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Former UNITY 25 Under 25 Awardee Faith Long starts new internship with NCAIED

The National Center has a new virtual intern for the fall. Faith Long came to the National Center from Carson-Newman University in Tennessee and is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Learn more about Faith, her work with the National Center, and the “wildlife” she has at home. Welcome to the National Center family, Faith!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I graduated from Carson-Newman University with a B.S. in Business Administration and an emphasis in Management in May 2020. While there, I was on the Track and Field team and was the Vice President for the Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society. During that time, I served as Miss Cherokee 2017/18 for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians and was a four-year fellow for the Jones-Bowman Scholarship Award Program, as well as a UNITY (United National Indian Tribal Youth) 25 under 25 award recipient.

2. What made you interested in interning for the National Center?

I became interested in the National Center when I first learned about it at a UNITY conference and through my Jones-Bowman mentor, Hope Huskey. I became interested in economic development especially in and around Native communities when I saw a need in my own community. I thought that gaining experience with Indigenous communities outside of my own would ultimately benefit my community and myself immensely.

3. What’s been your favorite part of the internship?

My favorite part of this internship has been getting to know the people who work with the National Center – even if it is through zoom (thanks COVID-19). This organization is very tight-knit, and I really appreciated everyone going out of their way to make me feel comfortable and included. I was able to sit in on meetings and learn from Chris (James) directly, which is beneficial for me. Everyone here works so hard for Indian Country and it is nice to know and meet the people who are striving for a better future for Indigenous communities.

4. How do you hope to use the internship in your career path?

I currently work as the Portfolio Risk Manger for the Sequoyah Fund, Inc., located in Cherokee, NC. I hope to use the experience I gain from this internship to better help the people in my own community.

5. Do you have any advice for students or those just out of college who have an interest in economic development or working in Indian Country more broadly?

Do not fear reaching out to people and organizations like The National Center. Everyone here is so nice and goes out of their way to help people. Also, do not fear leaving your community to gain education and experience. Your community will benefit from the youth and young adults gaining knowledge and outside experience. I went to college out of state, but it was only 2.5 hours away from Cherokee. For this internship, I traveled 30+ hours by mini-van (thanks granny) and it was honestly scary for me, but I know it was completely worth every mile. I am so incredibly thankful for this opportunity.

6. When you’re not interning, where’s the most likely place we can find you? What are your hobbies, interests, etc.

When I am not working, I am most likely planning my upcoming wedding. It is actually way more stressful than I realized. Other than that, you can find me reading or being a pain to my fiancé and twin brother. We do have 7 chickens and 1 rooster, an uncoordinated cane corso named Tank, and my sweet husky boy Aquilla, so we stay pretty busy outside. You can also find me at Hope Huskey’s house eating up all her food and contemplating how I’m going to steal all of her cute stuff.