Kayla Dix (Salish)
Early Education Preschool – Third Grade Education Major, Salish Kootenai College
I am 29 years old and live on the Flathead Indian Reservation with my three beautiful daughters Kayci, Fallyn, and Sayla. Currently I am in my senior year at Salish Kootenai College. After graduating, I intend to pursue a master’s degree in education so that I can continue to acquire the skills I need to contribute to my community.
Throughout the past three years, I have had the opportunity to be a part of the American Indian College Fund’s Indigenous Visionaries program. It supports Native women’s leadership development. During this time, my focus has been language revitalization, understanding what that looks like in the education system and how we can better support our language learning communities. The Indigenous Visionaries program has been a continual support in my effort to build strong leadership skills.
As part of my journey, the College Fund has provided me with many networking opportunities to further support me in advancing towards my goals. In the fall of 2019 I, another fellow, and our mentor attended the National Association for Young Children conference in Tennessee. There I participated in workshops geared towards language revitalization. They were hosted by schools that were established in Indian country. The instructors spoke to some of the struggles and success they experienced. This gave me food for thought when looking at our educational systems and how they are supporting the Native youth attending schools. Overall, the conference helped me to see possible roles I could step into to better serve communities on my reservation.
I intend to continue my education to earn a master’s degree. The College Fund gave me the opportunity to visit Harvard University. I had to write a letter of my personal journey and what the visit would mean to me. Knowing how important this opportunity was, the College Fund made sure it happened by providing me with the funds I needed to attend Harvard University’s Native American Program recruitment gathering with my mentor, Kathie Maiers.
During my visit, I also attended Harvard’s Alumni of Color Conference and listened to a panel of Native American speakers talk about their experiences attending Harvard as minorities.
It was very inspiring to listen to learn about their contributions to their communities since graduating.
The College Fund has been a big part of my life and has geared me for success. I am continually grateful for the opportunities provided to me and the many influences bestowed upon me. As a mother of three Native American daughters, I can’t see anything more fitting then to be a part of the Indigenous Visionaries Women’s Leadership program. This opportunity allows me to serve as an example for not only my daughters, but others looking to make a wave of change through higher education.