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TCF Recipient Ann Caindec
2023 Excellence Scholarship Spotlight
By Rachael Fisher, TCF Communications Manager
Welcome to The CIRI Foundation’s ‘TCF Recipient Spotlight’ series. Join us as we proudly celebrate the extraordinary journeys of our scholarship and vocational training grant recipients. These individuals exemplify the heights of academic achievement and the strength of community support. Their stories reflect our core values and embody TCF’s mission: nurturing educational excellence and self-sufficiency within our diverse alum community.
Ann’s indigenous heritage is intricately woven into her identity, her roots stemming from a Tlingit mother and a Hawaiian father. This rich upbringing instilled a profound respect for tradition and a boundless curiosity about the world, nurtured through annual summers spent in the heart of Alaska, connecting with her mother’s ancestral heritage.
She said Alaska holds a special place in her heart, declaring, “It’s my favorite place in the world.”
Academic Pursuits at Gonzaga
Ann embarked on her academic journey at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. There, she pursued a major in English and a minor in Psychology and Native American studies, fully immersing herself in her love for the written word and her insatiable appetite for reading and writing.
“English has always been my favorite subject,” Ann confides. “I love words.”
A Literary Sojourn in Oxford
Her quest for knowledge transcended borders when she ventured abroad during her junior year for a transformative experience. Her academic sojourn led her to the hallowed halls of Oxford University in England, where she passionately delved into Victorian novels, poetry, and the timeless works of Shakespeare, reveling in the intellectual journey.
Ann recounts, reflecting on her time there, “I took Victorian novels and poetry in Oxford, and then I took Shakespeare at Oxford. It was so much fun!”
Discovering Passion for Law
Ann’s path to the field of law was illuminated during a pivotal internship at the Bureau of Indian Affairs Alaska Region, facilitated by the Cook Inlet Tribal Council. This experience provided invaluable insights into tribal governance and federal Indian Law, sparking the flame of her advocacy.
Ann reflects on that transformative period, saying, “The experience made me realize I wanted to work on behalf of tribes.”
Championing Indigenous Rights
Continuing her educational voyage, Ann found herself at CITC’s legal department. From humble beginnings as an intern, she rapidly ascended to become an apprentice, ultimately crafting her unique role as a legal project specialist. Her specialization in intellectual property law was a natural fit, aligning seamlessly with her steadfast commitment to preserving the treasures of Native culture and heritage.
“I concentrated on intellectual property law, especially protecting our culture, stories, language, and dance,” Ann passionately shares. “AI introduces new challenges to defining ownership.”
UCLA Law: A Full-Ride Scholarship and Native Community
A momentous milestone in Ann’s journey was her acceptance into UCLA Law School, a defining moment marked by her recognition as a Graton Scholar, securing a full-ride scholarship—a distinction awarded to only five Native students per law class.
She articulates her sentiments about UCLA Law, stating, “UCLA Law has a dedicated native community, which sets it apart from many other law schools. I’m grateful for the support and the Graton Scholarship.”
Community Support: A Catalyst for Success
Ann’s journey underscores the pivotal role of community support. As a CIRI descendant and now a shareholder, she received unwavering backing from CIRI family organizations such as TCF, SCF, and CITC. Her tenure as a Raise intern at SCF played an instrumental role in solidifying her belief in the profound significance of community engagement and support.
A Vision for the Future
Ann’s inspiring odyssey serves as a beacon of hope and accomplishment, a true embodiment of the values cherished by The CIRI Foundation. Her unwavering determination propels her to pursue a legal career and her aspiration to inspire the next generation of Native youth to follow their dreams.
In her own words, she reflects, “It’s amazing to have such strong community support. I’m excited to attend law school and, afterward, return to work here, inspiring other Native kids to do the same.”
Ann’s story radiates as a source of hope, determination, and achievement, encapsulating the values upheld by The CIRI Foundation. As we continue our mission to empower Native students, her journey remains an enduring source of inspiration.
Scholarship & Vocational Training Grant Alumni Share Their Stories