Pronouns: She/Her/Hers and They/Them/Theirs
Major: Planning, Public Policy, and Management and a minor in Food Studies
Hometown: Lawten, Oklahoma
Tribe: Chickasaw Nation
Preslee is part of the Chickasaw Nation, which hails from Oklahoma. The Chickasaw nation is a member of The Five Civilized Tribes, and members enjoy a strong community while working with one another to enhance the well being of their nation and celebrating their heritage.
What’s your favorite aspect of your Native American culture?
“My favorite aspect of my Native culture is the resistance and resilience that is inherent in Indigenous blood. I am strong because of knowledge and experiences of my ancestors, family, self, and community.”
Major: General Social Sciences
Hometown: Gresham, OR
Tribe: Gros Ventre (White Clay), Athabaskan
Traven is an enrolled member of the Gros Ventre (White Clay) tribe, which is located in the the north central part of Montana. The tribe, which is also known as A'ani, A'aninin, Haaninin, and Atsina can be found between Missouri River, Montana, to the Saskatchewan River in Canada. Traven is also an enrolled member of the Athabaskan tribe, which is based in Alaska, from south of the Brooks Mountain Range and down to the Kenai Peninsula.
How do you stay involved with your culture?
"I stay involved with my culture mainly by attending social and cultural gatherings and keeping in touch with my family as well as volunteering with the Native Wellness Institute during the summer where I am available, which promotes the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of natives."
Erica Noemi Mendez
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Chehalis, WA
Tribe: Enrolled member of Quinault Tribe and Chehalis Tribal descendent
Erica is an enrolled member of the Quinault Indian Nation and a descendent of The Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Tribal reservation. These coastal Salish Tribes are located in Washington, Pacific Northwest. In addition, Erica is also a descendant of the Musqueam Indian Band in British Columbia, Canada.
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.”