(Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah)

Samantha grew up attending Tribal Council meetings with her mother and listened to countless hours of discussions on the laws and policies that undermine the sovereignty and well-being of her people. As a member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah, colonial history covers Samantha’s ancestral homelands and the visual reminders of that era highlight what Samantha knows to be much more far reaching in scope – Native people today still suffer from the intentionally oppressive and repressive policies written into place hundreds of years ago. But Samantha is determined to use the same tools that have for so long held Native communities back to instead help them move forward.

By pursuing her Juris Doctor degree at Harvard Law School, she will have the tools she needs to fight for her people in a way those before her could not – despite her tribes close proximity to Harvard, no member of her tribe has ever graduated from their law school. Even though this will be a long and hard journey, Samantha knows it is what she must do for the future of her tribe and all Native peoples.