I found inspiration for my memoir, Medicine Tracks, from my father. He was my greatest role model and taught me how to grieve in a healthy way after the loss of my mother and siblings. The strongest part of my own inner strength, determination and perspective come from his positive example and all that we have experienced together.
“This time was a lesson in patience, and it took me a great deal of time to realize that I needed and asked for this lesson. My experience so far has taught me that the deepest level of learning is through these kinds of hard lessons. He didn’t realize that he was still playing the role of my teacher. Even through his dementia, he had gifts to share with me and ways to mold me into being a better human.”
I have a stack of journals filled with some of my hardest life experiences, some beginning at the age of seventeen, which are a vital source of inspiration for me, especially during trying times. These journals are valuable tools, which allow me to go back in time, to see myself as I was then, prior to healing. Journaling has regularly been a form of self-care, an outlet for emotion, and a positive way for me to release my struggles. They say writing a memoir can be like experiencing ten years of therapy, and my experiences have found this to be true. Publishing Medicine Tracks has been just one part of my biggest accomplishments in pursuing a writing career. The amount of work it took for me to relive these traumas at such depth, was necessary in order to create an authentic experience for my reader. I had feelings of depression and old wounds were exposed, which became my biggest challenges to overcome. There were periods of time during the writing process I became very introverted and depressed; however, that process became another form of healing that I never expected.
“Medicine Tracks are intuitive steps one takes to find a new path towards self-healing. They can lead you to particular people and places that offer great joy. However, within these same experiences can end with suffering and turmoil. This form of medicine is challenging and requires patience. This process is meant to ensure the growth that needs to occur, in order to achieve a new profound healing from within”
I had my first taste of being an entrepreneur thirteen years ago when I made the decision to leave the hair salon I worked at and move to a new location renting a booth. I was tired of making a lot of money for someone else and not feeling appreciated. After six years of building up a strong clientele, I was secure enough in my ability to fully make the change. My decision to work independently went well, and I continue to love the industry, where I work part-time taking on new hair clients. Being my own boss is a huge blessing as a single mother. The flexibility to work from home and spend more time with my daughter is priceless.
Back in 2012, I took on another type of entrepreneurship after graduating from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition with my holistic health coaching certification. I began a private health-coaching program with a primary focus on an individual or family unit’s personal relationship with food and how to incorporate new lifestyle changes for the rest of their lives. My passion for teaching others the concept of “using food as medicine” was inspired by my ancestors and their foodways. I continue to work with clients, and families in the Spokane area, alongside my passion for supporting Native American communities with holistic-based health and nutrition. Native Americans have the highest rates of diabetes due to colonization and being stripped of their foodways. Medicine Tracks shares some of this history and how we can still utilize traditional foods and plant medicine to heal the body from the inside out.
My latest writing project is a children’s book that was inspired by the storytelling of my grandmother, written shortly after my becoming a mother for the first time. During my third trimester, I began drawing visions for the book that featured my daughter, later titled Bigfoot and Lightning Bug. I grew up hearing stories about Bigfoot from my grandmother, so the story was influenced by my culture, along with important values of caring for our Mother Earth and how we treat one another. Big foot and Lightning Bug is currently in the layout process and will reach distribution this summer, through another small locally owned women’s business, Accessibility First (ThinkAccessiblityFirst.com).
Accessing different forms of entrepreneurship has allowed me to feed several of my passions, and integrate some together, including paid public speaking, webinars, seminars and workshops. And, with this, activism now plays a huge role in my life, especially when it comes to protecting our natural resources. I want to instill these same values in my daughter. I believe there are many injustices that need national attention and awareness.
One cause, which I am committed to standing behind, is Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). Washington State has the second highest rate of unsolved cases, while homicide is the third leading cause of death for indigenous women ages ten to twenty-four. There are numerous reasons why these cases go unsolved, some due to jurisdictions, no media attention, and limited resources. The future of our planet and the next generations rely on the choices we make today, and it is important we get involved to help make a difference.
I am also actively working to protect the right of entrepreneurship for cosmetologists. The industry in Washington State is under attack by several bills set to eliminate this form of entrepreneurship. Bill 5326 was brought to our attention at the end of 2018 and would have made it illegal to run our business as booth renters. The cosmetologists of Washington joined together and showed up in large numbers to the hearing in Olympia to voice our concerns on the negative impact it would have with regards to our livelihood. In addition to our physical presence, we sent countless emails and made phone calls to our local representatives in legislation. After the hearing, 5326 was terminated; however, four smaller bills were proposed, to also limit our right to self-employment: 1601, 5690, 5513, and 1515. Our industry is comprised of mostly women, and we are simply trying to provide for our families. We take pride in doing so as entrepreneurs, but under these new proposed bills, the state is attempting to classify us as independent contractors; in the past, we have always been classified as sole proprietors. Bill 1515, a task force bill pertaining to employer and employee status, will go to legislation for a vote later this year. We will continue to fight this bill and bring awareness to our clients while ensuring entrepreneurs from other industries, with similar circumstances, are also well-informed.
PREPARE A MINDFUL LAUNCH
- Before launching any new business, begin networking with other businesses that can offer a referral program and vice versa. Find a small business association that you can relate to and benefit from as well by taking an active approach to building your network of other entrepreneurs.
Utilize social media and supportive friends to share and promote your business through their networks. Social media has become the new wave of connections on all platforms, and it just takes some time and effort to establish a following for your business.
Make the conscious choice to support other woman entrepreneurs, as it is key to building relationships and will indeed empower us all. Our economy is showing a huge rise in women-owned businesses, and it’s an exciting time to be a part of that momentum and growth.
Before registering your business, become up-to-date on the current policies and possible bills that could pass through your residency. Having this knowledge beforehand puts you in a better position to make an informed decision on how you operate your business.
The matching ribbon skirts my daughter and I are wearing were custom made by Native American designer, Agnes Woodward (Instagram: @Reecreeations). I met Agnes back at Standing Rock while cooking meals for the water protectors in the main camp, and we formed a sisterhood. In Medicine Tracks, I described my experience of being a part of this collective unit gathered together to protect sacred land.
“What we all had in common, was that we felt called to be there. And as strong Indigenous women, we had a purpose to help our relatives and future generation in their plight to protect our Mother. As Native people we don’t claim the land to be ours; we understand it is shared with all living things. However, in these instances, we have to fight for the legal rights to our land, even when that same land was already promised to our ancestors.”