What does it mean to know where you come from? To connect with the traditions of your people? To understand yourself as part of something bigger? How does diversity and art enrich the whole community?
Prescott Unified School District created the Indian Education Program to sponsor culturally relevant programs and provide academic support for Indigenous K-12 Students throughout the school year. The program is unique in that it includes oversight and guidance from local parents/guardians of the students AND input from around the country in the form of presentations and lessons.
We are fortunate to talk with Jessica Kota and her daughter Leona, who are core participants in the program, and Kelly Mattox who works for PUSD.
Who’s with Us On This Episode?
Jessica Kota is a Licensed Master Social Worker and a member of the Aamjiwnaang First Nations community. Jessica grew up in Indian Ed classes run by her mother. When she moved to the Prescott area about 8 years ago, she discovered PUSD’s Indian Ed program and got involved as a parent volunteer. Jessica is currently the Chair of the Parent Committee.
Leona Mireles Kota is a 14-year-old Ojibwe-Xicana who just finished the 8th grade at Mile High Middle School. Leona is a student leader in the Indian Ed. Program who never misses culture classes, field trips, or parent committee meetings if she can help it. Leona volunteers with the younger children and serves as a role model for learning and being respectful to guests and Elders.
Kelly Mattox’s interest in the spiritual aspects of Indigenous cultures began at a young age. Kelly is the PUSD Indigenous Programs Coordinator, as well as the Homeless Liaison and Family Resource Center Coordinator.
Stick around for an inspiring, informative, multi-cultural, multi-generational conversation about solutions, connection, and the power of people.
Follow the PUSD Indian Ed program here: https://www.facebook.com/PUSDIndianEducationProgram