The American Indian Resource Center (AIRC) Elder-in-Residence is a community elder that works toward fostering the cultural, social, spiritual, academic, and intellectual experience of the American Indian and Alaska Native students at the University of Utah. The Elder-in-Residence strives to meet the unique needs for Native American students to create a welcoming climate, respect, and value of Indigenous perspectives, spirituality, life ways, and to create a safe space for Indigenous students. Overall, the Elder-in-Residence furthers the American Indian Resource’s mission and vision to:

  • Celebrate Indigenous knowledge,
  • Validate Indigenous practices and ways of knowing,
  • Reinforce American Indian identity and affirm American Indian students,
  • Raise awareness of Native culture with the university campus, and
  • Foster relationships between American Indian communities and the University.

The Elder-in-Residence works closely with the center’s programming such as the CIRCLE Program, the University of Utah Pow Wow, AIRC Graduation, and more.

Emeline Natchees Root

2023-2024 Elder-in-Residence

Emeline is an enrolled member of Ute Indian Tribe, Uintah Band and was raised in a ‘Ute language first’ speaking home.  She currently holds the positions of Ute Language, Culture and Curriculum Coordinator and Ute Language Instructor at Uintah River Charter High School in Fort Duchesne, Utah. Emeline has a Ute language Teaching Certificate from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. Emeline believes in continuing the language for generations to come.

Nino Reyos

Nino Reyos

2022-2023 Elder-in-Residence

Nino Reyos is a Certified Social Worker who focuses on substance abuse and mental health treatment. He is a member of two Native American Tribes- Laguna Pueblo and Northern Ute. Nino practices some of his Native American Cultural ways.  Nino currently works as a CSW at Sacred Circle Behavioral Health, he had worked at the Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake, and at Medication Assisted Treatment Programs. Nino graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Nino enjoys doing cultural activities such as making Native American flutes, playing the flute, and enjoying the outdoors.