“If you want to do great things, then you should concentrate not on what you want tobebut on what you want todo. You don’t have tobeanything specific thing to impact issues you care about…[assess] those things you want to impact, and then go do it.”-Keith Harper
“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.
“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.
Let me restate that: Dean Leeds is a Citizen of the Cherokee Nation and Dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law.
photo courtesy of Stacy Leeds
I am excited to get this conversation on the record to share, because Stacy is one of Indian Country’s shining stars.
Stacy is from Muskogee, Oklahoma. She was active in sports, excelling in basketball. Eventually she played small forward at Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. She was not familiar with the school’s prestige when the school contacted her initially, she decided to attend because it was where she could play ball.
This is a familiar theme in Stacy’s life, jumping into something full steam ahead. I’ve always found, despite my desire to learn as much as I can about an issue, the best way to do things is to dive in. Because when you dive into something you cannot allow yourself to get in your own way.
Her next stop was at the University of Kansas teaching as part of the Indigenous Studies program. Here she was able to take on an interim role as Dean. It was here where she realized that she could take on this role. Soon after, she was presented an opportunity to apply for the Dean position at Arkansas.
One of my favorite parts of the conversation was listening to Dean Leeds discuss her recent experience as a participant in the Remember the Removal ride.
In this episode, we discuss:
The challenge of choosing between two good options.
Finding the Native community regardless of where you live.
Getting burned out, and taking care of yourself to prevent it.
The importance of relationships in Indian Country, law, and beyond.
The power of relativity and connection.
Working “in” Indian Country, and what does it mean when opportunities arise to work beyond Indian Country exclusively.
The phone call she got when she was offered the Dean position.
She also is the author of Native Appropriations, her website that “is a forum for discussing representations of Native peoples including stereotypes, cultural appropriations, news, activism and more.” Each of these accomplishments alone is impressive. The fact that Keene accomplished both in recent years is pretty amazing.Continue reading →