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, 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 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 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 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 (San Ildefonso Pueblo, Navajo) [she/her/hers] 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. Currently, she is the Program Director for the Tribal Law and Policy Institute. From 2018-2019, Heather served as Director of Native Student Programs (NSP) at the University of Redlands. Heather was the founding staff of NSP when the program was created in 2011, serving as Creating a Passion for Learning Coordinator. Heather's work in education started during her undergraduate years at UCLA where she was a student leader in the American Indian Student Association overseeing the American Indian Recruitment and Retention of American Indians Now! projects. Her passion for education continues today through her work on the board of the American Indian Scholarship Fund of Southern California and active membership in the American Indian Alumni at UCLA. Heather earned her BAs in English and American Indian Studies in 2011, her MA in Collaborative Educational Leadership in 2014, and her J.D. in 2017. She is licensed to practice law in the State of California.
Dawn Jackson is an enrolled member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan and has served as an elected Los Angeles City/County American Indian Commissioner since 1994.
Early in her career, Ms. Jackson served as the Chair of the American Indian Registry for the Performing Arts, providing script approvals, casting and cultural consultants for films & TV. In 1992 she co-founded First Americans in the Arts, serving as Chairman of the Board and producer of an annual awards show to showcase and empower American Indians in the entertainment industry.
Ms. Jackson joined The Walt Disney Company in 1993, working in product design, brand marketing. and creative development. In 2005 Ms. Jackson took on the role of Executive Director of the American Indian National Center for TV & Film, a historic partnership between the ABC, CBS and FOX TV networks to provide access and opportunities to American Indians. She is currently the Studio Manager of Story Development at Walt Disney Imagineering.
Ms. Jackson is a producer with Red-Horse Native Productions, producing three documentaries for PBS, including Mankiller (2018) and the feature film Naturally Native (2010). In partnership with the UCLA School of Film & Television, in 2015 she served as co-curator of Through Indian Eyes: 100 years of Native Cinema, a two-year retrospective and traveling film program.
Ms. Jackson is a member of the Producers Guild of America, NAACP and an award winning fine artist, designer and curator of Native American art.
American Indian Scholarship Fund of Southern California
18111 Nordhoff Street Northridge, CA 91330-8450
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