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Humans of the U: Nakisha Cielo Mart

“I came to the U because it was heavily interconnected with my community. As a Ute person, there are a lot of scholarships and the tuition rate is very low. Growing up, my community had a lot of pride in the university’s name. And I feel like the school has done a good job of appreciating the Utes, rather than appropriating their culture. 

Right now I am an intern with Student Development and Inclusion within Student Affairs. In my position, I help with a lot of events and campaigns, including “I am U Thriving,” the Ute Proud game, and the Indigenous People’s Day gallery walk. I don’t have a background in event planning, so I have loved these learning opportunities.

For the gallery walk, I really wanted to highlight younger generations of artists. In pop culture, the Native people depicted are often from past times. I wanted art that situated Indigenous people in a modern context. I found an artist who creates skateboards and mixes his work with traditional Indigenous art and I was so excited to showcase him. 

It is really special to be at the U and be a part of creating events that celebrate Native people. As an Indigenous person, there are not a lot of people we can look up to in the world. So to have these events that celebrate our community on campus makes me feel like my identity is not forgotten. And it makes me proud that I am in a position where my opinion is listened to and I can make a difference.”

Nakisha Cielo Mart, diversity fellow with Student Affairs