Yakama Nation, 2nd Vice Chair
Born and raised in the original homelands of the Yakama Nation, Patricia Whitefoot lives in White Swan, WA where she was raised by her maternal grandparents. She continues to live in the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains where early lessons were grounded in the natural environment. Family travels along the Columbia River, bordering Oregon and Washington, to fish and gather the traditional foods fostered a deep relationship with extended family and the diverse landscape.
At the urging of her grandmother, Patsy obtained a B.A. with a Teaching Certificate in Education from Central Washington University in Ellensburg and a M.A. from Ft. Wright College in Spokane, WA. For over 40 years, she has managed Indian Education and community mobilization programs from preschool to adult education at the tribal, state and national level. Currently, she is the director of the local Indian Education Program and Yakama Wellness Coalition. Patsy serves as the Education Chair of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (62 Northwest Tribes). She is also serving as the President of the National Indian Education Association.
She has three children who all graduated from White Swan High School on the Yakama Reservation and ten grandchildren. In rearing her children and supporting extended family, she is always inspired in the Native children’s unique gift for endless learning. In her role as an educator, she advocates her ancestors’ vision of holistic health, environmental and spiritual well-being with origins steeped in the diverse and unique Native languages, values, cultures and histories of the Americas.