Jim Gray | The Next Generation is Today

“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.

Jim Gray

Jim Gray

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.

Jim provided some background with what inspired him, and we spent an hour talking about this single issue, more or less. Within that conversation, however, we swing from the very abstract to the very specific. We discuss how it applies to water protectors at Standing Rock, how experienced leaders find a new way to lead and follow, and how to translate events that coalesce people into lasting action.

Jim’s the perfect person to discuss this issue. He’s a former tribal leader and national leader. He works as a tribal administrator. And he watches as his daughter emerges into her own leader participating in events like those at Standing Rock.

I think this is just the beginning of this conversation. When I first conceived this idea, I knew there were young people with energy and ambition and a commitment their communities. Many of them are emerging into new roles, or growing within their roles today. It’s a never ending transition, but I agree with Jim that we are in a moment of larger change. Where it leads us I am not sure. But I am excited.

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