It seems every step I've taken in this new path, I feel a strong sense of responsibility. Not only a responsibility to my family, but a responsibility to share my knowledge and experiences with anyone who will listen. Anyone who knows me, gets a sense of the passion I feel for the work I do and will continue to do. This strong sense of responsibility stems from the knowledge of knowing that there is a small percentage of Native Americans who pursue an education beyond high school and an even smaller percentage of those that pursue a graduate education. Why is this important? Because there are so many issues that tribes all over the world are facing and it seems we are only still trying to dig our way out of the many years of turmoil. Those who do not understand the many years of infastructual damage that have turned our tribes inside out, really have no clue of why we live the way we live. I hear all the time.."you natives get free health care," or "you put yourselves here", or "you chose to live this way," or "where is all that money from the casinos?" Here is a little insight from someone who has grown up in a world where alcohol and physical abuse is the norm, where our healthcare system is struggling to meet the fast growing needs of it's people, and where there is an on going battle in tribes over who is able to receive tribal resources and who is not....and many other issues that you would be surprised to know we are still struggling with.
Getting a higher education isn't just about getting a better job or making money, or even to show our friends back home that we have become respectable "important" individuals. Rather, it's an opportunity to educate ourselves so that we can lead our people in a direction of healing. I realize this may not be the case for every Native pursuing a graduate degree, but in my opinion (as that this is my blog), it should be. I am always amazed at the work of communities who come together to bring about healing and unity. My biggest question is "How did you do that?".."How can I do that?" My reality is knowing that "I" can't do it. It's has to be the priority for everyone.
With all of this on my mind, I have to say, I'm very restless. There is so much work to be done and it has to be done on so many levels. Part of my restlessness with this is thinking to myself, where do I need to be to make the most impact? Grassroots, returning to school to get a PhD to generate research or getting my PhD in Health Policy and addressing these issues on a legislative/policy level? I also think to myself..that I don't necessarily have to have a PhD to make these changes, but it would help. Right now, I'm just trying to align myself with working in a positive working environment with motivated healthcare providers who are just as motivated as I am to providing the best care possible. Because I'm still new and have MANY things to learn, I am being careful with who I align myself with. Getting experience is at the top of my list for the next few years, but honestly I am one of those people who has to feel confident in those I'm working with.
The point being....I am still very much in transition. I'm exploring many new professional relationships, learning about who can be trusted and who can't, finding a balance between my very "loud" passion for the work I am doing and my important roles as a mother and wife. Let's just say I'm still putting all the tools in my tool box so that I can tactfully get our issues (Native American) addressed and hopefully educate more communities on these issues. Like I said, I can't tackle these myself, but I can try my best to find innovated ways to get more people involved. The changes I hope to see, most likely will not happen overnight or even in my lifetime, but any little bit of a change in the right direction is still encouraging. I feel blessed that midwifery has opened my world up to think about all the factors (social/ethical/spiritual/governmental) that effect us all.
Which brings me to the reason for starting this blog. If you've read the "why's " in my last blog, about becoming a midwife, this one is not so much about me, but about all the amazing relationships and information I've been allowed to be apart of. I've attached all the websites I used during school and still use professionally as a CNM. One of things I love about midwives is, we are not just about mom's and babies, you can bet we are involved in policy, legislation, business, world health, research, and many more areas I'm still learning about. My education and training has taught me a lot about these areas and it would be a shame for me not to share it with you. Most of us are strong willed and committed to doing best by those we care for. I hope this blog is informative, as well as, a glimpse of what I find so thrilling about what I do.