Native American Heritage Month celebration features tribal elder

In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, Georgia Highlands College (GHC) held a Native American Anthropology and Genealogy Zoom event last week featuring Gregorio Kishketon, a tribal elder with the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma and Comanche Tribes.

English instructor Danielle Steele, who is also a member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma, is Kishketon’s cousin and helped to organize the event.

“While Native Americans are a small percentage of the overall population, it’s important to recognize the fact that we are still here,” Steele said. “Events like this help students to better understand the differences in smaller and larger tribes and the plight of all Natives.”

Residing in Washington, D.C. and working for the Veterans Health Administration in the Office of Informatics and Analytics, Kishketon regularly speaks for various college functions at schools across the country.

During the event, Kishketon focused on his heritage of the Kickapoo tribe and tribal cultures, tribal histories and the accomplishments and struggles as the tribes continue through the 21st century.

“I feel that the passing on of information about my heritage, culture and traditions is very important,” Kishketon said. “Also, it gives students a firsthand experience of my family and the Native American culture.”

In addition to earning degrees from Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC), the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas, Kishketon also enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at age 17 and spent eight years in active duty. He serves on the Board of Trustees for Saint Augustine’s University and is a member of the OCCC Hall of Fame.