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United Natives: Mentoring Native Americans
United Natives: Mentoring Native Americans

AIR DATE: August 10, 2011

When Crystal Lee was deciding whether to pursue a masters degree, she found out her grandfather had a month left to live.  A Navajo born and raised on the reservation, Crystal was nostalgic for home.  Maybe she should drop the degree and go home?  Her grandfather refused: she needed to get that degree, he said.  That message propelled Crystal through a masters degree and into a doctorate.  But she realized many of her fellow Native Americans were dropping out, and struggling as first-generation students.  So she decided to connect Native American students with Native American professors who could guide them through school.  She calls it "United Natives," and its inaugural class begins this year.  Crystal Lee tells us about the struggle to stay in school, and how Native American mentors can change that.

Crystal Lee, Founder, United Natives
Michelle Chino, Assoc Prof of Environmental and Occupational health, UNLV; mentor, United Natives 

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@ Erminda H: A lot of native parents thought it would be "better" for them to teach us English because they thought it would be easier for us to be more successful in mainstream America. Also, the boarding school days played a large factor in this.
CrystalAug 11, 2011 10:45:50 AM
Wow, that's a tough one. I wish this young woman the best of luck. It may be that she will develop and practice some of the type of health care we desperately need, such as the higher-tech stuff bridged with common sense and more holistic, natural healing. (If so, please pass it on and teach others!) I hope you get to return to the reservation and make it a better place.
artiAug 11, 2011 10:11:41 AM
Why do you think our generation is losing the language when one or both parents speak navajo?
Erminda HernandezAug 11, 2011 09:55:44 AM
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