Associate in Business DTA
A member of the Yakama Nation Tribe, Lahoma Doublerunner was born in Yakima and has lived her entire life on reservation lands near Wapato, WA. After graduating from high school in 2001, Doublerunner began working at Legends Casino, first in Human Resources and later in the Table Games Department as a dealer. When she became pregnant with her son in 2014, she had complications, which required her to spend the majority of her time on bedrest, ultimately unable to continue working. After her son’s birth, she returned to work a series of retail jobs, ultimately returning to Legends Casino. She quickly realized she would need additional education to provide a good income for her family.
“I am what you call a front-line employee because as a blackjack, roulette, and craps dealer. That subjects me to working nights, weekends, and holidays. Being a single mother, I quickly realized the hardships of working the casino night shift schedule. This is when I made the decision to continue my education,” stated Doublerunner.
In the spring of 2017 she enrolled at Yakima Valley College. Her unique experience working in the casino made her interested in pursing a transfer degree in business administration. She has been very successful in her coursework, maintaining a 3.78 GPA. In addition, she maintains two jobs, one as a dealer for Legends Casino and the second as an office assistant for Catholic Charities, where she works for the volunteer services program that coordinates volunteers to do chore work for lower-income elders and disabled adults.
On campus she has appreciated the knowledge and respect given to her by her advisors and instructors. She is especially grateful for the opportunity to take courses with Dr. Wallace Strong. She states, “As a member of the Yakama Nation, it was a joy and pleasure to be able to take two Ethnic Studies courses with Tribal Elder Dr. Wallace Strong. For one of these courses I had to do a class project that had to do with my identity and I was able to do research on my family. It was amazing to learn that one of my ancestors, Antoine Miller, was a student at the first Native American boarding school in the country. It was also a somber lesson of what my ancestors endured because they lived differently compared to the white Christian. Recently, I was able to apply the knowledge I learned in Dr. Strong’s course to a case the Yakama Nation has with the United States Supreme Court, having to do with our sovereignty, which the Treaty of 1855 guarantees, and tax issues with the State of Washington.” Doublerunner relates another story of seeing the Chairman of the Yakama Nation denied access to a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court hearing because he refused to remove his traditional headdress, writing: “It wasn’t until one morning I was braiding my three year old son’s long hair that it dawned on me: the United States Government back in the 1800’s tried to demoralize my people by ripping them of their beliefs and say that we could wear and not wear. In 2018, they are still trying to tell us how to dress and how to act accordingly as a United States citizen. After this realization, I was able to post my feelings on the Yakama Nation Tribal members’ page. I believe that I was able to share the knowledge that was given to me in my American Ethnic Minorities course.”
Doublerunner graduates this spring with an associate in business degree. She hopes to transfer to the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business. After earning a bachelor’s degree she plans to return to the area and become a leader within the tribe.