Meet Nadira Sage Mitchell: Native American, Conservationist, Wildcat
Nadira is reaching out and speaking out on behalf of the people and wildlife that call the tribal lands of the Southwest home.
Major: Natural Resources
Graduating in: 2023
From: Tucson, Arizona
Nadira is a Natural Resources major focusing on Wildlife Conservation and Management. Inspired by family and her Navajo roots, she is working to protect desert wildlife and preserve Native American lands.
What are you most passionate about?
My passions are advocating on behalf of wildlife, Indigenous people, tribal public policy and Native lands. I hope to take on the challenge of changing what Native American leadership, conservation, and land stewardship will look like, centering on Indigenous wisdom, strengthening relationships to land, and our responsibility to future generations.
What keeps you motivated?
My family keeps me motivated because they have overcome struggles and hardships so that I can follow my passions. They inspire me to complete school and give back to my community. My friends also motivate me because we have like-minded goals to make our families proud and serve our community. I like to surround myself with people who want to make a positive difference because we inspire each other.
Tell me about your background and heritage.
I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, so I love the Sonoran Desert. My Mom is Navajo and grew up on the Navajo reservation, and my dad is white, and he grew up in Illinois. My parents met in Tucson while my mom was going to the University of Arizona. While growing up, I would always visit my Navajo relatives on the reservation and in Winslow, Arizona.
What has been the most rewarding part of being a student at Arizona so far?
The most rewarding part is being able to make connections and form a sense of community. Growing up in Tucson, I was one of only a few Native American kids in my schools, so it has been fun making friends with other Native students here at the university. I was also able to help create a student-run organization with other Native peers on campus called American Indian Student Initiatives. Our mission is to help reduce environmental injustice issues in Native communities.
What advice would you give to future Wildcats?
My advice to future Wildcats is not to overwhelm yourself with classes and extracurricular activities; make sure you have time to rest and focus on yourself, so you don’t burn out.
The University of Arizona is proud to be named a top school for indigenous students by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. Fueled by ambition and resources like Native American Student Affairs, our Indigenous students are empowered to achieve their boldest dreams.