Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has chosen a Stanford student who aims to become a tribal lawyer as this year’s recipient of its Judson L. Brown Leadership Award.

The honor was given to Tlingit, Athabascan and Aquinnah Wampanoag student Jade Araujo, who has held numerous leadership roles during her tenure at the California university.

The $5,000 award goes to students who have demonstrated academic achievement and leadership skills, said SHI President Rosita Worl, Ph.D.

“At a young age, Jade already has a proven track record of leadership at a number of school associations and cultural organizations. We also commend her quest to fight for her people at the legal level. She is exactly the type of young scholar we envisioned when we established the Judson Brown award,” Worl said.

Araujo worked for the Aquinnah Cultural Center and Museum, where she rose to lead docent and helped educate visitors about Native cultures and customs. She is also holds leadership positions in three campus organizations at Stanford, including the Alaska Native Student Association, the Stanford American Indian Organization and Stanford Women in Politics.

After graduation, she intends to pursue a law degree with a goal of becoming a tribal lawyer.

“I plan to be a leader in the field of constitutional law who fights for the rights of Native peoples,” Araujo wrote. “Native leaders in law can change the legal landscape to better support Native communities for many generations to come.”

Chris and Mary McNeil established the scholarship fund in 2006 in honor of Chris’ uncle, Tlingit leader Judson Lawrence Brown, who was the first chair of the Sealaska Heritage Foundation, now known as the Sealaska Heritage Institute, and a forceful advocate for education and leadership development. The endowment is administered by Sealaska Heritage Institute.

Jade is a Kootznoowoo, Inc. shareholder and KCEF Scholarship Recipient.  This article is reprinted courtesy of Sealaska Heritage Institute.

Ralph “Chico” Bierely

K-Plaza Building Maintenance Manager

Chico serves as a jack-of-all-trades for the corporation. His main responsibility is overseeing the maintenance and upkeep of the K-Plaza building. However, he provides additional support when needed on a variety of projects. He is based in Juneau.