BOZEMAN — Recently six Montana State University students were selected for awards given by the MSU Department of Native American Studies to honor academic excellence, community service and leadership. Georgeline Morsette is one of those students. She received the Daniel Voyich Community Involvement award.
She hails from the Chippewa Cree Nation, is an active member of the American Indian Council, Society of Indigenous Educators, Tutor for America Read, America Counts, an HRDC volunteer, and so much more.
"I'm a really busy person. I’m always going and I’m involved in a lot of things. So it is cool to get the Community Involvement Award in a way because it was nice to see recognition for all the things that I do,” she said.
Morsette is also a community assistant for MSU family/graduate student housing. How does this 21-year-old senior get it all done?
“I don’t know - I don’t sleep a lot," she laughed.
She received the Daniel Voyich Community Involvement Award. Voyich spent 30 years as Director and Adviser to MSU American Indian and Alaskan Native students. Indeed, education is her passion - education through art.
“I've always loved art. Since I could hold a crayon. I’m always creating. My dad was an artist and I was definitely inspired by him,” she said. “It is really important because it is important to understand the creative side of the brain. Math and science and reading and all, that’s really important, but it’s also really important to be able to problem-solve and think creatively and in hard situations.”
Morsette is from the Rocky Boy Reservation. Her parents moved to Bozeman to go to MSU when she was five years old. She says she grew up able to experience the two different worlds and now she wants to help all people, on and off the reservations learn about each other.
"Something I’m really passionate about being an education major is Indian Education For All which is a Montana education program that helps incorporate Indian culture into the education system,” she said.
She has many goals for the future for herself and her people. She wants to help build unity and make a difference.
"I want to come back to be a teacher on the reservation in Rocky Boy,” she said. "There are obviously problems in the community that I want to help with. I want to start my own art therapy center with ceramic wheels, and a big open studio just for kids to create in. I think art is also a form of healing, especially for native people. It is a big part of our culture. Art is a big way to reconnect."
She says the strong bonds she formed at MSU fueled her dreams and she's inspired by her Native American peers already doing great things.
"We're like a family here at MSU which is super great,” said Morsette. “There's like 700 some Native American students and a lot of us come from different reservations all over Montana and all over the country.”
Morsette plans to graduate next year but says the connections she made at MSU formed the foundation for what looks to be a bright and colorful future.
She says if people take away one thing from her story she wants them to know it doesn't matter where you come from, and she knows it can be hard to leave life on the reservation or your hometown, but she learned it's worth it.
“I’m a totally different person than I was four years ago when I started,” she said. “I’m a better person. You grow so much you learn so much. You meet so many amazing people and make new families. I know with natives it is never ‘bye’, it's 'see you later.'”
Morsette’s major is in Art Education with a minor in Native American Studies.