Jared Yazzie with his “Native Americans Discovered Columbus” design, was recently in the news.
Jared Yazzie is the founder of OXDX Clothing Company. He joined NextGen Native once again to catch up on his recent projects. Jared’s clothing has been a hot commodity for a few years, but recently his business is taking some major strides.
“If I am going to bet on anybody, I’m going to bet on myself.”-Jaclyn Roessel of Grownup Navajo
Jaclyn Roessel returned to the show to discuss some big changes in her life. For the last decade or so, Jaclyn did amazing things at the Heard Museum, which she described as her dream job. So I was amazed to see a headline that she was leaving the museum. It was time to grow up, or rather time to Grownup Navajo.
Jaclyn Roessel shared with me (and You!) how she arrived at the decision to leave her dream job, and what she plans to do with Grownup Navajo. Her transition isn’t just about leaving her work to pursue her own projects, she also moved from Phoenix to New Mexico. Most people would be slow to make one of those decisions, the fact that Jaclyn dove into both changes at once is a bold step. It also shows that it is possible.If you feel like you are on the verge of doing something different, take a listen and draw upon the inspiration that Jaclyn shares throughout the episode! Continue reading →
“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.
Since this was the first episode I recorded in 2017, I asked Jackson about whether he makes any resolutions. He doesn’t, but he did share one of his goals for the year. Through his work, he wants to acquire property to open an embassy for the Navajo Nation in Washington, DC. We talked about where the idea came from, building upon others’ ideas, and finding projects that are both big picture and the next step in a process.
The conversation made me think about work done in Indian Country generally. I think much of what we do as young professionals focuses on building upon the work of those that came before us. It isn’t different, or better, or “new” necessarily, but we may be able to take on projects and initiatives nowbecauseof the work that others did before us. Conversely, people that are bringing new ideas, or trying to take on a goal that’s failed before doesn’t mean they think they are better than those that came before them, it’s simply that their experience is different, the resources available may different, or any variety of reasons.
We also talk about what we’ve been reading recently. For Jackson, it’s Andrew Carnegie’s autobiography, for me I highlighted an article aboutpalliative careand how it’s making me think not about the end of life, but about living life to the fullest.
I had fun catching up with a friend I’ve known for 10 years now. We discussed a bit about moving through different stages in life. The last 18 months I’ve had a lot of new things in my life, all good, too! But it’s definitely made me think about where I am currently, and it’s hard to imagine knowing people that I metaftercollege for a decade already. Anyway, these are the kind of conversations Jackson and I have when we get together, hopefully you enjoy it!
Also, hit us up if you have good fiction for us to read…
“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 →
Jaclyn Roessel, Navajo, is many things. She is the Public Programs and Education Director at the Heard Museum. She is is one half of Schmooze: Lady Connected. She writes for the fashion site Presence 4.0. She curates her own website Grown Up Navajo. She’s even a previous guest on NextGen Native. One thing Jaclyn isn’t? Busy.
That doesn’t mean Jaclyn doesn’t have a full schedule or a lot going on. Quite the contrary. What it does mean, for her, is that she is mindful of what the word means and that people often use it as a crutch. Jaclyn has been on a minor campaign to remove that word from the lexicon of those around her. I appreciate it. I had the same revelation a few years ago. Continue reading →
Charles Galbraith: “We’ve been conditioned to think that we have to compete with each other…which is not the case.”
Charles Galbraith is Navajo. Currently, Charles (aka Charlie) is Counsel atKilpatrick TownsendLaw Firm. Previously, Charlie spent several years working at the White House for President Obama and before that he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney and a staffer in theU.S. Senate.
Charlie grew up in Phoenix. His parents both prioritized education and so Charlie knew at a young age he’d go to college. He ended up playing baseball and studying at theUniversity of Chicago.
Charles Galbraith, Navajo
His baseball playing taught him endurance and the knowledge that not everything would break his way in life. It taught him how to dig in for the long haul, and how to keep a cooler head when things weren’t going his way. These two lessons would suit him very well in his career.
If you need an energy boost, or your spirit lifted, this episode is for you. Amanda Tachine’s voice lifted my mood and her enthusiasm and energy lasted throughout the episode. Amanda is Navajo, and is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Center for Indian Education at Arizona State University.
Amanda’s busy, and her accomplishments demonstrate that.
TEMPE – September 8th, 2015 – ASU News – Postdoctoral Scholar Amanda Tachine will be recognized for her work as a White House Champion of Change in Washington D.C. and is pictured here at the Center for Indian Education at Arizona State University Tempe Campus on Tuesday afternoon September 8th, 2015. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU News
But much of our conversation focused on topics other than work. We discussed how she navigated through her educational career. We bonded over the physical feeling of when you go home. I mentioned a book I’m reading, The Shepherd’s Life, and how it relates to language often associated with Indian Country. We discussed the friends that helped her navigate to her graduate degrees. Amanda mentioned others around the country involved in this field of study (e.g. Adrienne Keene). Amanda mentioned her approach of focusing on the Now, and how that impacts her life. We discuss (not) burning bridges, including the quote “you can shear a sheep many times, but you can only skin it once.”
“Give yourself six months and do the one thing that absolutely terrifies you.”
Official Bio for Sooner Davenport
Sooner Davenport is Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, Kiowa and Navajo. She was born in Shiprock, New Mexico and currently lives in the Oklahoma City area.
She graduated with her Bachelor’s from Oklahoma City University and pursued graduate studies at the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Master of Tribal Administration and Governance program.
Davenport is a passionate advocate for quality education, child welfare, multiculturalism and sensible economic policies. In 2014, Davenport was selected to the prestigious Native American Political Leadership Program in Washington DC. It was there that she served as a policy assistant for the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education. She returned from this experience at the US Department of Education determined to continue policy work in Oklahoma. Her work with tribal governments includes the areas of taxation, economic development, oil & gas, renewable energy and government accountability. She has also completed an internship for the Oklahoma Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank.
Currently, she works in the non-profit sector building public awareness around the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault in communities throughout Oklahoma. She is involved in many projects and organizations, the latest of her endeavors is her campaign for the Oklahoma House of Representatives in District 43.
In this episode we discuss:
How Sooner got her name
Running cross-country in college
Sooner’s ability to make tough decisions
The importance of self-awreness
“Following your passion” vs. being passionate about a job
As you can tell, Jaclyn pours her energy into both her work and her personal projects. But she does it all because she has a passion for creativity and for creating and supporting positivity in Indian Country. Jaclyn’s energy is infectious and her story is not one to miss. Continue reading →