2006 Essay Winners

A concept never before done.

Dear Friend:

It is with great pleasure that we present to you the winning essays for the 2006 Reconnecting The Circle National High School Essay Contest.

The essay question was: Why is reconnecting the circle with Native Americans important today? High school students (grades 9-12) from tribal, public, private and parochial schools throughout all 50 states were invited to participate. Writers included a cross-section of Native American and non-Native students. Ten students were each awarded $2,500.

Published in this booklet is a compilation of the 10 winning essays representing an array of viewpoints, experiences and knowledge held by Native American and non-Native high school students about Indian Country. Inspiration for their essays came from multiple sources including textbooks, the Internet, movies, hearsay, and pure experience.

Voices never before heard…

These essays are some of the voices explaining what reconnecting the circle means to each writer. These voices, connecting non-Indian to Indian, Indian to Indian, and writer to himself, make up a conversation of many expressions – diplomatic and raw, poetic and determined, accurate and inaccurate, connected and disconnected.

This collection of essays represents a glimpse into the collective knowledge of  

Indian Country, past and present, held by American youth.

These stories are pieces of a bigger conversation about all cultures and all people. We invite you to read this compilation with the perspective of folding the Native American people and their cultures fully into the fabric of American culture and securing them in their rightful place – within the collective conscious, alongside all cultures that contribute to the diversity and values that define the United States.

We invite you to enter this realm: to be moved, disturbed, confused, invigorated, and committed to reconnecting the circle. We want to hear your thoughts and perspectives about your findings. Like us, you may come to find that Indian Country, indeed, is within all of us.