In this episode of the NextGen Native podcast, I chat with Bryan Mercier. Bryan is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. He grew up in Salem, Oregon and attended the University of Oregon. We discuss a number of topics including: living abroad (or how to retire in your 20s); working in Congress; coming home to Indian Country after living away for many years; getting involved in tribal politics (working within); getting involved in other organizations (working outside of tribe) and being a parent while active in many different organizations. Coming home to Indian Country is something that is a central topic to the lives of NextGen Natives. We often leave home when we are young. Although we may not be able to, or economics, love life, or something else in our lives change, most of us imagine coming home at some point. Bryan was able to go further afield then most, and make it back home.
In this episode we discuss what it is like to move away from home, and then to move back home to Indian Country. It is a great conversation for anyone who has moved away and ponders moving back home.
Bryan has undertaken several innovative projects, including perhaps the first political action committee (PAC) that focuses on tribal elections for his own tribe. With growth comes challenges, and we discuss some of those, too.
As part of his coming home to Indian Country, Bryan was a Mark O. Hatfield fellow, as I was, too. That is where I first met Bryan, when my hair was a bit longer, and I was a bit younger.
Bryan has great insight and is devoted to Indian Country, you can hear much of it in this episode.
Links to different organizations, etc. discussed in the podcast are included below.