Funny how our paths change over time, I never would have thought that I would be working in the field I am in currently. Over five years ago I was searching for employment and found a position in a Native American non-profit. The position had many of the requirements that I was skilled at, but there were many other items I have never even thought were a fit for me. The initial duties were in my “wheel house”, newsletter design, website maintenance, social media and marketing, the unique things that I came to love about the job was working with Native American people. We had the privilege to work with citizens of many tribes-over 150 in fact. Each unique, each had different customs, traditions & ceremonies, yet the need to be with other natives and the bond they shared was overwhelming. The history of my proud people is full of injustices and atrocities most of which were left out of our history books. I learned about historical trauma, epigenetics, cultural appropriation and much more. The biggest thing I learned and love about my people is the resiliency of Native Americans. We are still here, surviving, some thriving. Preserving the languages and culture is taught throughout Indian country. I have been part of many trainings and ceremonies which have changed my life and outlook at my current position.
My current position is a Wellness Coordinator for a local tribe, which means I am basically a social worker of sorts. I get to work with kids from K-12 as well as adults. I am humbled by the prospect that I am in some way helping this tribe survive and thrive! I have facilitated some great workshops for youth and adults with very positive outcomes. Every workshop was well attended and people were enthusiastic and wanting more. This shows me there is a willingness to learn and to grow, all the while not losing their cultural identity. This gives me hope for the future of Native people, the youth and the continuation of these sovereign nations. I don’t know where this path will take me, but I will trust the Creator who makes all paths. Everyday there is something new to learn and I actually look forward to and enjoy my job. I am a proud member of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma and a global citizen serving where I can, Aho.