When Myeekay Notah ’20 set foot on the University of Redlands campus, he didn’t think much about being a part of the Native American organizations on campus. Little did he know that the Native American Student Union (NASU) and Native Student Programs (NSP) would become cornerstones of his college experience.
Towards the end of his first year as a student, Notah was invited to attend a NASU meeting, and the community ended up being just what he needed. “I was pretty shy and quiet, and NASU was a great place for me to meet other Native students,” he says. “The group gave me a sense that I belonged on campus. We’re like family.”
After attending his first NASU meeting, Notah was eager to get more involved. During his second year at Redlands, he became an NSP intern and held posts as vice president and treasurer of NASU. As an NSP intern, Notah collaborated with the NASU cabinet to plan campus events—one of which became a highlight of his college experience so far.
“I really enjoyed planning the annual NASU retreat,” he says. “Members of the Native American Student Programs from University of California, Riverside, came with us to a cabin in the mountains. We all share the common experience of feeling like outsiders as Native Americans, and it was great to meet new people and support each other.”
While supported by and contributing to Native student organizations on campus, Notah is pursuing a degree in creative writing. He notes that his passion for writing began as a middle school student in San Bernardino, California, when he began to write songs and learn how to play music. A seasoned banjo and guitar player, Notah connected songwriting and music to poetry and began to see possible career paths in that area.
“One of my favorite classes was my nonfiction course taught by Leslie Brody,” he says. “I really developed more as a writer in that class, due to the positive feedback and encouragement she gave me.”
During his time at Redlands, Notah says that he has learned a lot about himself, both academically and personally. “As a student, I realized that I want to eventually pursue graduate school,” he says. “And as a friend, I have found that I enjoy getting to know people and make those around me feel comfortable.”
Looking forward, Notah isn’t sure what he will specialize in as a graduate student. But he’s confident that he’ll find his way: “I have a lot of interests that I want to pursue, and these next two years will help define my path.”