Faces in the Crowd: Mateja Sitting Crow
PINE RIDGE, S.D. — Mateja Sitting Crow is a junior at Red Cloud Indian School and is about to embark on an experience of a lifetime. Mateja is keeping her culture alive by learning and speaking Lakota every change she can. She was raised with an enduring love for her culture. She is a very involved student with a 4.0 grade-point average. Mateja also plays golf, she’s involved in student council, is a student rep for the safety committee, and is on a spiritual leadership team.
She wants to see change where she lives, and use her voice to advocate for the youth on the reservations.
Mateja Sitting Crow says, “I am a part of a tribe and I live on a reservation. And there are a lot of stereotypes that come along with that. And I just wanted to prove them wrong basically, because a lot of people they see me and they’re like ‘she’s not gonna go to college’ or ‘she won’t do things because of where she’s from and because of who she is’ and I just wanted to show that you can do anything and I wanted to show the youth from where I’m from that we can break through those stereotypes and we can do anything. And we can go to college if you want to we can go to an Ivy League college if we wanted to and that anything is possible.”
A mentor at her school recently nominated her for the National Student Leadership Conference and the opportunity to attend a summer program at an Ivy League University of her choosing. She chose to attend Yale University for the Law and Advocacy program for nine days this summer. Her decision for this specific program is because she wanted to find new ways to make an impact.
Sitting Crow says, “I am very vocal about everything. I always find a way to use my voice in anyway I can. I want to speak up for injustices and there was a huge injustice at my school a few months back, and I think that really played a role in me getting nominated because I had to speak up about it. We had a walk out and a prayer circle type of a thing and we got it changed and got everything fixed. And then the safety committee started, the first ever Red Cloud Safety Committee, and I’m on it. And so that really helped with my nomination.”
The conference will be a chance to heighten her leadership skills with a little taste of a college experience. She will also earn college credits from the University and receive recommendation letters from Yale professors to use in future college applications. She is inspired by her mother who studies tribal law and says that with her passion for justice, she hopes to gain all the wisdom she can.
“Knowledge is power so the more you know, the further you can get in life.”
Click here for the link to the GoFundMe page that helps Mateja fund her trip.