Welcome students attending this year’s Native Youth to College Pitzer Program. My name is Mika Zephier, and I will be one of the mentors for the program. I am Dakota/Lakota from the Standing Rock Sioux in North Dakota. I graduated from Sherman Indian High School in Riverside, CA. I am a sophomore in college at Cerro Coso and will be receiving my Business Degree this upcoming spring. I look forward to meeting all of you.
My commitment to telling the indigenous youth who are thinking about attending the Pipeline Program or thinking about going to college: I will share at my school first to reach out to my high school about the college summer programs, not only share with my classmates but my National Honor Society, friends, and anyone to who asks questions on what I’ve been involved with. My goal is to get to college, and I’ve motivated myself to make new connections in the Indian community around the world. I’d like to share my experiences and offer those opportunities to help you apply too! As royalty and a senior, I want to be a role model for others and show them the guidance, motivation, and support. I never really looked up to anyone. I pictured myself who I wanted to be, and now I’m proud I’ve come so far. Still long ways to go but I know I’ll get through it.
The common application is an easy way to learn how to fill out your application and how to type your essays for college. It’s really helpful! I’ve already started my essay prompts and hopefully be finished with the final essay before I start my senior year! Students prepare yourself by making notes and rough drafts and start the account to get started! Don’t forget to ask for help! It’s important to start looking at college when you get to high school it will give you some guidance to stick with the curriculum and requirements. Also research them and see what they have to offer for you and what you would like to major in to lead you to your future career. Take a tour! It’s important to write a strong essay because there is a lot of young adults who are gonna be applying and it’s going to be competitive. Some tips to get you though the essay process. Start with some rough drafts, brainstrom for a bit, and ask for a friend to look at it or a teacher. Telling your own story in the essay can be hard for some but write what you think is best for you to tell the college why they deserve you. Be honest and confident. You can do it!
Today was a very spiritual day for all the indigenous youth. Felt good to take a stand for the protest for our indigenous rights! We sang and walked, not only for ourselves but fo reveryone who needed it the most. I was glad to see the community cheering us on and reading our posters for what we think is right, today we had a purpose and that was to make a change! #IDLENOMORE
Preparing myself for a successful and meaningful life:
I could do this in so many ways just by being me. Staying with my culture and not letting it fade away. I’m still learning the songs, dances, and stories. I will continue to carry them on for my ancestors by being apart of ceremonies and speaking Dakota/Lakota.
Another great experience in the books! From Pitzer College to Wishtoyo, Malibu. I feel so grateful for the elders who shared their wisdom, the teachers who encouraged me to further my education to college, and the people who provided for me. I got to create my own clapper which i burned and painted myself. That were used for ceremonial songs and dances. I was able to go and enjoy the beach and touch the cold water. Got hit with a couple waves. At the end of the day we sat by a fire with elders and shared each others voices, songs, dances, stories & together we shared memories. By the end of midnight we slept in aps and feel asleep to the warmth of the fire. The next morning we woke up to the sunrise and had their traditional ceremony. I loved it. I felt so much love from the Chumash people. Being able to enjoy our day with them, opened my eyes to be grateful and love each other and take risks. Wish I could’ve stayed longer. Represented my tribe Standing Rock Sioux and also my school Sherman Indian as Royalty. Hopefully next year I’ll recruit others to attend! I know I had a great memories in such short time. But we had to say our “Seen you Soon” because we never say goodbye. Thank You.
It’s important for Native Youth to tell their stories because it’s apart of our tradition and be able to have our own voice. Indigenous Youth addresses all their issues with stories and stick together to make a change. My story is still being written.
My favorite movie is Dreamkeeper because an old storyteller travels with his grandson on his old pony to Albuquerque to the great powwow. While traveling, Grandpa tells mysterious tales of love, friendship and magic.
In the future I plan to attend UCLA as a student and join the Recreation activities and clubs offered. In my free time after studying. I would going to the gym, basketball courts, swimming, volleyball courts, tennis courts, soccer fields, and surfing lessons. You could have access to take a bunch of classes like dance and yoga. You are offered all these options and there’s always an event going on to keep you busy and some education activities or to just have time to relax and have fun.
Today was a beautiful day in the rain! I also had fun being able to learn different ways of being healthy with Native plants and how to cook them. My Favorite part of today was cooking with Kim Marcus and creating our own tea and acorn treats. While learning the benefits of a proper diet. Although the rain stopped our trip to Wishtoyo. So that was kinda sad, but we’re still traveling! I can’t wait! Here I come Malibu!
Now that I’ve been away from home, some of the things I miss are being able to wake up and open my door and see the sunrise and drink coffee with my birth giver. I miss seeing my bulldogs faces. I also miss my younger brother whose birthday I had to miss.
One of things that makes it hard to be away from home is not being able to see my family members faces and voices. One thing that is great about being away from home is being able to experience new things and meet new people that can become great friends later on.
Today was an adventure to listen to other elders stories and to be welcomed on their territories, and being able to listen and share the traditional songs and dances at Mount. Baldy. Also cooking in the morning with my mentor’s group and going through the day with laughter and good vibes.
In my opinion Native Culture in College could go both ways based on the community and whether to take up to learning your college. Attending a college with a low percentage of Native Americans who haven’t really focused on the culture could be hard. Depending on what college you plan to attend. You can either apply to a college that offers a diverse community that includes Native Americans who share traditions. There are some colleges offered for just Native Americans, who promote and help continue the culture to the best of their abilities also. We will always carry the tradition and represent where we come from and who we are. We can’t forget that. So to answer your question. Yes, you can still have your culture within yourself and attend college. Maybe hard but not impossible.
Today was a benefitting day to go to Pomona College and see lots of different Tribal artifacts and admiring someone else’s ways and how they did it. My favorite artifacts were the baby moccasins, all beaded to the fullest and pulled together to make a beautiful colorful design. Which also made me a bit confused that there were pieces without an explanation and no story on whats behind it. There was little knowledge about the artifacts and someday I wish to see these pieces with the tribes who they belong to.