My journey has been incredible. I have never been more blessed than to have the freedom and ability to exercise my purpose. I have been in regular contact with my Hawaiian mentors, Behavior Design educator, Dr. Kyra Bobinet,M.D. and my educational institutions to stay on track with my fellowship objectives. One of my most notable add-ins to the fellowship was participating in a workshop on Shame and Vulnerability with Dr. Corey Martin, M.D. (2017 Bushfellow). In November, my partner and I spent the weekend at a experiential workshop with 18 other people learning about how shame plays a part in our decision making and our relationships with others. During my research in community activism and learning of the plight of Indian oppression, I knew that I was going to have to challenge myself personally to understand what shame is and how it keeps us in the dark or fearful of change and risk taking. Well, community health in Indian communities is a sensitive subject and although my experiences with Elder teachers during previous apprenticeships led me to the conclusion that we need to nurture and rebuild tribal identity via the Ojibwe language, there have been many setbacks and redirects that involve dealing with shame in the community. Much of this work in leadership is about you, what you do, how you do it and how you work with people. Although we have specific leanring objectives built into the Fellowship, we still must do the “dirty work” in knowing ourselves to the very best of our ability. My own shame and how I choose to protect myself from feeling it plays a role in my partnership, my parenting and my community work. It plays a huge role in my self-love, authenticity and ultimately my leadership ability. While attending the Daring Way Workshop, I had the chance to investigate my inner-workings and gained strategies to recognize and manage shame and vulnerability. I left there knowing more about how innovation, joy, and courage all come from being vulnerable.
Behavior Design will be a tool that I will gain in my work with Bobinet at Stanford Medical School. To know why we do what we do(our default settings) is going to grow the awareness and make room for meaningful change. My preliminary reading has brought me to a place of knowing more about self-compassion and grit. Trying and re-applying desired behaviors is a means to meet our goals. But without self-compassion and the grit in resiliency, it is likely that the desired behaviors will seem too challenging and remain in the “undone” box on your to-do list. So there will be more to report on this subject after my first year of the fellowship is up.
When we attended the Bushfellow retreat this past spring, I felt challenged and somewhat overwhelmed at the thought of tweaking my fellowship plan to include more but now I see that this was the staff at the Bush Foundation encouraging me to be flexible and to trust my own intuition. If it weren't for the encouragement, I may not have agreed to participate in the Daring Way Shame and Vulnerability Workshop. For that I am truly grateful. My door to self-examination has flown open once again.
As for my academic work, I have applied for spring term 2018 graduation at the College of St. Scholastica. I will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, American Indian Culture, and Linguistics. I have an internship coming up in January 2018 with Dr. John Nichols (Emeritus Professor at University of Minnesota--Twin Cities) who has agreed to work with me till graduation. My work in linguistics this year is giving me experience in language learning policies. He will guide me first-hand in creating language revitalization proposals as course requirements!
So far, this semester I have done research of the history or Indian education and how present-day policies are still aligned with some of those assimilative procedures that lead to language death. Boarding schools in some way affected many Indigenous people in the United States. Therefore, a credible analysis and strategic plan must be developed to save the 530+ different Indian nations that live in this country.
Being awarded a Bush Fellowship has given me a new reality. It’s unlocked something inside me that didn’t seem locked up until the past couple of months. My friendships and work relationships have also begun to move in a more positive and productive direction. Partnering and parenting has been strenuous at times but more than fulfilling. I am very proud to know that my children see me every day building my leadership and going the extra