Mark Trahant joined NextGen Native to discuss a wide-range of issues. When we spoke, the Congress was in the midst of considering the recent healthcare bill. Mark delved into health care policy and in particular Indian health care policy several years ago, and it is now an ongoing part of his journalism. It’s remained relevant for several years.
We also discussed his emerging interests, which he covers on Trahant Reports. This includes a focus on elections, and also the era of disruption in Indian Country. He discussed how he likes to focus on the countless stories that are not the headline grabbers, but are important and impactful. Mark is somewhat a technophile, and we discussed the rise of social media for events like Standing Rock to organize Indian Country.Continue reading →
Brian Howard is Research and Policy Analyst American Indian Policy Institute. He is Pipash, Akimel and Tohono O’odham. I’ve always respected Brian for his humility, knack for policy, and his commitment to Indian Country. During our conversation, I got to know more about his personal story, which I think includes a key lesson for everyone: being uncomfortable in order to grow.
Brian Howard with U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva
Brian shared a few stories during our conversation that shared the theme of growth and trying something new. What I found unique about the experiences was that he was able to combine the new experience with a familiar one so that the new challenge does not seem to have been as challenging as it could have been. For example, Brian traveled to Australia and New Zealand for a study abroad program when he was 16 years old. It was a big transition, but he spent much of his time in communities with Aborigines and Maoris, a familiar experience that helped him in his experience. Continue reading →
“What do [you] feel you are good at and feel you can contribute to your community?”
When I spoke to Kayla Gebeck, the thing that jumped out at me was her enthusiasm to try new things, start new adventures, with the goal of preserving her language. After not traveling far beyond the upper Midwest, Kayla traveled to a Pueblo, then to Hawaii, and ultimately to New Zealand. Her goal was to learn how different communities were working to to preserve their languages.So while she was able to explore personally, and expand her horizons, the skills she was learning would help future Ojibwe speakers.
Before it was over, Kayla studied in London and was able to connect the work people do in developing countries and relate that to Indian Country and visa versa. We talked about making connections outside of Indian Country and how these connections can create lasting ripples of interest or awareness with Indian Country.
Kayla’s story is really interesting to see all that she’s been able to accomplish already. And more importantly, that her community is the driving force for her work.
Kayla Gebeck is a public affairs advisor at Holland & Knight’s Washington, D.C., office and a member of the firm’s Native American Law Practice Group. Ms. Gebeck provides assistance to tribal governments and their enterprises on legislative and regulatory matters. Her areas of focus include education, healthcare, housing, social services, natural resources, environment, self-governance, trust land and federal relations.
Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Gebeck served as a policy analyst for the Native American Finance Officers Association. In this position, Ms. Gebeck advocated the views and concerns of tribal governments in the areas of access to capital, tax and finance policy, in addition to preparing reports and broadcasts that alerted tribal members on new guidance and/or legislation affecting their governments and enterprises.
While attending the University of London, Ms. Gebeck served as a photographer for the Global Coordinating Group Indigenous Media Team, which covered the preparatory meeting for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in Alta, Norway, and conducted research for Legal Action Worldwide in an effort to build the legal capacity of conflict-affected governments.
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 →
“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 →