Native American Center Coordinator position announced at Indigenous Peoples’ Day Gathering


Screenshot La Reva Myles

Director of SRJC’s Early Childhood Education department’s Children’s Centers Maleese Warner presents at the 2021 Indigenous People’s Day celebration.

La Reva Myles, Reporter

Santa Rosa Junior College President Dr. Frank Chong and retired, returning adjunct instructor Dr. Brenda Flyswithhawks announced during SRJC’s Indigenous People’s Day celebration Oct. 11 that the JC will hire a Native American Center Coordinator for the Native American Center within the Santa Rosa campus’ Intercultural Center. 

“That is a blessing there will be a coordinator for the Native American Center,” Flyswithhawks said. The coordinator will support the Native American Summer Bridge program among other responsibilities.

This year’s Indigenous People’s Day virtual gathering began with a prayer, blessing and an acknowledgement of SRJC’s location on the traditional territorial land of the Pomo People in Santa Rosa and the Coast Miwok People in Petaluma. The event also included videos of traditional Pomo dancing.

Each of the six speakers’ presentations offered a unique perspective on the life experiences that helped them maintain the richness of their native cultures in today’s changing world. Many stories brought both storytellers and attendees to tears through the honest sharing of presenters’ cultural perspectives.

Maleese Warner, director of Early Childhood Education at SRJC Children’s Centers, uses lullabies in her teaching. She played recordings of Native American lullabies, including “Under The Green Corn Moon,” during her “Cultural Identity, Resiliency and Child Development” presentation. 

“That music brings our heart joy,” Warner said.

SRJC bilingual therapist Brijida “Brjit” Christina Alemán presented “Walking in Three Worlds: SRJC Alumni, Employee and Licensed Clinician,” and said she likes working with students and helping them be “seen.”

“My education is the one thing the white man cannot take away from me or my people,” Alemán said.

Following Alemán’s presentation, Flyswithhawks said, “To come forward and share with all of us is brave and courageous because we are subject to judgment.”