“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.
“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 →