Dunlap brothers have overcome cultural and economic obstacles
on their journey through life and hope to return to Carlton
County to share their talents.
brothers Caleb and Jared Dunlap graduated from the University
of California at Los Angeles in 2009, and their sights are now
set on medical school. But, the two say, they've come long way
were born in 1983 to Patricia and Craig Dunlap and grew up on the
Fond du Lac Reservation with one older sister, Rebekah, and two
older brothers, Jeremiah and Jacob.
up in a large family, as well as with many relatives, provided a
foundation," said Jared Dunlap. "The foundation was built on teachings,
stories, history and prayers. My mother and father wanted to provide
us with a consistent childhood where we could grow up close to our
relatives and also with friends who we would know from the time
we were young until we were adults."
and Caleb started out at Churchill Elementary School in Cloquet.
can remember that I was shocked to know there were so many other
kids outside of my home, my neighborhood, and my reservation," Caleb
Dunlap said. "Though I was scared at times that I would not fit
in, I can remember my mother always instilling in the two of us
that 'no matter what situation you two find yourselves in, God has
given you each other for a reason and no matter what, you have one
Dunlap also credits the help and support of the Indian Education
liaisons in the district, especially the late Pat DeFoe.
never stopped me from asking any questions that I may have had at
my early inquisitive age, and she encouraged us to talk about our
Ojibwe history and culture," he said.
Dunlap brothers attended Cloquet Middle School and Cloquet Senior
High School, graduating with the class of 2001.
our younger years, it was fairly evident how natives were treated
different than the non-native students," Jared Dunlap said. "I never
was in Gifted and Talented programs growing up, but I still turned
Being a first-generation college student, from
a low income and minority background, it was not often we got the
privilege to experience the plethora of books, travel, museums and
more. Instead, imagination and dreams drove my success."
and Caleb's eldest brother, Jacob, was the first in the family to
go to college and, in doing so, gave the others motivation to do
choice in doing that would forever change my thoughts toward going
to college and believing that Native Americans could pursue higher
education," Jared Dunlap said.
Dunlap brothers ended up in Sacramento, Calif., where their father
lives, and in November 2006, they applied to UCLA. In May 2007,
they each received their acceptance letter.
the twins, learning at college went two ways.
there is an imbedded stereotype about Native Americans that we are
drunkards, impoverished, lazy, or that we all look a certain way,"
Caleb Dunlap said. "Throughout my college experience I believe I
served to educate and help a large amount of people to see that
native people are fluid in their identity and that we always have
been and will continue to be intelligent parts of our own society
and within the rest of society.
thing I always remind myself of still is 'Always respect the image
of yourself among others because you never know if that is the first
time those people have ever met a Native American person," he said.
two also appreciated the diversity of races, ethnicities, economic
backgrounds, sexualities and personalities of the international
student body at the school.
would be times where I would be standing at the top of Janess Steps
and realize that I was standing where John F. Kennedy and Martin
Luther King Jr. gave profound speeches to UCLA and L.A. community,"
Jared Dunlap said.
Dunlap brothers were among only 40 American Indian students in a
student body of about 40,000, but they found kindred spirits by
joining the American Indian Student Association. Both admit, however,
that it was challenging being 1,500 miles from Minnesota.
did not know where I was going to get the next tuna casserole, bratwurst
or wild rice hot dish," Jared said, "but I soon found that carne
asada tacos, pad thai and chicken with waffles complement the kinds
of meals we ate back home."
and Jared Dunlap graduated from UCLA in spring 2009 with degrees
in American Indian studies, with a focus in pre-health/medicine.
An accident after graduation caused Caleb to return home to Minnesota,
where he ended up working at Fond du Lac Human Services helping
on task forces for suicide prevention, diabetes and youth tobacco
policy. Jared worked for the California Rural Indian Health Board
as an epidemiology research assistant for the California Tribal
summer, both were involved in the Native Americans Into Medicine
Program through the Center for American Indian and Minority Health
at the University of Minnesota Duluth Campus School of Medicine.
are now back in California, preparing to take their entrance exams
for the next phase of their education.
plan to pursue master's degrees in public health and are currently
testing for that program. Afterward, they hope to pursue a medical
degree, working in family medicine, back home on the Fond du Lac
Reservation, they hope.
know my future lies in health care and helping to restore balance
and wellness to my own life, that of my family, and of my tribal
community," Caleb Dunlap said.