Peaceful warrior takes battle to Washington D.C.

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Sheilah Naajibah Dasher’s Navajo name means “woman who has gone to battle.” It is a good fit for the friendly but fierce protector for her People and others who need an advocate.

Dasher has traveled with human rights leader Enrique Morones, gone to Mexico to meet with Subcomandante Marcos at a Native peoples encuentro, and won major awards as a journalist and filmmaker. Now she has a new battleground—Washington D.C.

Born in San Diego, Dasher is an exotic woman whose mother is Diné and father is African-American. She has embraced her Diné heritage and is an effective activist in the Native-American community. Dasher earned her AA degree in journalism at Southwestern College and expects to complete a BA in women’s studies at CSU San Marcos in the fall.

“After that the possibilities are endless, perhaps get my Master’s, start work in the journalism field, a government job, or social work,” she said. “I don’t like to make long-term goals because I like to leave my options open. In the fall I am planning on applying for two other internships, one for Ms. Magazine in the public relations department.”

This summer the former SWC Student of Distinction Award winner will intern with the Washington Internships for Native American Students in the nation’s capitol. She will begin as a USAID intern. She discovered the internship when she attended Graduate Horizons, a program for undergraduate Native-American students.

“I knew that this opportunity would be another blessing for me and would perhaps open doors to a brighter future,” said Dasher. “I believe the Creator helps those who help themselves, so I knew my hard work had paid off.”

Dasher is actively involved in student affairs, an advocate for women’s rights and a defender of Native American culture. She says the internship will allow her to use skills obtained from her journalism degree.

“She creates change,” said Tommy Devers, Dasher’s colleague and fellow Native-American student at CSU San Marcos.  “Her internship in DC will only help provide her with additional tools to use in the future.”

Dasher said her mother is her biggest support system and fan.

“My main mentor is my mother,” she said. “My God Aunt Sparrow Narcomy, she is my spiritual adviser and I look at her as successful because she is the happiest, most centered person I know in the midst of any adversity.”

Dasher’s professors see her potential and strong-willed nature in achieving her academic and career goals.

“Sheilah Dasher has a presence on campus, and that is because of her strength in her culture, her abilities as a student, and her passion to lead,” said Devers.

In her free time, Dasher said she likes to frequent the movies.

“My favorite movie is ever changing but I really liked ‘Sucker Punch’,” she said.

“It had so much action and strong female leads. It’s the classic heroine story, where the women save themselves.”

Dasher also finds the time in her impacted schedule to visit the gym.

“I really want to get more physically fit so I can do marathons or the military mud run. I’m really into working hard to achieve my goals, whether I win or not at least I know I tried.”

Dasher’s professors have been impressed by her skills and accomplishments.

“Sheilah excels as a student, both academically and as an activist,” said Lea Burgess-Carland, women’s studies professor at CSUSM. “She was a joy to have in class. Her ability to see between the lines in really analyzing and critiquing the material is exceptional.”

Dasher relishes the opportunity to represent her beloved Diné at Pow Wows and Native gatherings around America as a traditional Navajo dancer, singer and drummer. Next is the big stage of Washington D.C.

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