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Native American Heritage Month


As part of Union Bank’s Heritage Month celebrations, we are proud to sponsor the Cultural Diversity Partnership and to honor various individuals for their positive contributions and influence they have made to American Indians.

The honorees will be formally recognized as part of the Cultural Diversity Partnership Awards, which Union Bank partners with public television station KPBS.

Congratulations to our 2012 Native American Heritage Month honorees: 

Patricia A. Dixon    Patricia A. Dixon (Pauma Luiseño)
    Professor AIS/AMS
    Palomar College

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Professor Patricia A. Dixon is a member of the Pauma Band of Luiseno Indians and resides on the Pauma Indian reservation. She was the first American Indian to graduate from the University of San Diego earning a B.A. in history with minors in religious studies and sociology; she also received her M.A. in history. Since then she has been a professor of American Indian Studies for 40 years. In those 40 years, she has taught thousands of students from all backgrounds and she has served as Department Chair nearly a half dozen times. She is beloved by her former and current students and her colleagues on and off campus. Professor Dixon teaches an average of 5 courses per semester all the while, actively serving on numerous academic and community boards. She has been integral to the development and sustainability of one of the oldest American Indian Studies programs in the country. Professor Dixon has also been instrumental in the development of the American Indian departments at both USD and CSUSM. She does not limit her efforts to her own campus, but rather provides the support necessary to spread the teachings of her heritage. For fourteen years she served on the tribal council for Pauma, with four of those years as tribal chair. For ten years she served on the Sherman Indian High School Board, with six of those years as chair. In addition to her work as an educator, she helped raise the three children of her youngest brother who died 18 years ago.

Leroy Elliott   Leroy Elliott
   Chairman
   The Manzanita Band of the Kumeyaay Nation

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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. Unemployment on the Manzanita reservation exceeds 50% and families live on less than half of what is considered the poverty level in the United States. In spite of these challenges, Chairman Elliott actively seeks and has secured revenue opportunities that provided much needed government services and job opportunities. In addition to his duties as Tribal Chairman, Mr. 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. Mr. Elliott’s dedication to the preservation of his Native American heritage include his efforts to advocate for tribes in an effort to preserve cultural property, sacred sites, endangered species and critical habitat. Mr. Elliot was recently asked to be one of the distinguished greeters to the Dali Lama as the world famous spiritual leader visited San Diego State University.

View Past Native American Heritage Month Honorees
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