Molita Yazzie, Inaugural Haury Native American/First Nations Oxford Scholar
Molita Yazzie, from the Navajo Nation in northeast Arizona, grew up without manufactured toys, reading everything she could with the desire to improve her life and those of her children. Her life has been an example of hard earned victories, from living in a dirt floor shack as a child with no electricity or running water, to working full-time as a single mother while completing college.
“Even before I knew what the term social science meant, I was captivated by the rules and structure of society. My path to the study of the social order was influenced by my life experiences, the inspiration to make a difference was inspired by various activists because I could relate to their angsts. Academically, I was inspired by my aunt Marie Helen Yazzie; she was the first person that I knew personally to graduate from college. I was very proud of her; it was then that I too wanted to wear a master’s hood on that podium. In following her footsteps, I hope to inspire all disadvantaged children who do not know that they should dream big in spite of their circumstances.”
After Yazzie obtained an associates degree in arts and general studies, she went on to complete a Bachelor’s in Sociology with a minor in American Indian Studies at Arizona State University. In August 2015, Yazzie will complete a Masters of Administration in Health Science and a Graduate Certificate in Public Management at Northern Arizona University. “Being a statistic many times over has always been a motivator in continuing my education.”
The Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice is providing the financial support through an Oxford University Scholarship to assist Ms. Yazzie realize her vision of equalizing society. “Indigenous people voices are not represented when the very policies that affect them are made, this absence of political voice results in social injustice and disparities for many indigenous groups. Studying at Oxford will supplement my knowledge of the anthropology of social constructs, with this knowledge; I will be more prepared to offer solutions where social injustice and inequalities are concerned. Aside from academics, I am looking forward to learning about the viewpoints about environmental and social justice issues from the collective diversity of Oxford University. I chose Oxford University because I wanted to experience the world class education that it offers and to experience the diversity of the people.”
Yazzie will complete a one-year Master of Science in Social Anthropology at Linacre College, Oxford University. “Being an Oxford Alumnae will afford me the opportunities that will improve social conditions in indigenous communities, specifically in the area of advancing and improving social science research, where research opportunities are lacking.“
Yazzie hopes her research abroad will help her share her knowledge to address complex societal issues in the Navajo and Hopi nations. Her goal is to localize services to improve research and evaluation of needs of both communities.
The Agnese Nelms Haury Native American First Nations Oxford Scholarship provides support (tuition fees and living costs) for indigenous students from the United States and Canada to study for a one-year taught Masters degree at Oxford University.