First person

Mark Ostow

Mark Ostow

View full image

Donna Stands-Over-Bull
Russell Stands-Over-Bull

Parents of Goldie Stands-Over-Bull
Saybrook College
Pryor, Montana

Is it common for people from your reservation [the Crow Indian Reservation] to come to Yale?

Russell: It’s very, very uncommon.

Donna: I wanted her to be able to make a life for herself, so at 14 we chose to send her to a private school [St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire]. And then from there they pushed her to go to an Ivy League school.

Was it hard to send her away?

Donna: It was a very difficult decision. I would talk to a lot of mothers, and they would say to me, “I would never send my daughter away at 14.” As Native American people, we’re very family-oriented.

Russell: Historically, boarding schools have been a negative in the native community. They were forced to abandon their culture and language. So this boarding school experience was quite different.

Does having come to Yale make it less likely that your daughter will settle in your town?

Russell: We really try to instill in our children that you’ve got to give back to the community. She’s got ambitions to go to med school and then return to the Indian Nations to help with health care.

Our last war chief, Plenty Coups [1848–1932], said that “education is your most powerful weapon. With education, you’re the white man’s equal.” We live by that.