Voices of TNT

Celena Garcia

Tohono O’odham

American Indian Studies


Getting the opportunity to be a part of the Tribal Nations Tour was such an amazing experience. Having lived in Arizona all my life it was an unforgettable learning and growing experience to not only visit the other tribal communities within the state, but have the honor of speaking and hopefully encouraging them to pursue higher education.  The entire trip was truly a reminder as to why it is so crucial to persist through homesickness, foreign environments, and new challenges because as a young Indigenous student it is important to set positive examples to let young ones know that anything is possible and despite their circumstances, they are resilient and capable of anything they put their mind to. As much as the trip was for the students, it also gave me more motivation and an even deeper desire to continue on with my educational career and one day return home and help my community. It was an experience that I am truly grateful for and one that will stay with me for life. 


Raquel Manuelito


Dance Education

Hello, my name is Raquel Manuelito. I am a fourth-year dance education major for the Herberger Institute. After I graduate with my Bachelor of Fine Arts, I will be a certified secondary dance teacher. With my degree it has always been a goal of mine to be a dance teacher on the reservation. After the Tribal Nations Tour, I am open to teaching on any reservation; before I was scared to even approach my own tribe. I grew up in northern phoenix as a city kid and when I finally moved to the reservation during my sophomore year in high school, I was culturally lost. I have now accepted that I am both the city and the reservation. This tour pushed me to conclude that I am Native American no matter where I came from or what knowledge I have. There is always room to learn and grow as a student, leader and most importantly as a person. I am ready to be a future educator thanks to my new Native ASU family. 


Kaitlyn Begay



If I could describe my experience with the Tribal Nations Tour, there would not be enough words to say how this trip truly impacted me. As a first-time freshman just finishing up the semester here at Arizona State University, I got in check with myself. Grades? Check. Finals? Check. Involvement on campus? Not check. After discovering my absence with the student environment on campus, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to get involved with the culture and meet new people. Not long after, I found a position to be a mentor for one of the programs (INSPIRE) provided by the university. As soon as I completed my application, I was offered the position right away. With this being my first engagement with other American Indian students, not going to lie, I was anxious. However when completing the summer program as a Peer Mentor, I was comforted by the diversity that us students share that make ASU what it is. A month later, I was then invited to come along with other students on the Tribal Nations Tour. I could not deny the offer, after my positive experience with the previous program, I thought that this opportunity would allow me to connect with other students who may or may not have had similar interests. The Tribal Nations Tour not only shaped my communication with other students but also gave me the chance to influence youth on further education. In the time I was on tour, I enjoyed exploring other American Indian communities that I have not visited before. This resulted in me getting in check with the uniqueness that each community had to offer for its own people. Since making multiple stops at different schools in various towns, getting the time to see and witness the youth who embrace us students as someone they look up to is motivating. For me, it made me regain my purpose as to why I made my choice to attend ASU. From hearing other stories from fellow TNT members to the developed team effort we built, I made new friends in a matter of time. The impact that TNT brings is inspiring, from this experience I made a promise to put myself out there. From my confidence being at an all time low, TNT changed my outlook to expand my academic career. I will take this trip as a memory and as stepping-stones that will help benefit me in years to come.

Eric Woody,


Community Health

The Tribal Nations Tour (TNT) was an inspiring and uplifting program. It was an honor traveling throughout the Western states with my fellow Native Sun Devils.  I was also presented with the opportunity to get to know my peers on a personal level and hear their inspirational stories and their journey of becoming a Sun Devil. The highlight of the program was traveling into the rural communities, seeing how ecstatic each student was to learn about education beyond high school graduation. Every stop along the trip was filled with new experiences and teachings from each tribe. The Tribal Nations Tour (TNT) reinforced the idea of hope for our future generations and communities. The hopes and dreams of the students reminded me why I am attending school and the importance of my work. The Tribal Nations Tour (TNT) was an unforgettable experience that I hold close to my heart and I highly encourage Native students to partake in it.



Gabriel Garcia

Tohono O’odham

Global Tech & Development MS

2019 Tribal Nations Tour Testimonial

This year's Tribal Nations Tour made another change to my life. There was time for exploration of local communities I’ve never witnessed before. There were opportunities to interact with children of various ages, whether those interactions were to get them engaged, to entertain, or to simply connect and interrelate. We got the chance to make new friends through the program, discovering others we’ve never seen before on campus and quickly bonding with one another. Additionally, each of us received the opportunity to return to each of our tribal communities and I believe that is where I felt the greatest effect of this program. As a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation, I am so happy we visited my tribe’s high school and community college. It was the most impactive I felt, having an audience of my specific Indigenous background. I knew they could relate to me, I knew they would listen to me, I knew I could have an indefinite influence on them because they were listening to another O’odham. After our presentation, I and the 2 other Tohono O’odham ASU ambassadors received feedback from the staff of the school, describing how our visitation and speeches will influence the students to pursue opportunities past high school now that they’ve witnessed other O’odham attending higher education. It was heartwarming and sentimental. I question if I would be who I am today if I didn’t participate in last year's TNT. I believe this program is not only influential to Indigenous people outside of ASU, but especially to those that take the initiative to participate in Tribal Nation’s Tour. It makes us participants a model to many and an unanticipated, lifelong family.

Kameron Granger


Exercise & Wellness

Before the Tribal Nations Tour 2019, I would hear amazing stories from friends and the staff here at the Office of American Indian Initiatives that went on the trip the year prior. So finally experiencing it for myself, I can say it was incredible. I am originally from Northern Arizona and having the privilege to visit the communities in Southwestern Arizona for the first time was an enlightening and powerful experience. On one hand, I was able to help fulfill TNT’s purpose of promoting higher education and engaging students of what to expect after high school. On the other hand, I was given the opportunity to learn about different environments and cultures. Most importantly, I had the chance to give back to various tribal communities by sharing my story of how I ended up at ASU. My favorite part of contributing to TNT were the skits my group handled. I was able to break out my acting skills and make the crowd laugh. I believe everyone needs positivity in their life and sharing that with each of the kids was uplifting. In the beginning, I struggled the most with public speaking and still do. But, going with familiar faces on a week-long trip and making new friends along the way was the best way to tackle my anxiety. The whole tour brought tears, laughter, understanding, empowerment and lifelong connections. I hope one day all the kids we encountered along TNT; I make them proud. Overall, TNT was a humbling journey and I would recommend other natives to experience such a great program. Thanks to the TNT-ers of 2019!