I had the honor of speaking with 1,000 High School students at Atrisco Heritage Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


NDN Lady…

NDN Lady-Image

I’m sorry… I truly am…
I didn’t mean to offend
That wasn’t my plan
It’s ok I am always a friend
Whatever your blend

But then again
I woke up today in pain
I woke up hearing my NDN name
And the woman who raised me
She said baby
It’s ok to love blindly

But mom
I got this thing inside me
I don’t know why see
I want a little me
Like you had a little you
But I need an NDN too

And the kids at school
They make fun of my long hair
And I wake up scared
I know that I’m different

Daddy called me a wild NDN
And I believed him
So when I grow up
I want my bow and arrows
I couldn’t ever imagine
Building those Scare Crows

No mom
I’m coming home
The world is shady
And I became NDN lazy

I think it’s…
Time to wake up
And then wake up
In NDN places

Like it’s in my blood,
I hate going through pain
I hate finishing the day
Saying, “what the fuck!”

NDN girl your beautiful
You pained me
That’s just my luck

And maybe just maybe
I am crazy
But that’s ok
It’s not a game
I’m healing the pain
It’s a beautiful life
And I’ll do it again

NDN Lady you created me
And NDNs made me
So I’m loyal to my Ancestors
I won’t let the future erase me

Taking grandmothers shame
And looking for answers
She married an Irishman
And he left her alone…

Like he wasn’t thinking about taking her home
And maybe it’s because she was brown
Or I don’t know why or how
Maybe it’s because she just wouldn’t fit
Into his own hometown

So you see Mom
It’s not about me
My love isn’t blind to the times
I need an NDN lady
Please come and save me
Oh NDN lady…


Native Wellness Institute

I am Honored, and Blessed to become the newest member of the Native Wellness Institute. Come and visit the FaceBook page to learn more, and how to get your community involved in promoting wellness and healing!!
The Native Wellness Institute exists to promote the well-being of Native people through programs and trainings that embrace the teachings and traditions of our ancestors.

The Native Wellness Institute exists to promote the well-being of Native people through programs and trainings that embrace the teachings and traditions of our ancestors.

Company Overview
The Native Wellness Institute was founded in 2000 by a knowledgeable and dedicated group of Native individuals, including tribal leaders, committed to making a positive difference in Indian country.

We are a 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization serving as the leading provider of Native-specific and wellness-related training and technical assistance (strategic planning, program design and curriculumdevelopment) to Native people, communities, tribes and organizations throughout North America.

From bringing together the most highly-skilled Native trainers and consultants to share their knowledge and wisdom at large national conferences, to offering smaller regional workshops in Native communities that improve physical, spiritual, emotional and mental well-being, the Native Wellness Institute (NWI) is bringing about positive changes like no other organization of its kind in Indian country.

Our focus on the healing and health of Native America continues to bring about positive changes today…while clearing the path for a more rewarding and fulfilling tomorrow.

General Information
Wellness Training Programs
For Adults, Youth and Professionals

NWI is the leading training resource for Native communities and organizations. We provide an array of training and technical assistance services and specialize in the following five areas:

Healthy Relationships

Youth and Adult Leadership Development

Wellness in the Workplace

Technical Assistance (curriculum development, program development and implementation, program reviews and evaluations, strategic planning, focus group coordination and facilitation, special projects, etc)

Native Wellness and Healing Training and Retreats

Graphic Design Services

Additional training and technical assistance programs can be designed to meet the needs of your community. In addition, if you are looking for a wellness related speaker for a particular event, NWI can provide that as well.

If your program, organization or company would like NWI to provide training or technical assistance, please call Jillene at 503-666-7669 or fill out the attached form and email to or fax to 503-669-8339.

On the Ice.

     One thing I will say about Whaling is this: It is a way of life that brings the people together. The Inupiaq people feast on these huge animals, and this has been their way of life for over 12,000 years..

Image     The Bowhead whale– A Creature so beautiful, that it truly offers its life to bring these communities together. To feed, and nourish the circle. The people come together, they work together, and they laugh, and they smile. They cry with tears of joy. Families and friends gather and communicate with positivity- With words, and without.                                                                                             

    I can honestly say that the Inupiaq work harder than most people have ever imagined having to work for food. The amount of work that a whale requires is beyond measure. It takes a tremendous work ethic by everyone involved.

Nothing goes to waste.

    These people continue to live off the land in a way that can never be experienced in any other way than this just is. No farm could ever breed a reciprocation of this ancient way of life. It cannot be mocked. The spiritual connection with the land and sea is a powerful feeling. Especially when you are in a boat made of Seal skins which is sewn together by sinew made from Caribou. It holds the crew afloat in water that could take your life in a matter of minutes. There is a fine line between the delicate measure of survival and demise. These boats are sewn together by the women of the tribe who put their love and prayer into these boats, knowing that the men they care for will need to be safe in their creations. 

     It is no doubt that the women work just as hard as the men do. They spend months beforehand preparing the winter clothing so that the hunters can stay warm on the ice. They ready the food, they prepare dinners and celebrations in case a hunt is successful. And if it is a successful hunt, they stand on the edge of the ice waiting for a celebration to begin. If a hunt is not successful, then that is reality and still, they give thanks for life, for the safety of every crew on the water. For what they believe in. This is their Tradition. 

     The men who are on the water risk their lives to do what they must to carry on that tradition. To remain Inupiaq. 

A whale truly gives itself. 

    At an average of 50 tons, they could easily dominate the small Seal skin boat. An elder told me while we were on the ice:

     “We caught a whale a few years back. A Scientist was here to do some surveys and what not. When we butchered it, we found a stone tip arrow head inside of the whale. They carbon dated it to be 211 years old. That old whale must have been 250-300 years old. Who knows. The scientists say they can figure out how long they live, but some of the whales that are swimming out there right now, have been here a lot longer than scientists, so I doubt that.”


     Standing before a one-hundred thousand pound animal that was fifty-seven feet long, and lying on the ice was one of the most powerful feelings i’ve ever experienced. The animal’s spirit lingered in the air and I could feel it. I was overjoyed, yet saddened by her death. It was a she and she lived a long and prosperous life. I imagine she decided it was her time. She lived with pure thought and good intention full of delicate love. She dreamed once. She cried at one time, and loved her young with the love that only a mother carries for her child. She has encountered dangers in the past and persevered. She’s felt emotion as we have. If she could speak, imagine the stories she could tell. I’d like to imagine she even gave thanks to the creator, and I imagine she even prayed in her own primitive way, that is and was as beautiful as ours. She gave her life to us. To the Great Spirit.

We give thanks. Saddened and proud, humbly and solemnly, we give thanks to the Creator and to her for this wonderful gift that will be honored. Whaling is a beautiful kind love that brings people together. Just as the Buffalo once did for the Lakota and Shoshone, and every other tribe that graced the great plains with their presence. Just as the Salmon once did for the Northwest coast tribes. Just as the Sheep once did for the Navajo. Traditional Inupiaq whaling is still pure, and it is still theirs. It remains sovereign.