Ten questions with Tsianina

Through the same program that brought intern Gabby Murnan to our office, we’ve been pleased to also welcome Tsianina Whitetree as an intern. Read on to learn more about Tsianina (pronounced “chuh-nee-nuh”), who is wrapping up her first few weeks at Tepa.

  1. Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself.

I am from Topeka, KS. I have four brothers and am the only girl. I am an enrolled member of Seneca-Cayuga Nation located in Grove, OK. I am also Prairie Band Potawatomi, Creek, Seminole, and Kickapoo. Tsianina is pronounced “chuh-nee-nuh,” which means “Woman of Great Strength” in Creek. I recently graduated from Haskell Indian Nations University.

I have a dog named Win, which is short for Winsakeekyago (ween-saw-keek-yaw-go). It means “Pretty Girl” in Potawatomi.

  1. How did you pick a college to attend?

I chose Haskell Indian Nations University because of the small, intimate classes, as well as the culture and people that are similar to me. Haskell is a tradition in my family. My grandparents attended high school at Haskell, and my parents attended while it was a community college.

  1. Tell us about your time in college.

Throughout my college career, I have attended many different schools. I began my college career running cross country and track at Johnson County Community College then transferred to continue running at Allen County College and earned an associate degree. I decided to attend Haskell Indian Nations University and pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

At Haskell, I was briefly on the cross country and track teams. I was heavily involved in the mock interview process that is supported by Walmart and Sam’s Club every semester. After being an interviewee in spring 2015, I accepted an internship with Sam’s Club last summer. During my last year at Haskell, I helped coordinate the event for two semesters. It was a fun experience I was glad to be a part of.

  1. What does your internship with Tepa and Travois mean to you?

This internship is special to me because it is a Native American internship. As a recent graduate of a Native American university, I appreciate Tepa and Travois for embracing Native American culture and people.

  1. What do you hope to learn in your internship?

During this internship, I hope to learn which direction and field I am interested in taking my career. One of my future goals is to attend graduate school to earn an MBA. I think it’s important to continue education past a bachelor’s degree.

  1. What other jobs have you held?

For seven years, I have worked part-time in various restaurants. Currently I work at Johnny’s Tavern West in Lawrence as a bartender/server. Working in fast-paced, pressured environments like restaurants has taught me to stay patient in difficult situations.

  1. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

In 2012, while I was competing at Allen County College, I went to NJCAA Indoor Championships. There I earned the title of a national champion and All-American in the 5,000-meter run with my fastest time of 18:37. It was a feeling of great joy and accomplishment I would not be able to recreate.

Fill in the blank:

  1. My favorite place I’ve traveled was: Greece! I just visited there for spring break! It was beautiful!
  2. My favorite holiday is: Indigenous Peoples Day. This holiday has officially replaced Columbus Day on the second Monday in October in Lawrence and many other cities in the U.S.
  3. I’d love to meet: Ariana Grande! I think she’s an amazing singer, and I think she and I could be best friends.