Office targets Native Americans’ needs

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Acclimation towards student life. Skills for moving on, or for giving back to reservations. Those are the focuses of the Native American Affairs Office at Eastern New Mexico University.

“My prime focus is for my students to graduate with some work ethic and experience,” said Diana Cordova, multi-cultural affairs director at ENMU.

November is recognized by the university as Native American Heritage month.

Through the Native Affairs office, students are able to gain access to information on scholarships, participate in activities that are geared for them, and have an actual office to go to obtain services to help them with college, Cordova said.

The majority of Native American students at ENMU are Navajo, due to the geographical location, though students from all tribes are welcome and encouraged to utilize the program. Through the multicultural affairs program, students affiliated with the Native Affairs office are able to interact and work with others, providing them with real life skills and experience, Cordova said.

“They need to learn to incorporate themselves into other cultures besides their own,” Cordova said.

By providing information, social events and academic advising, the Native Affairs office provides students a place to go and seek services to make their experience at ENMU successful, said Native Affairs director Laura Shorty.

“Each of us (in the Native Affairs office) always find it very important (for students) to have a great experience here at Eastern,” Shorty said.

The Native Club is also another aspect that has been developed through the office as a tool to help the students. Through the club, social events are held for students to mingle and socialize. It is also an outlet to help the students transition to school life, deal with homesickness and help they may need, Shorty said.

“It gives them (students) a good experience and a positive image towards school,” Shorty said.

Many of the students that pass through the doors of the Native Affairs office return to their reservations or tribal affiliations to teach or work. A majority of the degrees that Native American students obtain are biology degrees, while others pursue degrees in social work and engineering, Shorty said.

At a glance:

Native American Heritage Month Events

What: Drum: The Heartbeat of Native America
When: Tonight
Where: Campus Union Building Ballroom
Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

What: Native American Heritage Film Day
When: Friday
Where: Sandia Room – CUB
Time: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

What: ENMU Native American Pageant
When: Nov. 12 – 14
Where: Becky Sharp Auditorium
Time: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

What: Bosque Redondo Presentation by Doc Elder
When: Nov. 15
Where: Becky Sharp Auditorium
Time: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

What: Apache Voices Presentation
When: Nov. 29
Where: Sandia Room – CUB
Time: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Please RSVP for luncheon by Nov. 27th.

Information: Contact the Native Affairs Office 562-2470.