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2014 Winter Linfield Magazine

Native Americans explore heritage N ative Americans make up only a small percentage of the Linfield student body, but a group of students is aiming to change that. The Native American Student Association (NASA), chartered in 2012, is raising awareness on campus and helping students re-examine their own culture. Five students have taken the lead – all with ties to native cultures in Montana. Shelby Hollenbeck ’14 of Gresham is a member of the Assiniboine of Northern Montana. Julianna King ’16, Arianne King ’16 and Nicole Wilson ’16 are all from the Northern Cheyenne tribe in eastern Montana. Faron “Gabe” Iron ’17 is from the Crow tribe, also in eastern Montana. The five are taking leadership roles in NASA, which has attracted some two dozen members, not all from a native background. For Hollenbeck, helping organize NASA awakened an interest in her heritage. Although she visited family in Montana every year, it wasn’t until high school that she began learning about her culture in earnest. She connected with Jason Rodriquez, multicultural director at Linfield, and he encouraged her to explore her background. As she learns and explores, she’s deepening her connection to her heritage as well as with her mother. “A lot of people in college are learning about different cultures and backgrounds,” she said. “It is important for me to understand my background, my roots and how I am connected to the Native American culture.” Hollenbeck is a reminder that cultural heritage can’t be determined merely by looks. As a blue-eyed blonde, most people don’t think she’s Native American. “NASA is a place where Native American students can feel comfortable and we hope will draw more of them to Linfield,” she said. Hollenbeck served as the first president of NASA, but as she prepared to study abroad in Australia last spring, Wilson and Arianne stepped in as co-presidents with the support of Julianna. The three were close friends since their days at Colstrip High School and their mutual support has been instrumental in their success at Linfield. The three friends were seeking a change and after a visit, Linfield seemed a perfect fit. It has been an adjustment from their 2 0 - l i n f i e l d m a g a z i n e Winter 2014


2014 Winter Linfield Magazine
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