Scout Holding Eagle-Bushaw of Moorhead is one of 19 Minnesota women appointed to the statewide Young Women’s Cabinet by Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.
Scout, 17, is a junior at Moorhead High School. The cabinet is part of the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota, a public-private partnership of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota to achieve equity in opportunities and improve the lives of young Black, Indigenous and women of color. According to the foundation, cabinet members are selected from communities that experience some of the greatest disparities in opportunities and outcomes.
Active in speech and debate at MHS, Scout credits her father, Andrew Bushaw, for encouraging her to apply for the statewide group. “Participating in speech and debate has gotten me into the kinds of things the Young Women’s Cabinet addresses,” she explains, “both on the state and national level.”
Both of Scout’s parents have been active in many of the same issues. Her father is a field director for the North Dakota AFL-CIO. Mother Jamie Holding Eagle is involved with public health and healthy food access programs like community gardens. They are members of the Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nation, with roots on North Dakota’s Fort Berthold Reservation.
Jamie is in her third year of participating in speech – both in the discussion category, in which she qualified for national competition last year, and in her new event, extemporaneous speech. She took part in last week’s Moorhead-Woodbury Speech Tournament, held here only a week after high school students returned to full-time classes. She is also active in theatre tech, including lighting and set construction.
She is a co-founder of the school’s Progressive Student Alliance. Though its activities have been curtailed by pandemic measures, the young organization has been focusing on making the high school health curriculum more inclusive. They are currently working on a drive to collect ACT and SAT preparatory books to increase access for students preparing to take the pre-college tests. “We hope to tackle diversity in other areas, too,” she says, “including more of the curriculum and mental health issues.”
The Young Women’s Initiative and the cabinet were established in 2015 to help insure that every Minnesota woman has the opportunity to thrive. It has focused on leadership, economic opportunity and safety. At Scout’s first meeting, she reports, the agenda concentrated on how state policy is made and the roles of the legislature and statewide agencies.
She suspects what she learns as a cabinet member will dovetail with her future direction. “I’m not sure of the specifics. I’ll probably get a degree in international relations of public policy,” she says. “Maybe with a minor in theatre.”
– Nancy Edmonds Hanson