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ASU students travel abroad to share their culture

May 31, 2007

Some students work during the summer, others take classes or travel abroad to study. This summer, six Arizona State University students traveled to Cyprus (Turkey Republic of Northern Cyprus) May 15-20 to take part in an international multicultural festival at Eastern Mediterranean University.

The students, all women from various Native American communities, participated by demonstrating traditional native dance, language, story telling, singing and music. The students had to complete an application to be considered because various skills were required to participate in the festival.

“An eclectic mix of students was selected from the 15 applications we received,” said Phillip Huebner, director of American Indian Programs at the Polytechnic campus. “A doctoral student, several who have held Miss Indian pageant titles and a future lawyer all participated.”

Students’ backgrounds were quite diverse, with representation from Navajo, Paiute, Gila River Indian Community (Pima, Maricopa, Akimel), Isanti Dakota/Dine, Tewa, Hopi, and Hupa/Yurok communities.

Huebner was contacted by Eastern Mediterranean University to help with finding qualified ASU students to represent the various Native American cultures. From the applications, he selected Juanita White, a junior in psychology at ASU West; Karen-Irene (Kimi) Serna, a senior in the American Indian Studies program, Ki-Shan Lara, a doctoral student in Education; Randilynn Boucher, a senior in American Indian Studies; Nikki Borchardt, a student in the College of Law; and Michelle Descheenie, a student in the American Indian Studies program.

Eastern Mediterranean University paid for the group’s expenses.