Valerie Ross Zhaawendaagozikwe

Valerie Ross Zhaawendaagozikwe

Valerie Ross Zhaawendaagozikwe, a current student at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, was awarded the Spirit of Sovereignty Scholarship which is given to well-qualified students attending tribal colleges across the country. Scholarship recipients are selected by their college, and funds can be used for any education-related expense, including but not limited to tuition, books, housing, travel and childcare.
Valerie Ross Zhaawendaagozikwe is a 2011 graduate of the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School in Cloquet, Minnesota, and is a first-year student at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. Valerie is working toward earning an associate of science degree in Environmental Science, an associate of arts degree in American Indian Studies, plus a Certificate in Anishinaabe Language. Valerie, a current Duluth resident, is interested in a career in Ethnobotany and plans to transfer to a four-year college to pursue a bachelor’s degree after graduation from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.
Valerie currently works fulltime as a doula for the Fond du Lac Band Human Services Division community health program. Valerie enjoys helping others through teaching traditional practices, especially with children and infants. Valerie plans to live and work in northeastern Minnesota after completing her college education.
Spirit of Sovereignty is a National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA)-advised fund at the Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF), a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Little Canada, Minn. The Spirit of Sovereignty receives financial support from NIGA member tribes and associate business members, and from individual contributors who want to make higher education a reality for Native American students. For more information, visit


I chose FDLTCC for a fresh start in life. It had been two years since I graduated High School and I wanted more than just working a 9-5. I was living in Florida at the time, and I had an opportunity to travel the world doing what I love playing the game of basketball.

I chose FDLTCC because of its size and the curriculum. When I first came here in 2019, I was just looking for what I needed to volunteer, perhaps in a crisis shelter. I met with Don Jarvinen, and the rest is history.

FDLTCC offered me a supportive environment I couldn't pass up, everyone and everything here at school is trying to help you succeed, from the programs, to the faculty, to the resources.