Perpich News

Leslie Harper (Class of 1991) Named 2023 Bush Foundation Fellowship Recipient

Leslie Harper (Class of 1991)

August 17, 2023

Congratulations to Leslie Harper (Class of 1991) on being named a 2023 Bush Foundation Fellowship recipient! Harper (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe) is determined to help Tribal communities create their own futures. Raised by parents who deeply instilled the values of sovereignty and self-determination, she believes that priorities and decisions must be determined from within a community, not from an outside entity. A Native American language revitalizer, she has built an immersion school and led national efforts to ensure the rights of Indigenous students and families in immersion settings. She wants to build hope and optimism by helping Native communities articulate their own culturally appropriate outcomes, approaches, and evaluation measures. During her Fellowship, she will seek mentorship and build the facilitation skills she needs to mobilize her community and prepare others to lead. She will also travel to other language revitalization sites to connect with leaders engaged in language reclamation. She will maintain energy for her work through regenerative rest and ceremonial participation.

As one of 24 recipients recently named to the Fellowship for 2023, Harper will receive a grant of up to $100,000 and training that will aid her in her language revitalization efforts. She is a member of our Alpha Class, graduating in 1991 with a focus on Theater and Literary Arts.

The Bush Fellowship supports accomplished leaders in their efforts to take their leadership to the next level. Awarded to individuals throughout Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and 23 Native nations, more than 2,000 people have received support from the Fellowship over the past 60 years. According to a news release, 590 people applied for the Fellowship this year, and after an in-depth application and interview process, the 24 recipients were announced in June. “The Bush Foundation believes in investing in people who power great ideas and big change,” Anita Patel, grantmaking VP for the Bush Foundation, said in the release. “We are excited to be with these fellows on their leadership journey and eagerly look forward to what they will do next.”

Read more about Leslie Harper and her award in this Duluth News Tribune article from July, 2023