Kathleen Willits is a Councilwoman and Programs Manager for the Round Valley Indian Tribes. Kathleen was born in Ukiah, California. her maternal Grandfather was from the fjords of Norway and my maternal Grandmother from Texas. She was Cherokee and French. Kathleen’s Father’s people were a blend of tribes. His Mother’s people are Maidu /Concow and his Father’s people are Little Lake/Pomo. Kathleen’s Grandmother was the first female Native American to attend Carlisle Indian Institute in Pennsylvania. She was well educated and well respected. Kathleen’s Grandfather, Noble Willits, was a hard-working man with dignity and self-respect. As for Kathleen herself, She was raised living between Napa and Vallejo. She had always intended to move home to live on the reservation – it was an undeniable dream.
“We were never destitute, but by no means did we have an excess of money. I am blessed to say that my parents raised me to be extremely wealthy emotionally, with no limitations on my soul.”
She attended Santa Rosa Junior College with the intention of teaching Agriculture at the Round Valley High School becoming a High School Rodeo Coach. Her education was cut short as family medical needs became a priority.
For 21 years, she was a professional artist in the Napa Valley. She gave it all up to move home and now holds the position of Programs Manager for the Tribe. Her day consists of keeping the Tribal programs compliant. There are approximately 54 grants. The Tribes are dependent upon the grant funds they receive.
“The greatest lessons were taught to me by my father: Give 150%, the person in the mirror will know at the end of the day. Respect your Tribal roots, whatever it is you are good at will benefit your Tribe, that is the core of how Tribes continue to exist. Love and be grateful.”