Voices of Heritage: Native American Stories from our Associates

Native American in traditional dress

Native American Heritage Month (NAHM) is a dedicated time to honor and celebrate the cultural richness, traditions, and achievements of Native Americans.

Throughout this month, Dickinson Financial Corporation and its subsidiaries, Armed Forces Bank and Academy Bank, have spotlighted Native American traditions and notable figures on our internal platforms. Having showcased these well-known figures within our organization, we now extend the spotlight to our own associates, sharing their stories and contributions with the broader community.



Leisa Foster has worked with us for 16 years and currently serves as the Assistant Banking Manager at our Fort Riley, KS location. As a member of both Military and Civilian communities, she plays a pivotal role in our organization’s success. Leisa actively participates in community events, connecting with military personnel, civilians, and their families to highlight the offerings of Armed Forces Bank.

Known for her laid-back personality, Leisa enjoys trying new foods, exploring small towns, and indulging in TV shows and movies. She has a special connection to New Mexico, where she appreciates native foods while spending quality time with family, and she often brings back unique treats to Fort Riley!

For Leisa, Native American Heritage Month is a time to reflect on the progress and contributions of Natives past and present: “We have come so far in order to make a name for ourselves, who we are, and where we have come from.”

As a proud descendant of the Navajo (Dine) tribe, Leisa appreciates and remains connected to her roots. She admires the Navajo Code Talkers, including her great uncle, who played a crucial role during World War II. During this time, Navajo speakers developed a language-based code to transmit sensitive information for the Allies, and this code remained unbroken by enemy forces.

Armed Forces Bank employee Leisa




Mary Stroble is our Regional Operations Manager in Bonner Springs, and she has been an invaluable team member for Academy Bank over the past 12 years. In her role, Mary ensures all branch associates have the knowledge and tools to be successful in their daily operations.

Mary is an outgoing and straightforward individual, and she humorously claims to be "easier to talk to after she’s had her coffee." Beyond her professional commitments, she enjoys spending time with her family and playing video games, especially Call of Duty.

Mary places significance on Native American Heritage Month for its role in promoting wider understanding and acceptance of Native American culture and heritage. Every year during this month, Mary takes time off work so she can celebrate Native American Heritage Day with her family, a tradition held the day after Thanksgiving. She also participates in other Native American traditions whenever she can. This includes powwows with the family and eating special foods prepared by her mother on New Years Day.

Mary descends from the Turtle Mountain Band of the Chippewa Tribe in Belcourt, North Dakota – the very state where Lewis and Clark crossed paths with Sacagawea. In fact, Mary admires Sacagawea for her role during the expedition, providing knowledge of the terrain, helping find food and water, and facilitating communication with locals as they pressed forward in their journey. Mary feels inspired that one of her ancestors made such a significant contribution in the westward expansion, which helped people settle new frontiers.

Armed Forces Bank employee Mary




Meet Urbina Tso, a dedicated Personal Banker with Armed Forces Bank at our Fort Carson location in Colorado. With 7 months of commitment to our team, Urbina ensures every customer leaves the bank happy, forming genuine connections with newcomers and long-time clients alike. She recognizes that our customers are the driving force behind the bank, and she expresses gratitude for their presence every day.

Described by many as friendly, helpful, and funny, Urbina’s laid-back personality helps her effortlessly foster positive relationships. Outside of her professional life, Urbina finds joy in cooking, reading, and running.

Urbina proudly traces her heritage to the Navajo and Southern Ute tribes, highlighting the diversity in Native American traditions. In celebration of this special month, Urbina reflects on the progress made by Native Americans. For her Native American Heritage Month represents “All the things our ancestors have fought for, allowing new generations to accomplish so much from scholarship, acting, and style.”

Among Urbina’s cherished traditions is participating in Native American ceremonies during the wintertime. She and her family actively uphold these cultural practices and maintain a deep connection to their roots.

When it comes to Native American icons, she admires Jim Thorpe, a figure who strongly reminds Urbina of her late grandfather. Thorpe was a man of many talents in sports, which resonates with Urbina’s childhood experiences on the reservation because they placed strong emphasis on supporting kids in sports, education, and rodeo. Having been one of those kids, Urbina greatly appreciates the individuals who have “paved the way for Native Americans trying to make a name for themselves.”

Armed Forces Bank employee Urbina


Wrapping up our Native American Heritage Month spotlights, we have shared stories from our associates at Dickinson Financial Corporation. Leisa Foster, Mary Stroble, and Urbina Tso each offer a distinct outlook. Through their perspectives, we can better understand the significance of this month and the importance of celebrating cultural heritage and accomplishments across generations.

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