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Blending Cultures

Colleen

Allow me to introduce myself: my Tlingit name is DaxKilatch. My name comes from the Head of the Nass River. My parents are Francis and Norma Jean Dunne. I am the child of the Tsimshian through my father's tribe. I am Tlingit Gaanax.adi from the Taantakwaan, people of Tongass. I am also Tsimshian Ggan haa da of Metlakatla on my mother's side (Metlakatla is the only reservation here in Alaska). I was raised in the village of Saxman (outside of Ketchikan city limits) for the better half of my childhood and spent most of my summers in Metlakatla with my beloved grandmother, Jessie Ridley. I am also the grandchild of the Teikweidi, Tsimshian, Irish, and I have Haida in my bloodline as well. I am very proud of my Native and non-Native heritage! I am also a proud parent of my three children Devon, Kordell, and Corinne, and a proud wife to Lyle James, Kaagwaantaan of Hoonah.

I recently graduated with my B.L.A. from UAS, and I am currently looking into a master's degree program. I am the coordinator for the Native & Rural Student Center, an academic advisor, and advisor for the student club Wooch.Een.

As coordinator for the Native and Rural Student Center, I provide services to assist Native and Rural students adjust to college life here at UAS. We offer staff and support services to help improve Native student success and retention rates in higher learning. This is done through academic advising and support, assistance with registration, course selection and scheduling, as well as peer advising, mentoring, and special orientations.

The Center offers opportunities and special events on and off campus to help develop leadership skills in its student members. It is a place for students to meet, form friendships, receive support and peer mentoring.

The Center sponsors leadership activities, scholarship fairs and other gatherings where student participation is highly encouraged. For example, we host the UA Native Oratory Society contest at UAS, where students compete in a professional forum while speaking on topics of importance to the Native community.

Wooch.een, the Alaska Native students' club (which means, "working together" in the Tlingit language) has played an important role in planning and hosting student events at UAS and in the Juneau Community at large.

Wooch.een hosts several major events each year, including lectures by distinguished Native authors and scholars during Native American Heritage month in November. These and other social events help integrate the community and foster a better understanding of Native history, cultural and social issues. The organization has done a great deal to promote academics, student retention and leadership on campus.

In addition to the coordinating and advising portion of my position, I also support and work with the TRIO Student Support Services program, the UAS PITAS (Preparing Indigenous Teachers for Alaskan Schools) scholars, Early Scholars at Juneau Douglas High school, Juneau Youth Correctional students, and the All Nations Children dance group.