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 →
Paulette Jordan is Couer d’ Alene. She is currently a member of the Idaho State legislature, and she also sits on the board of the National Indian Gaming Association. Paulette also was previously a member of her (and my) tribal council.
Paulette Jordan’s family instilled leadership from an early age. But leadership for power was not the goal. Service was. Paulette demonstrates her commitment to service through the various positions she has held over the years.
Paulette was both a self-described book worm and athlete growing up. She attended a college prep high school and then attended the University of Washington. There she used sports to connect with other students as she adjusted to life in the city after growing up on the reservation.
After school, Paulette returned home and soon started to hear requests for her to serve and pursue elected positions in the community. She was elected to tribal council and in 2012 decided to run for the state legislature. Paulette was elected in 2014.
Her presence in the legislature made an immediate impact in the state. She invited the tribes to attend an annual event at the capital. It was the first time that ever occurred. She hopes her role can strengthen relationships between the state and tribes. I really believe the trend of more Natives pursuing state office is one for the future. Relationships with states are tenuous. But more tribal people in elected office at the state level can help forge stronger working relationships.
Paulette Jordan, like many NextGen Natives, discussed the role mentors have played in her life. Whether it is tribal elders and family members (Felix Aripa, Dave Matheson), previous member of the state legislature and fellow tribal member Jeanne Givens, or national leaders like Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Paulette is learning from the previous generation to further her service.
Jim Gray is Osage. Not only is he Osage, he is the former Principal Chief. Jim is one of the few (so far) elected leaders to appear on NextGen Native.Jim served two terms as Principal Chief from 2002-2010. During that time, he led significant reforms to the Osage government, eliminating almost one hundred years of U.S. government say in who was an Osage.
I’ve shied away from interviewing elected leaders on NextGen Native. The reason is there are so many people serving or working in Indian Country that are not elected leaders that I thought they needed a spotlight of their own. However, I think Jim’s story as a former leader, in particular one who accomplished what he did as a young leader, is worth sharing his story.
It’s amazing to see how small events cascade and facilitate into life changing moments. Jim did not seriously consider college until he realized he could play tennis at the collegiate level. Sport is what pushed Jim into college and set him on his course.
Jim’s first job was with his tribe as a grant writer. Eventually he found a job in the newspaper business where he found the work suited him. He continued working for the Tahlequah Daily Press for about ten years. An opportunity arose to buy his own newspaper, the Native American Times. At the time, there were only a few papers in Indian Country that were not owned and published by tribes.The Times was able to cover all tribal issues in Oklahoma and across Indian Country with a unique viewpoint. Continue reading →