Native students form club

By Lisa Ferro

Although their culture is dying, Native American students are banding together and starting a new organization aimed at making people aware of their cultural existence.

The Native American organization, started by the organization’s President Jennifer Meness, is still in the growing stage with only a handful of members at this time.

“I started it because there was no ethnic organization for Native Americans and I wanted people to be more aware of their culture,” Meness said.

As Minority Affairs adviser, one of Belinda Tijerina’s goals for the year was to help Meness start the Native American organization.

“It’s about time we finally got one (a Native American organization) on campus, because there’ve been people wondering if we had one,” Tijerina said.

When the organization was still in the thinking stage, Miness said she set up displays at the Mini World Showcase and the Organizational Expo about her interest in starting an organization. Through these efforts, she was able to start the Native American organization.

“It’s an example of how networking works on this campus,” Tijerina said.

Tijerina said according to those students who made race specifications on their applications, Native Americans make up .026 percent of students at NIU. Sixty of the students live on-campus and three live off-campus.

“There are not that many at this campus, but there are enough to form a strong group,” Tijerina said.

However, the organization is already facing a problem, Miness said. The only information available to the group is the percentage of Native Americans at NIU. The actual records are confidential so they organization cannot contact these students personally.