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Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Internship: The Relationship between Native Americans and the Department of Justice
Noel Kaleikalaunuoka'oia'i'o Soma was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai'i. Upon completing high school, she decided to leave home for something bigger and decided to go to Northern Arizona University to study Political Science and Applied Indigenous Studies. It is here that she found her passion for working with at risk Indigenous communities and created a path of doing so while still in school. She is one of the founding members of the Applied Indigenous Studies student organization, CHEI (Connecting Higher Education Indigenously) Club, the first Native Hawaiian to ever hold the title of Miss Indian NAU, and has participated in various academic conferences and internships. Two summers ago, Noel was awarded a position with the Department of Justice Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Outreach Internship. She was trained to file claims and educate the Native American population of the 4 corners region about uranium mining and the possibility of filing a claim if one was affected by the aftermaths of radiation exposure during the Cold War. From her experience, she has written a competition placing paper and spoken in multiple conferences and classrooms about RECA and the experience of working with such agency. Upon completing her undergraduate degrees this May, Noel will be going to law school at Lewis and Clark specializing in federal Indian law and environmental law. It is her life goal to serve the Native communities of the world.