Winds of Change - College 2017 - 19

FINDING A PLACE

VANESSA JD HEADSHOTS (TOP); COURTESY OF LONYX LANDRY/HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY (BOTTOM)

Jameson D.
Lopez

When Jameson D. Lopez stepped onto the
campus of one of the country's largest
universities, he felt lost. "When I first arrived
at Arizona State University's College of
Education, all the Native faculty had moved
on," he recalls. "I had to go out of my way to
find any other Natives."
Fortunately, Lopez, a member of the
Quechan Tribe from the Arizona-California
border who is pursuing a doctorate in
education, found his way to ASU's American
Indian Student Support Services (AISSS). "I
wandered into this lady's office and started
talking to her," he says. "She had a lot of
brochures for Native student services. After
about a half hour of talking with her, I said, 'I
should know who you are.'" The helpful lady
turned out to be Diane Humetewa, who at
the time was the special advisor on Native
American affairs to ASU President Michael
Crow - she would go on to become the first
Native American federal judge.
For Lopez, the encounter marked the
beginning of his successful graduate school
journey. "I introduced myself to the AISSS
director, Dr. Laura Gonzales-Macias, and I
met Native faculty," he says. One of those
professors, Dr. James Riding In, was
especially helpful. "We're both veterans, and
even though he has no direct links with my
program, he's just interested in helping me."
ASU's Native support services include
hosting more than a dozen student organiza-

Students gather in the Native American
Forum at HSU during the 2017 Region 1
and 2 AISES Regional Conference.

WRAPPING STUDENTS IN SUPPORT
Since 1969, Humboldt State University in
Northern California has taken an interdisciplinary approach to wrapping services
around its Native students. "California has
the most Natives in the U.S., and the densest
population is here in Northern California,"
says Lonyx Landry, Nor Rel Muk Wintu,
aises.org

tions that give the university's 1,200 Native
students a home away from home and offer
mentoring by local Native professionals.
There's also the SPIRIT program, or Student
Preparedness Initiative: Readiness Inspired by
Tradition, a two-week session held before the
start of the fall semester for first-time
freshmen. Many of the students that SPIRIT
reaches are away from their remote reservation homes for the first time, facing the
challenge of adjusting to campus life, gaining
new friends, and identifying possible mentors.
Ultimately, the school's American Indian
student and academic programs are designed
to result in more Native graduates, says
Annabell Bowen, Diné and Seneca, ASU's
director of American Indian Initiatives.
Accomplishing that goal involves a schoolwide network. "We build student success
initiatives with partners across campus in
areas such as financial aid, admissions, and
academic departments," she says.
Lopez is continuing to benefit from ASU's
support services, and recommends that other
Native students make these offices one of
their first stops. "They're now helping my
nephew, Cody Gonzalez," he adds. "The
Quechan Tribe is a dual-state tribe, and
Arizona offers all members the in-state
tuition rate, no matter which side of the
Colorado River they live on. ASU helped
Cody obtain his waiver for in-state tuition so
he can go to college, too."

STEM advisor for the Indian Natural
Resources, Science, and Engineering
Program, or INRSEP. These tribes, which
managed to keep most of their cultures
intact during the worst atrocities committed in the 19th century, banded together in
a grassroots effort to initiate a teacher

education program at HSU. That program,
now known as the Indian Tribal and
Educational Personnel Program (ITEPP), is
one of the nation's oldest initiatives serving
Native students.
"In addition to our Native American
Studies Program, we have ITEPP and

»

2017-2018 SPECIAL COLLEGE ISSUE * WINDS OF CHANGE 19


http://www.aises.org

Winds of Change - College 2017

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