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What appealed to me about the Walter Littlemoon Indigenous Researcher Scholarship was the opportunity to increase research equity and enhance data sovereignty for my tribal community. Littlemoon Scholarship is unique in the sense that it is offered to anyone interested in research regardless of academic experience.  

As an aspiring Indigenous researcher, academic led research limited my ability to be creative with research and ultimately determined my educational career path to a PhD.


Being a non-traditional student obtaining a Master’s in Criminal Justice from Boston University MET and a Master’s in Social Work with a concentration in Social Economic Development from Washington University in St. Louis, I did not want to have to pursue a PhD to advocate for data sovereignty or support traditional ways of being. My experience as a Littlemoon Scholar under the guidance of Sweet Grass Consulting was eye-opening. Most of my research experience had been conducted in the realm of treating substance use and traumatic stress. Sweet Grass introduced me to Indigenous Economic Development and it is exciting! What I learned through Sweet Grass was invaluable. My experience helped me realize that Philanthropy in tribal communities is possible. Building tribal community workforce and accessibility to Indigenous led business incubators is possible. Knowing that other tribes were building themselves economically and not just from a disparity standpoint, inspired me to create a vision for the non-profit organization that I am now Interim Executive Director for.


My name is Lucy Smartlowit. I am an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes & Bands of the Yakama Nation and Mexican. I am the Interim Executive Director for Peacekeeper Society; I am a community researcher and a Walter Littlemoon Indigenous Research Scholar.

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