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The Many Hats of Michelle

Corey Flood

Michele Janis

Corey Flood, Reporter

Not only is she a full-time student at Northeast, but also a full- time mother, grandmother significant other and president of Oyate, an up and coming Native American club at the college.

Michelle said she is working toward dual majors, Adm. Asst.-Medical; Adm. Asst. – Legal degrees. Her goals include obtaining employment in a tribal facility to assist Native American clients who are dealing with health and legal issues.

“Bring it on,” Janis said when asked about her comfort level as a non-traditional student. “Learning is a lifelong process for anyone, as a non-traditional student we have more life experiences, [and] the younger generation may be more technically advanced but we can all learn from each other.”

One of Michelle’s primary objectives is to help others in need; this is one of her most important values that come from her Lakota upbringing she says. Michelle leads Oyate, and works hard to bring this small group to college awareness, she takes on many roles in assuring the club activities are meaningful and presented with pride.

Michelle has lived in Norfolk, Nebraska for 13 years. She is originally from Scottsbluff, Neb., and is an enrolled member of the Sicangu Oyate of the Great Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.

She graduated from Gering High School and attended Western Nebraska Community College. Michelle’s number one priority is to her family, which consists of her significant other Howard Mesteth and four children. They have two warrior sons in the Army who have both served in the Iraq war, Sgt. Saracco, Robert M. stationed at Fort Irwin CA. and Spec Saracco, Stephan A. stationed at Ft. Riley, Kansas. They have a daughter Melissa who has given them a grandson named Christian and their youngest son Jeffrie, who is a hoop dancer, writer and junior representative of Oyate. Michelle has managed through life and organizational skills to fit so many different interests into her day, she said that some of these roles call for more time and being able to distinguish the “where and when” can be difficult but her family always comes first. She said her biggest satisfaction comes from knowing that she gives her all to each in her household and there is no price to high to pay for love and happiness.

Michelle’s proudest moments as Oyate president comes from the growth and the presentations Oyate has put on, (many under her leadership) she said that when we bring people together for a good cause, this is always a memorable event, when she walks down the halls and someone comments on Oyates activities, these are the things she will remember from her college experience. Michelle represents the proud and strong image women have always held in the Native American culture. She has hopes today’s members become future leaders to spread the beauty and ways of the Native America that was and that exists today. Pilamaya.

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