Krista Catron

Prairie Band Potawatomi

“I am 26 years old and have spent the first 20 years of my life living on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Reservation in Mayetta, Kansas. That is almost all of my life, and living here in St. Louis, Missouri, and attending the Brown School of Social Work, has been one of the first major changes I have encountered in my life.

I tell myself every day, ‘I am definitely not in Kansas anymore.’ For the first 12 years of my life, I had the privilege of being exposed to my traditional ways through dancing, drumming, a little bit of language, and ceremonies. My maternal grandparents introduced as much Potawatomi culture to me as they could early on. There came a point in my adolescence when things changed. My parents divorced when I was 12 or 13, and I felt as though I took a hit on my identity for who I was as young woman. Softball, basketball, volleyball, all took place of pow-wows, gatherings, and ceremonial involvement. At the time, I did not realize how much this would impact my identity later in life. I struggled with maintaining the connection to dancing that I once loved so much. I began to forget the little Potawatomi language that I did know, and replaced these with westernized values. Who we are as a people became a foreign entity to me. However, attending a Tribal College University for my undergrad, allowed me to have the opportunity to meet hundreds of Indigenous people throughout the nation; Urban Native’s, Reservation Native’s, Village Native’s, Desert Native’s. All kinds of Native’s! It was at this point that I knew I would take every step I could, to obtain an education that was representative of who I was as an Indigenous person.

It is an honor to be at one of the top Social Work programs in the United States, concentrating on American Indian and Alaskan Native social work. I am grateful to be one of the many rising Indigenous scholars in contemporary times, and will make it my mission to invest, support, and advocate for Indigenous people. Migwetch!”