Alexandria Merdanian ’11


Oglala, South Dakota


Alexandria Merdanian is a senior at Red Cloud High School. Attending Red Cloud Indian School since her pre-school days, Alexandria has continuously made the honor roll while staying active in many extracurricular activities such as basketball, volleyball, the dance club and the hand game team. During her junior year in high school, Alex was crown the Miss Omaka Teca princess at the New Year’s powwow, where she represented her tribe and school at powwows across the nation and many other traditional functions during her one-year reign as a jingle dress dancer and hand game player. Currently very active in the Red Cloud community, Alexandria will graduate this spring after 14 years of education at Red Cloud.

Asked and Answered

What has it been like attending school at Red Cloud for so many years?

Red Cloud has always been like a second home to me. I’ve been here almost every day of my life for the last 14 years. Everyone here is really close and it’s great because I always have someone to talk to or to hang out with.

What will you miss about Red Cloud once you graduate?

The teachers here really care about you and they want you to succeed. I’ll mostly miss the people and the closeness that everyone has.

What are your plans after graduation?

All my life I have wanted to be a lawyer, so my plans are to go to college and study political science. I know that by majoring in political science I will be able to work towards a JD. I don’t know exactly where I am going to attend yet as I am still waiting on a few more letters from colleges and scholarships that I have applied to.

Why do you want to be a lawyer?

On the reservation, you don’t even have to have a law degree to represent someone. The tribal government is not as just as it should be. There have been too many convictions in which lawyers don’t even care to remember their client’s names, much less help them the way they should be helped. My plan is to change that, get an education and return home to help my people.

You sound very passionate about your future. Has anyone helped you to get you to where you are now?

Well first, my Uncle Bart who passed away—I was close to him and he believed in me. My mentor from Creighton and all my teachers helped me a lot with guidance towards majors, scholarships and schools. Of course, my parents played a major role in helping me become the person who I am today. I’m a big “daddy’s girl” and can go to him for anything. Plus, my mom works at Red Cloud so it’s always good to have her to talk to after school and everyday. Not very many people here have that. My parents are involved with everything and, because my mom works here, she knows when everything is. I am really grateful to have their support.

So what was it like representing your tribe as the Miss Omaka Teca?

It was great. I got to travel all over and meet so many new people. I loved it. I especially loved playing hand games with my friends and dancing at powwows. The whole experience was exciting. I still love traveling with the hand game team and Dance Club.

Great! So what types of things are you looking forward to next year as you leave for college?

A whole new environment and meeting new people! I have been at Red Cloud my whole life and I feel ready to take on this next step.

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