

The Sky People Higher Education Scholarship is structured to complement the existing Northern Arapaho Endowment Fund, which produces approximately $90,000 in scholarship aid to Northern Arapaho students at UW. The Northern Arapaho Endowment Scholarship supports primarily juniors and seniors at UW, while the Sky People Higher Education Scholarship will focus on awarding funds to freshmen and sophomores.


Recipients of this scholarship will be selected by the Northern Arapaho Endowment Committee. Those eligible for funding must attend UW and must be able to provide proof of tribal enrollment in the Northern Arapaho Tribe.

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