49 minutes | Aug 17, 2017
Chris James on Business Trends in Indian Country
Chris James is the President & CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED). He returned to the show where we discussed current trends in business, leadership development in Indian Country, and the upcoming Northwest Enterprise Development Conference. The event will take place in September 5-7 2017 at the Tulalip Casino. The NCAIED will also celebrate its 2017 class of the 40 Under 40 in Indian Country. We talked several trends in business, living away from home, taking on new challenges, disconnecting from technology and identifying the priorities in work and personal lives. A great conversation with one of Indian Country’s leaders in business!
70 minutes | Jun 29, 2017
Lance Morgan and the Decline of Federal Indian Law
Lance Morgan on the decline of federal Indian law: “What we’re not teaching in law school is the other half of the system, where tribes are aggressively using their newly educated lawyers, their economic power, and their desire to do good to really change the equation.” “Once you make the mental leap that the entire system is ridiculous...you don’t ever go back.” Lance Morgan (Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska) is President & CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc. He is also the managing partner of the law firm Frederick Peebles and Morgan. And if you know Lance, or have read his previous work, you know that he is always good for a big idea, or an idea that pushes boundaries, in Indian Country. Lance returned to the show to discuss one of those ideas: the Rise of Tribal Law and the Decline of Federal Indian Law and he recently published an article by the same name in the Arizona State University Law Journal. Many NextGen Natives are practicers of, or generally interested in, federal Indian law. Lance’s article is great because it forces readers to ask themselves the question how can tribal law be on the rise and federal Indian law be on the decline? The basic point is that tribal law is an exercise of tribal sovereignty whereas federal Indian law is the enforcement of restrictions imposed upon tribes over the last few centuries. And the decline of federal Indian law may not be a bad thing necessarily, if tribes exercise and use tribal law. You should go read it (after you listen to our discussion, of course). The article is great for a few reasons. First, it forces us to re-think the way we approach law and policy in our communities. Even people who are thinking about how to proactively make a difference often use federal Indian law as an anchoring point. And it’s a losing one for us. Lance captured it succinctly when he wrote “We need to stop playing their game because we cannot win it. If we have any hope of progress, we need to play a new game.” Second, although it is published in a law journal, it is deliberately written so that non-lawyers (such as myself) can read and understand it. People should share this with tribal council members, business people, and community members to think about what Lance is suggesting and how to approach it. We could have focused the entire conversation on the article, but that would not have been nearly as much fun. And I think the conversation about the other topics packs as much, if not more, food-for-thought for listeners. Here’s the tip of the iceberg of a few of the topics we discussed: How Lance approaches his work as CEO of Ho-Chunk Inc. How Winnebago has built a thriving community using land that was entirely fee, and not trust, property. If we don’t plan decades ahead, the current housing shortages in Indian Country will be significantly worse. Education trends in Indian Country. Building non-governmental institutions in tribal communities that can make a real impact. The difference between principles, culture, and traditions and how confusing the concepts can be used as a weapon in a bad way. Rebuilding cultural myths-as in collective stories that we use to guide the community. We packed a lot of ideas into the 60-70 minutes we spoke. Each topic could be its own show. I hope it sparks some conversation, and thought. Tell me what you think on the Facebook page! Tell me what kind of action it inspires you to take!
54 minutes | Jun 21, 2017
Joe Sarcinella on Fatherhood, Minimalism and Intentional Living
When Joe Sarcinella and I spoke, he was days away from becoming a father. As of publishing this episode, he is now a proud father (congrats!!). As a recent parent, I thought it would be fun to have Joe on NextGen Native to get the perspective of a recent first-time parent and a to-be parent. For those that aren’t parents, or have kids out of the house, this episode is also for you. Although we talk about being parents, the conversation occurred in the same context that our conversations did below. That is, the topic of parenting is centered within living life with intentionality, in control. How does one intentionally raise their child? How does one intentionally plan the rest of their life? One example: how do you raise a child in a 500 square foot apartment? We also discussed Joe’s latest diet (previously vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, paleo), and his latest approach to physical fitness (weight lifting, to ultra marathons, to weight lifting, back to ultra marathons), and minimalism. It’s a fun episode, and I hope that you benefit from it as much as I’ve had. Personally, I’m trying to apply more minimalism into my life, or at least rethinking it, thanks to Joe. http://nextgennative.com/joe-sarcinella-the-100k-runner/ http://nextgennative.com/joe-sarcinella-100-miles-awesome/
59 minutes | Jun 16, 2017
Heath Clayton on Hacking Growth, Mentors, and Success Through Naivete
“People like genuine people. People like people who are authentic, people lke people who show up with their true identity. And being Chickasaw is part of who I am.”-Heath Clayton One of the areas in which I love to dabble is what I call “life system hacking.” The basic idea is finding ways to create a life, circumvent expectations or bypass the norms of which we all are led to believe cannot be bypassed or circumvented. There are a lot of people who write about the subject online, and it can get a bit of a reputation as self-help like content. But I continue to expose myself to it because I think there are gems that can be found, if you know what you are looking for. I was excited to interview someone I think hacked the system quite successfully. That person is Heath Clayton (Chicksaw). Heath earned a Bachelor’s degree for about $3,000 without stepping foot onto a university campus. After “college” he worked in the White House at age 21. Not after 21 years of working in politics. At 21 years old. After home school and then earning a bachelor’s degree without going to college, he earned a Master’s from Carnegie Mellon University Heinz School of Public Policy. Oh, he also achieved a goal of visiting 100 countries by the time he turned 30. Now he is working to give back to other young Native people with the goal of showing them that much more is possible than they may realize. He’s mentored 40-50 people by his estimate. It’s a story that you need to hear. It’s a good reminder that there are amazing resources out there to utilize, and there are amazing people that will help you along the way. Have a listen. -- Heath's bio When he is not busy working in corporate philanthropy for a consulting firm, Heath Clayton is usually visiting a new country to feed his insatiable curiosity of the world. He spent the last few years working towards a goal of visiting 100 countries before his 30th birthday, a goal he achieved in January 2017. Heath is Chickasaw Indian and attended Carnegie Mellon University for graduate school on a tribal affairs fellowship. Heath previously worked in The White House under the George W. Bush Administration and on Capitol Hill before beginning his consulting career. Mentoring native youth on potential careers in corporate America or public policy excites him, and he is always looking for ways to stay in engaged with his tribe and Indian country. -- Some random links mentioned in this episode: Code 2040 Interview with Laura Weidman from Code2040 on Recode/Decode Native American Political Leadership Program Resources from Carnegie Mellon FEMA College Courses
62 minutes | Jun 8, 2017
Ryan Red Corn on Building and Creating Things
“There is a trap [in decolonization] that hinders a lot of potential growth. And that is centered in how we think about things. If you are only trained [to deconstruct] then you are stuck in a gear of deconstruction, which is important and useful. But if the goal is to increase capacity in Indian Country, then you are asking for builders, not destroyers, and that is a completely different type of thinking.” Ryan Red Corn (Osage) created the design firm Buffalo Nickel Creative and is also a member of the 1491s. He joined NextGen Native for a wide-ranging conversation. Although we touched on comedy and had some light hearted moments, our conversation covered much more beyond comedy. We talked about the role his work and the work of others in graphic design and branding can play a role in Indian Country telling its stories better. We discussed how being creative and artistic is closely related to being an entrepreneur. We talked about the media he uses to tell stories and how each is suited to have a certain impact. I dug into Ryan’s intentionality and how he uses it to manage his time and drive his art. One of the many things I enjoy about NextGen Native is diving into ideas and issues that take a deeper look into issues and events in Indian Country and my conversation with Ryan was very much in this vein. For example, Ryan discussed the impact and power of branding touched on using graphic design and branding in efforts to address the use of mascots. Or how when we engage in efforts to make change, we shouldn’t focus on telling “our story” but on “a story” that will resonate not only with those trying to tell it, but those who are listening. Or how our traditional economies were just that, economies. And how that history informs the work people do today. I hope this conversation sparks additional conversation on social media, at home, and in tribal council meetings. Let me know what you think or add to the conversation on social media!
76 minutes | May 17, 2017
Geoff Roth | Serving as Many as Possible
I felt this need to take my skillset and apply it as broadly as I could as long as I could still feel like I was affecting the community.” 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. Geoff’s 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. Before Geoff served as senior political appointee, he served in several high-level positions including the Executive Director at the National Council on Urban Indian Health and at the Native American Youth and Family Center. He also spent time at the Department of Education working in Indian Education. Geoff assumed the role of Executive Director at the Native American Youth and Family Center at 23 years old. Geoff shared on the podcast how he got that job, and we discussed how it set him up for future opportunities. Geoff shared that in order to stand out when applying for jobs, you need to really do your research. You need to distinguish yourself between the other candidates. Geoff said he spends a lot of time researching organizations when he is considering a job, and it sets him apart. You can do that be demonstrating your knowledge of an organization, its needs and how you can contribute to its goals. That first major job prepared Geoff to continue making significant growth throughout his career. In particular, he talked about how it gave him confidence to pursue big opportunities, even when when it is a stretch for him. This is only part of our conversation, but I thought it important to point out these two items specifically. I think it is natural for us to doubt ourselves and our capabilities. But Geoff’s story shows that you can find confidence, even create it. His story also shows what you can achieve when you combine hard work and preparation. Those two items, combined with that confidence, can create amazing results. Geoff is currently using his talents in his personal life. After many years of continually growing his professional career, he is giving himself space to find balance, think about how he wants to shape his life going forward. For someone that gave much of himself to tribal communities, I am happy to see him taking this time for himself. We cannot help others if we do not take care of ourselves. That is a common refrain on the podcast. Geoff is implementing that now, and no matter what he does in the future, I think there will always be part of him that impacts communities in a positive way.
59 minutes | May 11, 2017
Jared Yazzie | Just Create Something
"What's stopping you from making something?" 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. He recently won a scholarship to join an incubator , participated in an event at the Smithsonian, and won a contest held by Louie Gong's Eighth Generation. Jared's story is one of those "overnight success" stories you hear about. One that pops up after working hard, learning, growing and sacrificing. It was fun to hear Jared talk about where his business is headed, and how he occasionally still cannot believe when he finds himself in the company of other high-performing people. One of my favorite takeaways from Jared was his commitment to never stop learning. In whatever you do, I think that mindset is so important. Once you close your mind off from learning, you stop growing professionally, and personally. Jared is never going to stop growing. It will be fun to see where OXDX, and Jared, is the next time we connect on NextGen Native.
71 minutes | Apr 22, 2017
Raina Thiele, Athabascan and Yup'ik, is President of Thiele Strategies. Before starting her own firm, Raina worked for President Obama in the White House Office of intergovernmental Affairs. Raina joined the show to share her story that led her from Alaska to the White House and now to her current work. Raina's story is a great example of how hard work, willingness to take on new challenges, and timing can come together to present amazing opportunities. Raina certainly capitalized on her experience to advance the profile of indian Country. After attending Yale for her undergraduate degree, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government for her Master's Degree, Raina worked for the Office of Management and Budget at the White House. In that role, she gained experience in the inner workings of various programs funded by the government. Eventually, Raina had the chance to work more directly with President Obama through the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. It was that move that placed Raina front-and-center on President Obama's work on issues in indian Country. In her role, Raina worked on several high-profile initiatives. She helped plan the now infamous trip the President and First Lady took to Standing Rock. There, they met with young people that moved the first couple profoundly. Upon returning to DC, the President directed his staff to work on issues impacting Native youth. It was then that Generation indigenous was created. That trip alone would be a career highlight for many. Raina was able to double up when she helped arrange a trip to Alaska for the President. Most domestic trips last just a few hours, but the President stayed in Alaska for several days where he saw the impact of climate change and met with Alaska Natives during his trip.Travel and meet-and-greets are part of life for a President. Much of it is probably routine and many of the details probably fade from memory. Both trips appeared to inform the president through the remainder of his presidency. Raina shared details of these trips, her college experience, and more on this episode. Have a listen!
46 minutes | Apr 16, 2017
John Pepion on Open Minds and Never Ending Grind
The first time John Isaiah Pepion (Piikani) appeared on NextGen Native, I titled the accompanying blog post “Up and Coming Ledger Artist.” About 1.5 years later John returned to catch up, and from our conversation, the title was accurate! John’s on the move, and if you're not familiar with his work, you should check it out. We discussed how he has grown as an artist and businessperson recently. He mentioned he started growing even more when he opened himself up to learn and take feedback from others. This mindset can be applied to any job or activity. It can be hard to open yourself up to feedback, but it empowers you in a way that few other things can. As John opened himself up to feedback, he started engaging more and more with communities. His Instagram page shows tons of photos with him at schools. He also mentioned he spends time with elder groups. And through this service, he gains new insight and perspective on his art that he can use to grow, even while giving back to others. Besides John’s amazing art, his grind is really what is paying off for him. He travels everywhere, he’s been taking on cultural learnings at home, learning how to make his business more sustainable. And he still finds time everyday to draw. When you see someone growing their influence, and quality of their work, there’s probably a healthy dose of hard work that you don’t see, but it’s there. John’s trajectory looks awesome, his hardwork is paying off. He’s done collaborations with other amazing artists, etc. in Indian Country. It’s fun to see NextGen Natives grow. It’s fun to meet new people or connect with friends and colleagues and watch them transform, grow, overcome challenges and ultimately achieve success, with myself as a fortunate observer to their journey.
61 minutes | Apr 14, 2017
Heather Whitemanrunshim |
“Focus on being proactive and use the future as the guidance point when you [encounter] challenges. What you work for is bigger than us [individually].” Heather Whitemanrunshim is Apsalooke (Crow Nation). She is an attorney for the Native American Rights Fund (NARF) where she works primarily on issues pertaining to water law. Our wide-ranging conversation touched on two issues that I am still thinking about several days later. First, we discussed the need to be vulnerable to learn language and/or culture. I think it is a common experience that people our age grew up afraid to admit we didn’t know as much language as others, or we were worried about making mistakes. The alternative is to avoid it and avoid that experience. We need to foster environments that encourage learning and make it easier to be uncomfortable and make mistakes. As a new parent, I am thinking about how to teach my child about who we are, and that requires me learning even more along the way, too. She also shared the idea that we almost only focus on the concept of time immemorial with respect to the past. But she challenged us to apply the concept to the future. We will always be here into the future. I think that is just as important as thinking about the past. It helps contextualize the highs and lows of individual moments, because in the arc of one’s life, let alone many generations, those moments are small. Digging deeper into those two points alone are worth listening, and she covered so much more! We covered a wide range of other topics in our conversation including: Not being afraid to be vulnerable when learning languages, and fostering an environment where it is encouraged to learn, not where people are discouraged because they don’t know. How to work through difficult situations by providing multiple choices or consequences. For example, Heather was lonely when she left for boarding school, but when she thought about moving back home, she realized it wasn’t the right choice for her. Thinking about moving home provided the contrasting option she needed to push through to achieve her goal. Being open to opportunities. Heather attended the Institute for American Indian Arts (IAIA) and eventually the University of New Mexico. She did not consider law until a professor encouraged her to consider it. She listened to the guidance and it had a significant impact on her life. She worked for a law firm, as a public defender, for her tribe and eventually landed at Native American Rights Fund. And much more. Give it a listen.
49 minutes | Mar 30, 2017
Disruption in Indian Country-Mark Trahant on Emerging Forces in Our Communities
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, including elections, and 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. Official Bio Mark Trahant is an independent journalist and a faculty member at the University of North Dakota as the Charles R. Johnson Endowed Professor of Journalism. Trahant reports and comments on events and trends on his blog at TrahantReports.Com and on Facebook, Twitter (@TrahantReports) and other social media. He does a weekly audio commentary for Native Voice One. And, every day for nearly a decade, Trahant has written a 140-character rhyme based on a daily news story (@newsrimes4lines).He’s been a reporter for PBS’ Frontline series. The Frontline piece, “The Silence,” was about sexual abuse by priests in a Alaska native village. He also has been editor-in-residence at the University of Idaho in the spring of 2011 and again in 2012. He taught courses on social media, the American West and editorial writing. In 2009 and 2010 Trahant was a Kaiser Media Fellow writing about health care reform focused on programs the government already operates, such as the Indian Health Service. He was recently the Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage.Trahant is the former editor of the editorial page for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer where he chaired the daily editorial board, directed a staff of writers, editors and a cartoonist. He has also worked at The Seattle Times, Arizona Republic, The Salt Lake Tribune, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, the Navajo Times, Navajo Nation Today and the Sho-Ban News. Trahant is a member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock Tribe and former president of the Native American Journalists Association.
52 minutes | Mar 16, 2017
Warren Montoya | Building Rezilience
“Because of that one choice, so many other possibilities came up. They were already there…” Warren Montoya of Rezonate Art and Rezilience on finding new perspectives. Warren Montoya is the founder of Rezonate Art. He appeared previously on NextGen Native to discuss the company’s beginnings and goals. He returned to discuss what he’s been up to recently. Warren pivoted his work with Rezonate after realizing he wanted to change the way his business worked. He described in this conversation (and our previous conversation) that part of his goal with the company was to build a sustainable business that could eventually support other artists. Warren realized that he could change his business model so that he did the support and education directly, rather than use his profits through selling merchandise. The pivot required skills that we all should develop. This includes the ability to be honest with yourself and mindful of your emotions, ambitions, challenges, strengths and weaknesses. Out of this reflection, Warren and a group of others created Rezilience, a day long event focused on contemporary Native art in different forms. In the second year, Warren and the team is building Rezilience to be a platform for other artists and organizations. I think the idea is great, and I am excited to see how the event continues to grow over the years. This year Rezilience occurs April 30 in Albuquerque, the same weekend as Gathering of Nations. If you are heading to ABQ for GON, make sure you take time to check out Rezilience.
34 minutes | Mar 9, 2017
Keith Harper |Go Do It
“If you want to do great things, then you should concentrate not on what you want to be but on what you want to do. You don’t have to be anything specific thing to impact issues you care about…[assess] those things you want to impact, and then go do it.” Keith Harper (Cherokee) is a partner at the law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton. In January 2017 Keith completed his appointment as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Harper also served as one of the lead attorneys in the Cobell class action lawsuit. He appeared previously on NextGen Native to discuss his work, and he returned to share some conversation now that his post as Ambassador concluded. Like every episode, my goal is to celebrate the success of those on the show, and make their success relatable to others. With Keith, my goal remained the same but I really wanted to ask him questions about how he thinks about career development, growth and more from the perspective of someone that already achieved significant accomplishments in his career. I think we are used to hearing these conversations amongst peers, but I am curious about how people that already achieved great results think about growth and their career progression. i I asked what he learned about himself during his tenure, and what lessons he believes tribes (and anyone, frankly) can take away from his experience on an international stage. His insight is clear, concise, and actionable. Keith’s career already includes several significant achievements that few others have in Indian Country, let alone the legal profession generally. We are fortunate that Keith is willing to share his time on the show, because I think his insight is valuable to anyone that wants to grow and develop, or wonders how they can make a difference.
53 minutes | Feb 21, 2017
Gabe Galanda | Turning the Tide Against Disenrollment
“Look for those opportunities that may not be obvious to you.” Gabe Galanda is a member of the Round Valley Indian Tribes. Galanda is also a partner at the law firm Galanda Broadman. He joined NextGen Native previously to share his personal journey. If you haven’t heard his story, I recommend listening to his personal journey. It’s a perfect example of how one can overcome challenges to succeed in your own personal way, at a high level. His personal journey is prologue to his work for clients facing disenrollment. Through his law practice, Galanda emerged as one of the most vocal critics of disenrollment. For several years, he has represented clients fighting disenrollment. During that time he experienced many trying moments and challenges in his fight for his clients. At the time, not many people in Indian Country were openly discussing disenrollment, let alone fighting against the movement. But the tide may be turning. We spoke not too long after a #stopdisenrollment day of action and also following the decision by the tribal council for the Robinson Rancheria of Pomo Indians to re-enroll members that were previously disenrolled. Now, you’re seeing people speaking out against disenrollment, and taking action against it, in larger numbers. Much of that can be attributed to the work of Galanda and others who took on the fight several years ago. We discussed the fight against disenrollment, how Gabe managed the challenging battles on a personal and professional front, and what’s next in the fight. This includes an upcoming symposium called “Who Belongs” at the University of Arizona Rogers College of Law. The event includes a list of heavy hitters that will attend including tribal leaders and leading legal minds. This is a huge topic of the moment for Indian Country, and it’s one of the most heavy and intense topics, too. But this podcast creates space to discuss these issues in an in-depth, nuanced fashion, even if the fire still burns hot. This is one of those conversations, and I hope it sparks more across Indian Country.
62 minutes | Feb 17, 2017
Jaclyn Roessel | Taking the Next Big Step
“If I am going to bet on anybody, I’m going to bet on myself.”-Jaclyn Roessel 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 Jessica 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! Jaclyn Roessel shares a bit about what we can expect from Grownup Navajo in the coming year. She spoke about the various collaborations she has planned, and some broad strokes about other projects she plans to undertake. We discussed a variety of topics, including how “esperar” in Spanish means both “hope” and “to wait” and what that means for taking action. If you’ve listened to previous episodes featuring Jaclyn, you’ll know that she is about ACTION. We also discussed FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and what that means in Indian Country, being on “the front lines,” refilling your metaphorical cup, and how each person can play a role no matter where they are in their life. This is just the tip of the iceberg of our conversation. And that’s why I always enjoy these conversations with Jaclyn. She brings a perspective, energy and commitment to Indian Country that is refreshing. It’s also a rare combination, in my opinion. Have a listen, and be inspired.
63 minutes | Feb 7, 2017
Jessica Begay | Building Emotional Intelligence
“I’m eternally hopeful. Seeing [bad] things around me made me think that things can be better and should be better.” 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. Our conversation included a discussion of Brene Brown (start with her TED Talk), social and emotional development, and quizzes to test one’s emotional intelligence. The bigger idea than just sharing these ideas generally is about how we can spread these ideas throughout Indian Country. For whatever reasons we may not be well developed to express, understand and be comfortable with emotions, I think it is something we need to reclaim. It seems to be an under-explored part of our work in Indian Country, at least in a way that is positive and healthy. We discussed a variety of other issues, too (parenthood, running, discipline, Patagonia and bucket lists, and more) that made for a fun and well rounded conversation. It energized me in a way that I have not been energized in a while. And it’s exactly why I do the podcast.
56 minutes | Feb 2, 2017
Chelsea Wilson | Mentors, Growth, and Pushy Friends
“We have to show up and we have to apply for things outside [Indian Country]. There is no one better than us to than to represent at the national level.” Chelsea Wilson (Cherokee Nation) works at All Native Group, a division of Ho-Chunk Inc. She is active in the DC chapter of the New Leaders Council a member of the executive committee and is a previous fellow with the organization. If a full-time job and a one organization was not enough, Chelsea Wilson also chairs the Frontrunners Committee of the organization She Should Run. Chelsea Wilson describes herself as a giver, and if you cannot tell, she puts that into practice through the work she does personally and professionally. That character trait pays dividends back to Chelsea through the mentorships she’s developed over the years. And each mentorship helped Chelsea develop and find new ways to give back. It’s a classic story about how hard work, mentorship, and networks come together to provide opportunities to grow personally and professionally. Chelsea worked for the Cherokee Nation where her boss mentored her and gave her projects to stretch her development. Eventually that led her to DC. I knew Chelsea’s boss at Cherokee Nation and she mentioned to me Chelsea’s interest in moving to DC. When I ran into her at a reception, that a “pushy friend” forced her to attend, I mentioned that I was looking to hire someone for my team. After living in DC, Chelsea found her path through NLC and She Should Run. It’s refreshing to have someone that can articulate that their interest to serve in public office comes from a genuine place of giving. Many people say it, and for many people it’s true. But with Chelsea, you can feel her desire to serve. In this conversation we discuss finding finding mentors the right way, growing professionally, and being willing to fail by trying. Chelsea Wilson combined each of these into her current work and others are starting to take notice.
55 minutes | Jan 26, 2017
Jim Gray | The Next Generation is Today
Jim Gray is the former Principal Chief of the Osage Nation. Jim returned to NextGen Native for a conversation that I wanted to have since the day I started the podcast. Jim inspired the conversation with a “simple” Facebook post. When I read the post, I knew we had to connect again to dive into it. So what was the post? It was only 25 words. “I think it's time we recognize there's a change in our world and we need to make room for new voices in the great debate.” When I read that, Jim took me back to why I started the podcast initially: how do young people grow into leaders, gain experience, and share that experience. It’s not a simple question, and I struggled with ways to discuss it without sounding like a Young Turk. Jim provided some background with what inspired him, and we spent an hour talking about this single issue, more or less. Within that conversation, however, we swing from the very abstract to the very specific. We discuss how it applies to water protectors at Standing Rock, how experienced leaders find a new way to lead and follow, and how to translate events that coalesce people into lasting action. Jim’s the perfect person to discuss this issue. He’s a former tribal leader and national leader. He works as a tribal administrator. And he watches as his daughter emerges into her own leader participating in events like those at Standing Rock. I think this is just the beginning of this conversation. When I first conceived this idea, I knew there were young people with energy and ambition and a commitment their communities. Many of them are emerging into new roles, or growing within their roles today. It’s a never ending transition, but I agree with Jim that we are in a moment of larger change. Where it leads us I am not sure. But I am excited.
63 minutes | Jan 20, 2017
Chris James | Reservation Economic Summit
Chris James is the President & CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED), a role he recently stepped into. He grew up in Cherokee, North Carolina in the heartland of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Chris is busy preparing for the National Reservation Economic Summit (RES) that is quickly approaching in March. But he carved out time to share stopped by to share his story with NextGen Native. Chris’ story is one that rings familiar to me. It’s not only because our professional paths are similar, or that we’ve known each other personally and professionally. It rings familiar because it’s a story of personal and professional growth, that is based in a service to community. It’s the story of many NextGen Natives. We each face the challenge of how do we serve our community, even when that means moving away from home, growing and evolving into new roles, or finding new ways to live that purpose. Listening to Chris’ story, I reminded myself that much of the growth we experience comes in two ways. First, we often discount our own experience. When Chris worked for his tribe at the Sequoyah Fund, someone shared a job opportunity with him for a position in DC. He thought he’d never get the chance to actually work in DC. But he got the job and found himself adjusting to life in a new city. He doubted himself even when others encouraged him to take a chance. So often others see the potential in ourselves that we cannot see. Second, if you look at Chris’ story, eight years ago he worked for his tribe, and now leads a national tribal organization. In between he worked for the Department of Treasury and the Small Business Administration in senior positions. It may seem a steep trajectory, and one that cannot be duplicated. But if you dig into what Chris shares, you learn that each step along the way was simply one step beyond his previous experience. Each step leveraged his career to the point it is today, but nothing was a huge risk for him, it was a logical step. After thinking about our conversation, I wondered how many people in Indian Country are standing at a similar leverage point. By taking one step, then another, then another, where will each of us end up? It’s exciting and daunting. It’s exciting to think about all that can be accomplished. It’s daunting because it forces us to realize that it can be accomplished. I am forming an opinion that the things that make us most uncomfortable are the things we can reach if we try, but it’s scary to think about achieving that goal. The things that make us most uncomfortable are often the things we should pursue with the most passion. I’m excited to see what Chris will accomplish in his new role. I’m excited where his next small, yet leveraged, step, will take Indian Country. Where will your next step take your community?
52 minutes | Jan 12, 2017
Jackson Brossy | On the Shoulders of Others
Jackson Brossy is the Executive Director of the Navajo Nation Washington Office. He appeared on the show previously and returned for another conversation. 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 now because of 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 about palliative care and 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 met after college 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...