Where did you live before coming to Portland State University?
I’m from Tomalia, Arizona. It’s a tiny, tiny town on the reservation in Arizona. I’m not even from there, I’m from around there.
And what is your heritage?
Diné, most commonly known as Navajo. I’m trying to bring Diné back, because Navajo was given to us as a tribe. Diné is what we call ourselves.
What are some of the differences between your home and PSU?
When I was home the commute to school was between 45 minutes to an hour long. And now it’s like five minutes. There my closest neighbors were a mile away. Here it’s like 15 feet away. So there’s definitely big differences.
Can you tell me a little bit about the community that you found once you got here?
I think here there’s a lot of support because everyone’s in the same boat. We’re all away from home, and we find support in each other. We are the smallest group as far as representation on campus. We’re 1% of the population. So I think it’s really important for us to seek our support with each other.
When you’re not doing homework, what kinds of interests do you have?
I’ve never been exposed to opera and symphonies and musicals until recently. My favorite musical is In the Heights. And I like going bike riding and hiking with my partner or my family when they’re up here. I do beadwork a little bit.
Can you describe your experience of diversity at PSU?
I feel like the diversity of PSU was a big draw for me to come, because I’ve never had that experience. Everyone I went to school with, everyone that I communicated with back home was Diné. So when I came here, it was a huge difference, even in my thought process. My first term I remember being very shy but eventually opening up and sharing my thoughts. I think that a lot of people did benefit from my experiences.