“If I am going to bet on anybody, I’m going to bet on myself.”-Jaclyn Roessel of Grownup Navajo
Jaclyn Roessel returned to the show to discuss some big changes in her life. For the last decade or so, Jaclyn did amazing things at the Heard Museum, which she described as her dream job. So I was amazed to see a headline that she was leaving the museum. It was time to grow up, or rather time to Grownup Navajo.
Jaclyn Roessel shared with me (and You!) how she arrived at the decision to leave her dream job, and what she plans to do with Grownup Navajo. Her transition isn’t just about leaving her work to pursue her own projects, she also moved from Phoenix to New Mexico. Most people would be slow to make one of those decisions, the fact that Jaclyn dove into both changes at once is a bold step. It also shows that it is possible.If you feel like you are on the verge of doing something different, take a listen and draw upon the inspiration that Jaclyn shares throughout the episode! Continue reading →
“I’m eternally hopeful. Seeing [bad] things around me made me think that things can be better and should be better.”-Jessica Begay
Jessica Begay’s Refreshing Energy
Jessica Begay (Navajo)
I speak with people across Indian Country that share their stories and do amazing, interesting things on a daily basis. Their energy is fiery, resistant, forward thinking or any combination of those emotions. Jessica Begay (Navajo), has an awesome story. But her energy was different from some of the other people I speak to, but it’s end goal is the same. And it is refreshing. And we need more of it in Indian Country.
Jessica is a social worker at a tribal pre-school in Phoenix. During college, she realized that her interest and energy aligned with that of social workers. Her hopeful energy is not bound in the usual “we will endure” message, which is needed and powerful. It is based upon the knowledge that we can make our communities a better place. And from Jessica’s work, it is done through creating healthier social environments.
“We have to show up and we have to apply for things outside [Indian Country]. There is no one better than us to than to represent at the national level.” -Chelsea Wilson
Chelsea Wilson on Mentors and Pushy Friends
Chelsea Wilson (Cherokee Nation) works at All Native Group, a division of Ho-Chunk Inc. She is active in the DC chapter of the New Leaders Council a member of the executive committee and is a previous fellow with the organization. If a full-time job and a one organization was not enough, Chelsea Wilson also chairs the Frontrunners Committee of the organization She Should Run.
Chelsea Wilson, Citizen of the Cherokee Nation
Chelsea Wilson describes herself as a giver, and if you cannot tell, she puts that into practice through the work she does personally and professionally. That character trait pays dividends back to Chelsea through the mentorships she’s developed over the years. And each mentorship helped Chelsea develop and find new ways to give back. It’s a classic story about how hard work, mentorship, and networks come together to provide opportunities to grow personally and professionally.
Chelsea worked for the Cherokee Nation where her boss mentored her and gave her projects to stretch her development. Eventually that led her to DC. I knew Chelsea’s boss at Cherokee Nation and she mentioned to me Chelsea’s interest in moving to DC. When I ran into her at a reception, that a “pushy friend” forced her to attend, I mentioned that I was looking to hire someone for my team.
After living in DC, Chelsea found her path through NLC and She Should Run. It’s refreshing to have someone that can articulate that their interest to serve in public office comes from a genuine place of giving. Many people say it, and for many people it’s true. But with Chelsea, you can feel her desire to serve.
In this conversation we discuss finding finding mentors the right way, growing professionally, and being willing to fail by trying. Chelsea Wilson combined each of these into her current work and others are starting to take notice.
“I think it’s time we recognize there’s a change in our world and we need to make room for new voices in the great debate.”
Jim Gray is the former Principal Chief of the Osage Nation. Jim returned to NextGen Native for a conversation that I wanted to have since the day I started the podcast. Jim inspired the conversation with a “simple” Facebook post. When I read the post, I knew we had to connect again to dive into it.
So what was the post? It was only 25 words. “I think it’s time we recognize there’s a change in our world and we need to make room for new voices in the great debate.”
When I read that, Jim took me back to why I started the podcast initially: how do young people grow into leaders, gain experience, and share that experience. It’s not a simple question, and I struggled with ways to discuss it without sounding like a Young Turk.Continue reading →
Since this was the first episode I recorded in 2017, I asked Jackson about whether he makes any resolutions. He doesn’t, but he did share one of his goals for the year. Through his work, he wants to acquire property to open an embassy for the Navajo Nation in Washington, DC. We talked about where the idea came from, building upon others’ ideas, and finding projects that are both big picture and the next step in a process.
The conversation made me think about work done in Indian Country generally. I think much of what we do as young professionals focuses on building upon the work of those that came before us. It isn’t different, or better, or “new” necessarily, but we may be able to take on projects and initiatives nowbecauseof the work that others did before us. Conversely, people that are bringing new ideas, or trying to take on a goal that’s failed before doesn’t mean they think they are better than those that came before them, it’s simply that their experience is different, the resources available may different, or any variety of reasons.
We also talk about what we’ve been reading recently. For Jackson, it’s Andrew Carnegie’s autobiography, for me I highlighted an article aboutpalliative careand how it’s making me think not about the end of life, but about living life to the fullest.
I had fun catching up with a friend I’ve known for 10 years now. We discussed a bit about moving through different stages in life. The last 18 months I’ve had a lot of new things in my life, all good, too! But it’s definitely made me think about where I am currently, and it’s hard to imagine knowing people that I metaftercollege for a decade already. Anyway, these are the kind of conversations Jackson and I have when we get together, hopefully you enjoy it!
Also, hit us up if you have good fiction for us to read…
“We are in a period of radical change…step into your role, do what you do best and raise the profile of tribes in a positive light.” Lacey Horn
Lacey Horn is a citizen of and treasurer for the Cherokee Nation. Principal Chief Bill John Baker appointed Lacey to this position In this role, Lacey is responsible for a budget that totals almost $700 million dollars for the Nation.
Lacey Horn, Treasurer of the Cherokee Nation
Lacey grew up in Vian, Oklahoma. I admire her story because it’s one that combines a steadfast comfort and certainty in her life goals, combined with seizing opportunities. Lacey worked hard to achieve her goals and these opportunities overlapped with her hard work.
Ashley’s father served in the military, her family moved constantly for the first several years of her life. As a child she thought her career path led to plastic surgery. Ashley did not have dreams of working for actors in Hollywood, but rather she saw the real impact of plastic surgery on people who needed it such as kids with cleft palates. Everyone knew her goal, powwow emcees introduced her as the future doctor.Continue reading →
When Terra Branson last joined the show, she just started her job at SGCEC as the Executive Director. Two years later, we discuss her adjustment and growth in the role. Part of her experience includes settling into her community of McAlester, Oklahoma. Like many that move to a new community, Terra experienced the challenge of building new friendships after college and in her professional career.
We discussed identifying your skill sets, how to use those in your career, and how often times others see those skills in you before you see them in yourself.Continue reading →
Reno Franklin on Forgiveness: “The most important thing is to be open minded to allow forgiveness…some of the horrible things that were done to us, we know our story. We know the horrible things. We don’t let that define who we are. Those horrible things that were done to Kashia are not who Kashia are. We’ll never forget it. We’ll always remember it. We’ll honor those that was done to, but we won’t let that define us. And we will be open to forgiveness….I would challenge everyone to find it.”
Reno Franklin is Chairman of the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians. This episode is a bit different because I usually do not have tribal leaders on the show. This is not for negative reasons, but instead I want to highlight the work of others not in leadership positions to show how much amazing work is being done in Indian Country.
It’s also different because while we discuss Reno’s life, we also discuss his work as a tribal leader, projects he’s working on, approaches to being a leader. It’s definitely a fun conversation, and that’s before we even get to his story.Continue reading →