“People like genuine people. People like people who are authentic, people lke people who show up with their true identity. And being Chickasaw is part of who I am.”-Heath Clayton
One of the areas in which I love to dabble is what I call “life system hacking.” The basic idea is finding ways to create a life, circumvent expectations or bypass the norms of which we all are led to believe cannot be bypassed or circumvented. There are a lot of people who write about the subject online, and it can get a bit of a reputation as self-help like content. But I continue to expose myself to it because I think there are gems that can be found, if you know what you are looking for. I was excited to interview someone I think hacked the system quite successfully. That person is Heath Clayton (Chicksaw).
Heath earned a Bachelor’s degree for about $3,000 without stepping foot onto a university campus. After “college” he worked in the White House at age 21. Not after 21 years of working in politics. At 21 years old.Continue reading →
“I felt this need to take my skill set and apply it as broadly as I could as long as I could still feel like I was affecting the community.”-Geoff Roth
Geoff Roth is a descendent of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. He recently completed an appointment as the Senior Advisor to the Director of the Indian Health Service under Dr. Yvette Roubideaux. His story is great for people that are looking to grow their career rapidly. It is also a great story for those that are looking to find balance in their lives. It may not seem intuitive that both those lessons could be learned from the same person, but that’s what makes Geoff’s story unique. He’s a good friend and I am excited to share his story.
“You give everything you got. It’s hard, It’s super challenging. You give all your life force to your art. so when you see the tiny moment when people are smiling, laughing, or being proud…”-Natalie Benally
Natalie Benally at the premiere of Finding Nemo. Image courtesy of Benally
Natalie Benally, Navajo, wears many hats. Or maybe the better metaphor is…dance shoes. Natalie is a member of the Native American contemporary dance company Dancing Earth. She also served as the voice of Dory for the remake of Finding Nemo, or Nemo Hádéést’į́į́. Oh, and she also has a full time job as the teacher of the arts back on Navajo Nation. Natalie and I connected while Dancing Earth was visiting Crystal Bridges as part of a special exhibit on dance. We had a wide ranging conversation.Continue reading →
Kraynal Alfred is Navajo. Originally from Tuba City, she moved around as a child. She spent time both in Oakland, CA and Atlanta, GA. Eventually she attended Georgia State University. She’s worked for the National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Health Board, the Speaker of the Navajo Nation, and currently at the Native American Political Leadership Program.
As a recipient of various programs, Kraynal now gets to give back. Kraynal has been able to develop the Native American Political Leadership Program. The program recently launched the Richard M. Milanovich Fellowship. The fellowship is named after the former long-time Chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. To learn more about the fellowship, listen to the article and check out the website (below). Continue reading →
As a kid, Tanaya knew she would attend Stanford. She just knew it. Tanaya thought she would become a lawyer, but wanted some exposure to liberal arts while an undergraduate. She applied to other schools, and was admitted to these schools, but ultimately decided to fulfill her goal that she had for years to attend Stanford. There were some moments when the certainty was in question.
After her grandfather passed away while she was in high school, she spent time working at a casino instead of attending school (though she had enough credits). She thought that she would just continue working at the casino until she realized her grandfather would want her to finish her education. When she returned to school, one of the few classes that would allow her to enroll was a creative writing class. Tanaya Winder found the writing helped her through the difficult time after her grandfather’s death.
While attending Stanford, Tanaya eventually switched majors to focus on her creative side. It took time for her to overcome imposter syndrome. After enduring a friend’s suicide, she found that the creative writing continued to help her process her grief. She eventually went on to earn a Master’s of Fine Arts from the University of New Mexico, all the while trying to find her voice as an artist. She did, and now she has a collection of works published in the book Words Like Love.Continue reading →