“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.
“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.
On Hopi Girl Silver and silversmithing: “I wanted to inspire [my sister] to carry on our traditions through any kind of art.”–Cynthia Begay
The Origins of Hopi Girl Silver
Cynthia Begay is Hopi and the brains and talent behind Hopi Girl Silver. Check out her amazing work at www.hopigirlsilver.com.
Cynthia Begay, photo credit: eeman agrama minert
Cynthia grew up in Bakersfield, CA. During the summers, she would spend time with her family back home. There she watched family members that were silversmiths. When she went to college she would ask “which family member made that for you?” Only to realize that not everyone can get their jewelry from their family members. She was determined to work with silver, but thought she would do it when she retired and could move to the rez.
She is currently in a Master’s program in health (epidemiology research) and plans to pursue her Ph.D.Continue reading →
“Life gets better…Things get much better… if you can get through that hard stage… Life, love, happiness, everything gets a whole lot better…”-Stacey Ecoffey
Stacey Ecoffey’s Journey
Stacey Ecoffey is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota. She grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in Pine Ridge. She is currently the Principal Advisor for Tribal Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Stacey Ecoffey, Oglala Lakota
Growing up, horses were a big part of Stacey’s life. Her grandfather always had her on a horse, and she found horses to be a big stress relief. She attended rodeos. She also enjoyed school
Stacey Ecoffey attended Colorado State University. She earned a degree in Cultural Anthropology with a focus on Native American studies. Her school was far enough away that she could be in her own world, but close enough to home that the self-described “rez girl” could get home to visit family, too.
She thought she would return home to work for the tribe, but decided to attend graduate school before coming home. So she attended Boston College and earned her Master’s Degree in social work.Continue reading →
“I’m always asked to motivate other people. Motivation has to come from within you. Nobody can give it to you.”– Waylon Pahona creator of Healthy Active Natives
If you’re reading this, you are probably familiar with Healthy Active Natives. Waylon Pahona created this Facebook page that has almost 60 thousand likes. It’s been a source of motivation and support for people throughout Indian Country. Waylon–who is Hopi, Tewa and Maricopa Piipaash–joined NextGen Native to share his story. If you need some positive energy, Waylon is your guy.
Waylon Pahona with Frank Waln, Evan Adams, Billy Mills, and CeCe Schimmel
Waylon grew up on Hopi and left when he was 18. He left to get away from some of the negative incidents he experienced. Waylon shared how he was sexually abused and wanted to get away. These negative experiences impacted him profoundly. For many years, he pushed those memories away and was not living a healthy life. He turned himself around (listen to the podcast to learn how) and eventually shared this story with others. This transformation eventually led to the creation of Healthy Active Natives.Continue reading →
Imagine if I had a shirt that celebrated boxed wine and sold it in Indian Country. What type of response would I get? My sense is I would be castigated for promoting something that is “not traditional” and has created so many issues in our communities. But…isn’t that what we are doing when we celebrate fry bread? Open the floodgates…
Don’t get me wrong. I love to indulge and down some fry bread from time to time. I prefer mine simple with butter. If I’m at home, slather on some huckleberries, please. But it is not earth shattering to say that it is not really part of “traditional” cultures. Or rather, it has been incorporated into our modern version of our culture (another blog post). But, for several reasons, I do not consume it regularly. Among those reasons, I realized many years ago that it is not traditional, so I do not feel compelled to eat something on a regular basis, that while delicious, is not healthy or traditional.Continue reading →
“My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father. Prepare to die.”
Joe Sarcinella is not Inigo Montoya from the Princess Bride. He is not seeking to avenge the death of his father. But Joe promised his father he would complete a 100 mile race that his father could not complete. Joe’s drive came from this promise. The question was: could it get him across the finish line?
When Joe was a child, his father attempted a 100 mile race but had to stop at mile 89 due to an injury. MILE 89. Joe thought this a travesty. And as a kid, Joe promised his father that he would one day finish the race for him. He would run a 100 mile race in honor of his father. Little did he know the challenges he would face or the lessons he would learn. Continue reading →
I’ve always been “warm blooded.” More bluntly, I am always hot. Even as a baby. My mom tells a story about how I would go crazy in a onesie because I was too hot. I would try to rip it off my feet. It’s no surprise I would like to take showers to cool me off. But over time, I’ve developed another reason for cold showers: Self-discipline. It may be a mental trick I am playing on myself, but I think forcing myself to take a cold shower each day has helped my self-discipline.
Before I started taking cold showers, I would take “normal” showers like most Americans. (“Let me bathe daily in instantly hot water.”) But a hot shower is a bad way to start your day if you run hot. Especially when I lived in DC where the combination of humidity and suits is already disastrous. I would start my day flustered because I was hot from the inside out. So I started taking cold showers, or at least ending my shower with cold water and then letting the water evaporate naturally instead of using a towel. (pro tip: stand in front of a fan and expedite the evaporation.) Then I read the Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. I will skip the various tested reasons provided by Ferriss for taking cold baths or showers, but suffice to say they include better sleep, fat loss, and more.
But I discovered recently another reason for cold showers. I noticed it only as summer waned and the need for a cold shower to cool off became less necessary. The cold showers became routine, but I found myself less and less eager to jump into cold water. I force myself to take the cold shower. At first, I did it for the benefit of waking up fast in the morning, or to cool myself off before bed.
However, during the last few weeks I noticed that these cold showers have another impact, at least for me. I find my discipline just that much stronger. I’m not saying that I can hold my hand over a flame, or anything superhuman. It was small, daily decisions that I found were improved: the healthy side salad instead of fries; the immediate task completed instead of procrastinating. The more I forced myself to take a cold shower, the easier some of the other decisions later in the day. I’m not sure if the cold shower is the reason for this effect, but it seems that it is a daily habit I have instituted, often times against my own will. I will leave science/psychology to discern if that is the real reason. Even if the cold showers are not impacting my self-discipline, I plan to continue this habit. It helps wake me up and I feel great afterwards. And that alone is worth it.
Other people may have different routines to do the same thing. But for me the cold shower is a daily task to complete that has ancillary benefits besides the self-discipline imposed upon myself. Perhaps that’s why it is so great. It is not self-discipline for its own sake. There are other benefits for me, and the self-discipline is just a by-product. Either way, I plan to continue with cold showers. Who knows, a few months from now maybe I will find myself with my hand over a flame.
One of the key lessons I’ve learned during my career (to date) and through conversations on the podcast is the importance of asking good questions. Some may view asking questions as a sign of weakness. This could not be further from the truth.
First, there is truth to the phrase “knowledge is power.” Second, asking questions shows insight into understanding an issue or problem. Third, asking questions also demonstrates leadership; there may be several people that have the same question, but are afraid to ask.
While I believe that generally there is no such thing as a dumb question, I do believe that some questions will yield higher quality answers than others. Is it really hard to ask a good question? How do you ask good questions? It’s important to understand what type of information you seek and what you want to do with the information. To demonstrate, this I will highlight the subtle yet powerful differences between questions that start with “why” versus “how”? Continue reading →
Ever feel like you are so out of shape that you could never get into shape? Joe Sarcinella may beg to differ. So much so that in this episode of the podcast, he states his belief that everyone could run 40 miles.
In this episode, we discuss how Joe has lost 85 pounds of weight, changed his eating habits and is now training to do something few of us may not realize is actually possible.
Images courtesy of Joe Sarcinella
Joe is actually training to run a 100 mile race in October 2015. And the crazy part is he is running that race to qualify for the 100 mile race he actually wants to run! He is documenting his progress towards these races at his website 100 Miles 2 Awesome.
The goal of this podcast, and this episode in particular, is to make stories from Indian Country relatable. To You. It is important to hear stories about someone else who did it. Someone else (Joe) who took that first step. Not even metaphorical steps, real ones.
We discuss other topics, too, mainly his journey to become a lawyer. Joe Sarcinella has a great story for everyone in Indian Country. Links to the resources and topics we discuss are found below. There are a ton in this episode!