Northern Arizona University welcomes Ora Marek-Martinez as executive director of the Native American Cultural Center.

A member of the Navajo Mountain Cove clan, and originally from the Nez Perce reservation in northern Idaho, Marek-Martinez moved to the Flagstaff area more than 20 years ago. Her husband and three children now consider it home.

Coming from a long lineage of Lumberjacks—dating back to her grandfather who started his education at NAU in the 1950’s—Marek-Martinez herself is a two-time alumna of NAU with a bachelor’s in Anthropology and History and a master’s in applied Cultural Anthropology with an emphasis in tribal cultural resource management. She obtained her Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley in Anthropology-Archaeology with an emphasis in tribal archaeology in 2016.

“Ya’at’eeh! Hello! It is a privilege to serve, support and ensure the success of NAU students through the programming and services provided at the Native American Cultural Center,” Marek-Martinez said. “The NACC is a home-away-from-home for many students and we strive to create a welcoming and supportive place to study, hang out and learn.”

As the executive director of the Native American Cultural Center, she will spearhead the programming of students, faculty, staff and local Native American and Indigenous communities, fundraising for scholarships, events, programs and other NACC goals, strategic planning for the NACC, creating and maintaining of the NAU office of Native American Initiatives Newsletter and overseeing of the NACC budget.

Marek-Martinez will also be teaching Anthropology 405 this spring.

“I hope to repay some of what I gained while going through NAU,” Marek-Martinez added. “It is truly a part of my family heritage and I am honored to join the NAU family.”