Kat High



Kat High is a Native Californian of Hupa descent. She is the past Chair of the American Indian Scholarship Fund of Southern California. She served as the Director and Program Coordinator for the Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center for over 15 years. Kat is an advisor to the Satwiwa American Indian Cultural Center, The Autry National Center, and the Antelope Valley Indian Museum. Kat is a member of the California Indian Basketweavers Association, and Neshkinukat, the California Indian artists network. She also offers workshops on Native plant uses at the Theodore Payne Foundation, Satwiwa Native American Cultural Center, and home at Kidiwische Corner.

Peter Weiss


Peter Weiss, Treasurer Emeritus
Peter has been with AISFSC since the first Buffalo Feast/ Powwow in the 1960s held at the home of City College President Dr. Fred Wyatt.  Peter volunteered to dig and man the Fire Pit where he was initiated in the traditions of buffalo roasting. As the years went by, the role of Treasurer became difficult to fill until Peter brought his Major in Business from the University of Illinois to administer expenses and proceeds. Under Peter's leadership, sufficient income has been generated to  fund our scholarships and maintain a good financial base. Peter has recently turned 80 years old and remains a cherished board member at large.

Valena Dismukes


Valena Broussard Dismukes, of African, Choctaw, and European heritage, is a Los Angeles based photojournalist with a special interest in portrait, travel, and street photography. She served as a teacher, department head, and mentor teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District 

Dismukes has lectured at several institutions on the topic of Black Indians and is a member of Neskinukat, a California Native American Artists Network. For ten years, she was a volunteer  at Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center in the Angeles National Forest, and currently volunteers with the Love the City Thrift Shop, and the Southeast Symphony. She serves on the board of the Friends of the William Grant Still Art Center and is treasurer of the American Indian Scholarship of Southern California.

JoAnn Semon, President


 JoAnn is the mother of Sam and Robert Semon and of Kimberly Semon Ruiz. She is the grandmother of Sam, Jake, and Gia Semon and of Amanda and Adam Ruiz.

 She was 1976 Woman of the Year for the City of Los Angeles, and she was honored as an American Indian Elder for “Honoring Our Elders” Heritage Month. She worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District for 39 years, and she chaired the American Indian Education Commission for LAUSD. JoAnn is a member of the Los Angeles American Indian Chamber of Commerce, and she is a member and former chair of the Kateri Circle. She is a member of the Office of Ethnic Ministry for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and she is an American Indian representative for the Archdioceses of Los Angeles Catholic Women’s Organization. Soon she will be inducted as a Franciscan Associate. 

Scott Andrews


Scott is the Director for the American Indian Studies Program at California State University, Northridge, where he also is a Professor in the English Department. He teaches courses in American literature, American Indian literature, and American Indian Studies. He has published reviews, essays, fiction, and poetry in various journals. He serves on the editorial boards for two journals: Studies in American Indian Literatures and Transmotion: a journal of postmodern indigenous studies. He is the academic advisor for the American Indian Student Association at CSUN, and he coordinates the annual powwow held there. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of California, Riverside. He is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

In 2018, he received the Educational Service Award from Pukuu Community Cultural Services.

Heather Torres


Heather (San Ildefonso Pueblo, Navajo) is a graduate of UCLA School of Law's Critical Race Studies program,  where she focused her courses and research on Federal Indian law and the  racialization of American Indian identity. During law school, Heather  served as the President of the Native American Law Students Association, Executive Editor of the Indigenous Peoples’  Journal of Law, Culture & Resistance, and Senior Editor of the  Chican@/Latin@ Law Review. Her legal work experience includes serving as  an Udall Foundation intern for the Senate Committee of Indian Affairs, extern with the Children’s Law Center of Los Angeles  ICWA Court, Native American Summer Associate at Procopio, Cory,  Hargreaves & Savitch LLP, student tribal code drafter in the Tribal  Legal Development Clinic, and an UC Public Service Law Fellow with the Tribal Law & Policy Institute 2017-2018. For the  past year, she served as Director of  Native Student Programs at the  University of Redlands. Heather is licensed in the State of California  and currently works for the Tribal Law and Policy Institute as a Tribal Justice Specialist. Heather is a proud previous scholarship recipient and is honored to now serve on the Board.