Yá'át'ééh! (“Greetings,” in Dinè—Navajo) Aaniin! (“Hi” in Anishinaabe—Ojibwe). Hi! My name is “Becky” Rebecca Clitso-Garcia. My clan is Todích'íí'nii (Bitter Water; my mother’s clan) and my father’s clan is Bit’áhnii (Folded Arms People). I am originally from Kayenta, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation. I am the oldest of five. My siblings all work with or for the Mille Lacs Band in one way or another.
My sister Chris is the American Indian Education Director for Onamia Public Schools. My brother, Sonny, is a Head Start Teacher for Wewinabi Early Education; my sister Charmaine-Xiana is the American Indian Arts and Culture Coordinator for Onamia Public Schools/community education; and my youngest sister, Alex, is currently on furlough from Behavioral Health. All of my brothers-in-law work in the public/private sector, having community ties. My father, Edward, is currently retired, but worked for Peabody Coal Company and was a member of the United Mine Workers of America for 44 years; my mother, Lena, was a stay-at-home mother and worked various jobs (i.e. tax consultant, census worker, chapter house secretary [town council secretary] etc.). As I was growing up, my parents emphasized the importance of family, education, and hard work. That lesson follows me today in my personal and professional life. My passion for family and education is a huge reason why I am running for Onamia School Board.
For the past 14 years, I have worked with Mille Lacs Band youth ages birth to 5 years old and families at Mille Lacs Early Education as an Early Head Start/Head Start teacher. I understand the importance of Early Education and Head Start. When I was 18-19 years old, I would volunteer at the Head Start in my hometown. Most importantly, I am a Head Start graduate.
Currently, I am an Education Specialist/Coach for Mille Lacs Early Education. In my role as Education Specialist/Coach, I work directly with curriculum (a guide on what skills to teach to students), assessment (a measuring tool used to see where children are at), kindergarten readiness (a plan to get preschool children ready for kindergarten), collaboration with teachers by doing class observations, reviewing paperwork, and coaching them on best teaching practices.
I feel I am a good candidate for the school board at Onamia Public Schools because I want to serve our Native community and be part of the decision-making process on how to best prepare our children for their adult lives. I want our public schools to be successful for our youth, and I want parents to feel confident that our local district is providing the best education and opportunities for their children.
I also have nieces and a nephew that attended Onamia. I think diversity, representation, and being well rounded is important. I have lived in several states — Arizona, Missouri, North Carolina, and Minnesota — and abroad, in Germany. I also think the health and safety of children/teaching staff is important, especially in this time of COVID-19.\
I am so grateful for the education that I have received throughout my life, and the caring adults who nurtured/advised/mentored/inspired me. I want that for every child and look forward to working with others with Onamia Public Schools to ensure it is the best learning environment for our children. When you are going to the polls in November, please consider me for your choice as an Onamia School Board candidate. Ahéhee (“thank you,” in Dinè), Miigwech (“thank you,” in Anishinaabe), and thank you.