I am Joyce White, a proud member of the Bishop Paiute Tribe, born and raised on the Bishop Paiute Reservation. My mother is Bertha Willis and my father is the late Edward Willis. My paternal grandparents are the late George and Emma Willis of the Bishop Paiute Tribe and my maternal grandparents are the late Pete Watson and Teenie Lent of the Utu Utu Gwaitu Paiute Tribe. I had one daughter, Fawn Piatt, who passed away from cancer four years ago. Growing up, I played sports, enjoyed riding my horses, and played saxophone in the school bands as well as the community band.
After graduating from high school, I attended Porterville College in Porterville, CA. After my first year, I answered John F. Kennedy’s call to “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country” and signed up to become a Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA, now known as Americorps). I trained out of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and was assigned to work with the Sisseton-Wahpeton Sioux Tribe in Sisseton, SD, where I engaged in community action planning. I met my husband there and we eventually moved to Los Angeles to attend trade school where I became a certified legal assistant. After we divorced, I went to work in the aerospace industry in Contracts Administration. I thoroughly enjoyed working in the aerospace industry as it afforded me an opportunity to support several satellite launch teams in Cape Canaveral, FL. Eventually, I wanted to do more so I went back to school and attended the University of California, Irvine, and the University of California, Los Angeles.
Although I spent many years in the Southern California area working and going to school, Bishop and the Owens Valley were always “home” to me and I never lost touch with my roots. It was always my intention to return home after retiring to help the Tribe. I retired in 2015 to care for my daughter. After she passed away, I joined the Board of Directors for the Bishop Paiute Development Corporation (BPDC). While working for BPDC, I returned to school to get my Master’s degree in Indigenous People’s Law to better serve BPDC and the Tribe. In doing so, I also hoped to show our young people that education is the key to their future success and that learning is a life-long experience. It would be a privilege to now join the Tribal Council to help make the changes necessary to ensure that our tribe thrives and prospers for many years to come. I would be both honored and humbled to earn your vote.
PICTURE TAKEN ON PINE CREEK ROAD NEAR THE OLD UNION CARBIDE MINE WHERE MY FATHER WORKED HIS ENTIRE LIFE.