Erica Noemi Mendez
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Chehalis, WA
Tribe: Enrolled member of Quinault Tribe and Chehalis Tribal descendent
Erica is a member of the Quinault Tribe and is a Chehalis Tribal descendent. The Quinault Tribe, based in the Pacific Northwest, consists of the Quinault and Queets tribes and are descendants of five other coastal tribes: Quileute, Hoh, Chehalis, Chinook, and Cowlitz. Erica is a descendent of the Chehalis Tribe, a branch of the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN).
How does being Native American inspire you?
"Being Native American has inspired me to be a positive roll model through my position of a Native student leader. As stereotypes and stigma continues to effect Native youth it has inspired me to be more focused on my academics, and community involvement to show youth that with the right influence and dedication anything is achievable."
Hometown: Portland, OR
Tribe: Enrolled member of Northern Arapaho Tribe and the Turtle Mountain Chippewa
Cyrus is part of the Northern Arapaho and Turtle Mountain Chippewa tribes in Oregon. The Northern Arapaho tribe, which, has over 9,000 members and is located on the Wind Indian Reservation of Wyoming. Cyrus is also part of the Turtle Mountain Chippewa, which originated in Rolette County, North Dakota.
What’s your favorite aspect of your Native American heritage?
“The part I enjoy most about my native heritage is the sense of community. I love that so many like-minded people gather at events like Native American Student Union. I only knew a couple of people from the community here at UO before I came to school. In the two terms I have been here I’ve met many amazing native students and community members by going to NASU, some of my closest friends.”