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Native Youth Pipeline 2012

Elka Medina

" I'm not afraid to speak up, and a lot of our people are shy.

They wanted someone to speak up for them, to speak up for them and do for them, and I thought I was a good person for the job.” -Mary Belardo  

About Me

Miyaxwen, my   name   is   Elka   Medina.   I   m   a   desert   Cahuilla   Indian   and   I   come   from   the   Torres   Martinez   reservation   in   Thermal,   California.   I   love   baking   and   MMA.   When  it  comes  to  these  to  things,  if  I  am  participating  in  something  related  to  it  I  am   completely   engaged   and   focused.   It’s   hard   to   criticize   me   or   distract   me   when   it   comes  to  these  two  things.  They  are  things  that  I  can  honestly  say  that  I’m  good  at   and  I  have  a  passion  for.  I  am  constantly  trying  to  improve  my  performance.  I  watch   TV  shows,  read  books,  and  ask  questions  in  order  to  be  the  best  at  what  I  love  to  do.    


Health Science  

At the  moment  I  am  interested  in  pursuing  a  career  in  medicine.  For  now,  I  am  going   to  school  to  study  pediatric  nursing  and  mental  health.  In  the  future,  I  hope  to  be  a   doctor   involved   in   the   same   things   and   perhaps   some   sort   of   physical   therapy.   I   have  learned  that  sometimes,  it  is  okay  to  be  uncertain  and  everything  will  work  out   for  the  best  in  the  end.    See?  Don’t  I  look  like  a  pretty  great  doctor  already?                                                                  


Native Culture   For as long as I can remember, I always knew where I came from and because of that I am fortunate enough to say that I am a young Cahuilla woman residing on the original land of my peoples on the Torres Martinez reservation. I grew up with a sense of respect and caring nature for everyone around me and also a sense of right from wrong that I believe came from being with my family. Together, we practice the traditional ways of my tribe such as bird dancing that continues to keep the culture alive. A big part of my life, that has lasted with me for the longest, since childhood, has been social justice and activism. As history shows it, mankind has not shown indigenous peoples a helping hand. Even today in the modern world, there are still lands of Native people being taken over and destroyed by the nation’s governing officials. I grew up with a family whose ideas revolved around the progression of Natives and as a result, I too have inherited that state of mind where it is a necessity to question everything, read through every document, be educated, and know your every right in order to not be left in the dust. Unfortunately, especially in my desired occupation, Native Americans are extremely underrepresented. My very distant goal that I plan to complete in my lifetime is to become a chairwoman for my tribe and create a voice for all Natives. The government and many other sorts of officials in the United States have done a really thorough job of making sure Natives are oppressed and unable to move forward. There are many people that are in positions of power within the Native community who are not doing their part to helping us grow. This frustrates me because I have a passion to aid my people and make them stronger and I know that if I do what I can to get educated, I can help us prosper. I want to be involved in a respected and important enough position to make a difference to our community but that is not to say that was an immediate decision. It did, however, take one career day in my sophomore year of high school to realize that nursing was meant for me. My life thus far has leaded me in many directions. Aside from my career paths, my ultimate goal is to do good by the many beings and occurrences on the Earth. Everything I do to contribute to wellness counts, and I don’t do what I believe is good to get a reward; I do it because it makes me feel whole to do the right thing. I want to do my part whether it seems significant or insignificant. I know I am ambitious and I can accomplish many things.


Elka Medina  

A digital book made by a student in the Native American Youth Pipeline to College at Pitzer College and Western University - Summer 2012