HOMETOWN: MISSOULA/BLACKFEET RESERVATION
Nominated by: KIM SPURZEM
Abaki Beck is a mixed-race indigenous woman enrolled in the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana with Red River Métis and European-American blood mixed in. She is passionate about addressing health and education disparities that impact Native peoples. While in college, Abaki led the Native American student organization and also worked as a multicultural program planner, organizing poetry slams and interactive art galleries to discuss issues such as racism, homophobia, and sexism. For her senior honors project, she conducted community-based research on solutions to Blackfeet youth suicide. Last year, Abaki worked for the U.S. House of Representatives, with a portfolio that included health care and Native American issues. She is currently conducting research on food sovereignty and traditional ecological knowledge on the Blackfeet Reservation. In her spare time, Abaki runs a social justice resource website called POC Online Classroom and enjoys writing poetry.