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Local Heroes: Native American Heritage Month

Local Heroes

Gracia Molina Enriquez de Pick - Hispanic Heritage Honoree

Between 1998 and 2016, KPBS partnered with Union Bank to recognize heroes in San Diego's diverse communities.

Kumeyaay protesters stand next to newly-built b...

Young Kumeyaay Women Lead Protests Against Border Wall

Aug. 6, 2020
By Max Rivlin-Nadler

The border wall is planned to stretch along 14 miles of rugged terrain in the Laguna Mountains. But members of the Kumeyaay Nation say the work is destroying sensitive cultural sites.

Protesters block construction equipment at the ...

Kumeyaay Nation Protest Stops Construction On Border Wall

July 17, 2020
By Max Rivlin-Nadler

The youth-led group said the government has refused to consult with them to identify possible heritage sites they say the massive construction project is now destroying.

Tease photo for Meet American Indian Heritage Month L...

Meet American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero Randy Edmonds

Nov. 1, 2016
KPBS Local Heroes Project

Randy Edmonds is a tribal elder who's coached fellow Indians through a common evolution: moving from life on a reservation, to life in the city. He's dedicated to tradition, and honored to accept the latest Local Hero nomination.

Tease photo for Meet American Indian Heritage Month L...

Meet American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero Joely Proudfit

Nov. 1, 2016
KPBS Local Heroes Project

Joely Proudfit is a Luiseño professor who wants American Indians to control how they're represented in media. She heads the largest Native peoples film festival in the state.

Tease photo for American Indian Heritage Month Local ...

American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero Stan Rodriguez

American Indian Heritage Month 2015 Honoree

Nov. 1, 2015
KPBS Local Heroes Project

He’s a U.S. Navy veteran, a Native linguist, an inspired musical can rattler, devout educator and student of local Native culture. Meet Stan Rodriguez, 2015 American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero.

Tease photo for American Indian Heritage Month Local ...

American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero Vickie Gambala

American Indian Heritage Month 2015 Honoree

Nov. 1, 2015
KPBS Local Heroes Project

She’s a Cherokee Indian from Oklahoma, a devoted leader of Native education in San Diego County, community uniter, mother of three, and powwow veteran. Meet Vickie Gambala, 2015 American Indian Heritage Month Honoree.

Tease photo for Local Hero Daniel Calac, MD, Addresse...

Local Hero Daniel Calac, MD, Addresses Health in American Indian Community

American Indian Heritage Month 2014 Honoree

Nov. 4, 2014
By Monica Medina

As a child growing up on the Pauma Indian Reservation, Daniel Calac, M.D., remembers the dirt. Literally.

Tease photo for Educator Roy Cook selected as 2014 Am...

Educator Roy Cook selected as 2014 American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero

American Indian Heritage Month 2014 Honoree

Oct. 29, 2014
By Monica Medina

He is a tribal writer, self-published author, journalist, and a Native singer and American Indian artist. He’s also an educator, one who carries the teachings of his elders and passes them on to the next generation. Meet Roy Cook, a 2014 American Indian Heritage Month Local Hero.

Tease photo for  Rose-Margaret Orrantia Finds Purpose...

Rose-Margaret Orrantia Finds Purpose in Helping American Indian Foster Youth

American Indian Heritage Month 2013 Honoree

Oct. 29, 2013
By Monica Medina

Rose-Margaret Orrantia has spent a lifetime working to help American Indian children in the foster care system. After all, helping children is where her heart has led her. And helping to place these children in American Indian homes has been her way of giving back to her community and ensuring its future.

Tease photo for Kumeyaay Elder Jane Dumas Keeps Langu...

Kumeyaay Elder Jane Dumas Keeps Language & Plant Lore Alive

American Indian Heritage Month 2013 Honoree

Oct. 29, 2013
By Monica Medina

On a bright and clear weekend morning in early October, there’s a flutter of activity at San Diego’s Tecolote Nature Center as staff get ready for an annual family activity, “Baskets and Botany.” The one-day event, which has been held there since the mid-'90s, is a day for families to share the environmental and cultural connections of Tecolote Canyon.

Tease photo for  Why Patricia A. Dixon Never Stops Le...

Why Patricia A. Dixon Never Stops Learning

Native American Heritage Month: 2012 Honoree

Oct. 2, 2012
By Monica Medina

This Thanksgiving, Professor Patricia A. Dixon has much to be thankful for. “I think I was lucky. I had great parents, and good teachers throughout my life. I had far more good teachers than bad teachers. I was encouraged to read and to dream and I was taught to work hard.” And, though she does plan on celebrating Thanksgiving with her family this week, there’s one aspect about the holiday that’s off the table.

Tease photo for Leroy Elliott

Leroy Elliott

Native American Heritage Month: 2012 Honoree

Oct. 2, 2012

Mr. Leroy Elliott is a tribal elder who has served his Native American tribe as their Chairman for the past 14 years. His tribe, the Manzanita Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, is an economically disadvantaged sovereign government assigned to reservation land in a remote area of the San Diego County backcountry. In spite of these challenges, Chairman Elliott actively seeks and has secured revenue opportunities that provided much needed government services and job opportunities. Elliott is the Treasurer and a long standing Board member for the Southern California Tribal Chairman’s Association; the Chairman of the Southern California Indian Health Clinic; and a volunteer Assistant Fire Marshall for the Campo Fire department.

Brandie Taylor

Native American Heritage Month: 2011 Honoree

Nov. 1, 2011

Brandie Taylor is the vice chairwoman of the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, an Indian tribe in Northern San Diego County. Ms. Taylor has dedicated her life to advocating for tribal rights, preservation of tribal culture, improvement of health and safety of native peoples, and she is an avid supporter of higher education for youth. Ms. Taylor’s many accomplishments include securing funding for Iipay Nation’s Tribal Social Services, which handles child dependency cases and culturally focused assistance for family preservation.

Michelle M. Parada

Native American Heritage Month: 2011 Honoree

Nov. 1, 2011

Michelle M. Parada is the co-founder and lead teacher of All Tribes American Indian Charter School. Since 2001, All Tribes Charter School has provided culturally focused assistance to reduce the dropout rates among Native American students in San Diego by graduating 46 high school seniors to date. Ms. Parada has been a recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the 2010 Educator of the Year from the National Indian Education Association and San Diego’s 10News Leadership Award.

Dwight Kala Lomayesva, III

American Indian Heritage Month: 2010 Honoree

Oct. 18, 2010

Dwight Lomayesva, III , a member of the Hopi tribe of Arizona, has tirelessly served the local San Diego American Indian Community for more than 20 years.

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