Riding In Set for Eight-Month Term in Senator Merkley’s D.C. Office
Grand Ronde, OR – The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund are pleased to announce Samuel Riding In as the 2021/22 Hatfield Fellow. Riding In grew up in Apache, Oklahoma and is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.
Riding In is a graduate of Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Indigenous & American Indian Studies. He holds a certification in behavioral health and most recently worked as a case worker/ behavioral health technician at Lutheran Indian Ministries, a nonprofit organization in Kansas. He is passionate about mental health issues, Indian education and economic development for tribal communities.
The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde established the Mark O. Hatfield Fellowship in 1998 as a living tribute to Senator Hatfield to honor his accomplishments as the Governor of Oregon and United States Senator. Each year, the Spirit Mountain Community Fund sponsors a highly motivated Native American to serve as the Hatfield Fellow and intern in an Oregon congressional office, enhancing the mutual understanding between leadership in Washington, D.C., and Indian Country.
Riding In is the 22nd Native American to serve as a Hatfield Fellow. He will begin his fellowship in November with a month-long orientation at the American Political Science Association (APSA) in Washington, D.C. Following orientation, he will assume his congressional placement in Senator Jeff Merkley’s office. This is the Senator’s second time to host a Hatfield Fellow.
“I really look forward to the opportunity to be a part of the American political system, gaining first-hand experience from our leaders in Washington, and using my educational background in ways I had previously never foreseen for myself,” said Riding In. “I look forward to the opportunity to network with other fellows and staff members. Ultimately, I hope to be a part of something that is bigger than myself, with lasting positive impacts for a multitude of people who live and breathe on this land. I want to learn as much as I can throughout the course of the fellowship and I want to be a useful member of Senator Merkley’s team.”
“Senator Hatfield not only played an enormous role in making Oregon what it is today, but did so with unwavering principle and a distinctive, gracious diplomacy that helped to inspire so many Oregonians—including myself—to devote their lives to public service,” said Senator Merkley. “One of the many ways the Oregon delegation works together to honor his many accomplishments is by continuing to build a strong partnership with tribal communities through the Hatfield Fellowship program. I always look forward to hosting Hatfield Fellows, and am especially excited to welcome Sam Riding In to team Merkley, where he will bring an impressive background and an admirable passion for helping others. Especially at a time when tribal communities are facing unique challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more critical than ever for Congress and Tribal Governments to work together, and I look forward to seeing the important work Sam accomplishes on Capitol Hill this year.”
“I wanted to serve as the Hatfield Fellow because historically, Native people have been left out of many conversations and legislation that ultimately affects our livelihoods as sovereign nations. Our people have overcome immense obstacles in order to keep our culture and sovereignty as distinct Tribal Nations intact, and I believe it is imperative we create a sustainable future for the survival of our political autonomy,” said Riding In. “My professional goal is to ensure our next generation of people are equipped with the knowledge to succeed and carry on our culture.”
About Spirit Mountain Community Fund
The Spirit Mountain Community Fund is the philanthropic arm of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. The Tribe is committed to honoring the tribal traditions of sharing and giving back to the community. In 1997, in an effort to uphold these traditions, the tribe formed the Spirit Mountain Community Fund, dedicating six percent of all casino revenue to nonprofit organizations in an 11-county service area of northwest Oregon. Grants are awarded in the following categories: arts & culture, education, environmental preservation, health, historical preservation, problem gaming and public safety.
Visit www.thecommunityfund.com for more information about the Hatfield Fellowship program and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund.