COLUMBUS, Ohio –
Editor’s Note: The Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime recognizes National American Indian Heritage Month each November. We are highlighting employees of American Indian heritage throughout the month in honor of their enduring contributions to the agency’s global mission of logistics support to America’s warfighters.
What is your position title and role?
My position title is Supply Chain Person of Contact. I serve as a primary analyst for requests to prepare readiness status reports submitted to the assigned supply chain. I research, determine support status, identify issues, and make action recommendations relating to items which are managed by assigned supply chains. I am responsible for a wide range of logistics support functions to assist the directors of Customer and Supplier Operations personnel.
What do you think about when you hear National American Indian Heritage Month?
I generally think of three themes: family, resiliency and strength. I recall family as the core to our survivability and how generations of my people worked together in harmony with the earth towards that end. I reflect on resiliency and how it’s the center of our lives bringing into balance the mind, body and spirit with nature. I reflect on the strength of my people to find hope, peace, prosperity and happiness despite historical peril. When I consider these things, I’m filled with pride not only during the month of Harvest but throughout the year.
Who are some people of American Indian heritage you admire?
Susan La Flesche, a reformer and first recognized Native American to earn a medical degree; Wilma Mankiller, an activist and first Native American to be elected a Principle Chief; and Maria Tallchief, the first Native American to earn the rank of First Major Prima Ballerina. Each of these people lived lives that echoed the importance of family, resiliency and strength. Their journey has been a fountain of strength and wisdom for me.
In your opinion, what challenges remain for American Indians today and how can understanding history help us to overcome them?
Awareness is perhaps the most significant challenge. Specifically, awareness of the service and sacrifices rendered in the growth and development of this nation. The American Indian community is not simply relegated to living on appropriated land in specific states. We are doctors, lawyers, political figures, military professionals, laborers and DOD civilians woven into the tapestry of this great nation. We labor daily to preserve nature and contribute to the greater society. I think an awareness of American Indian’s contributions to this nation offers an additional lens towards understanding the richness of the United States.
How long have you worked for DLA Land and Maritime and how did you get your start here?
I have been employed in DLA Land and Maritime for fifteen years and nine months. I was fortunate enough to be hired through the Pathways to Career Excellence Program.
Who would you say was your greatest influence in choosing your career?
The greatest influence in choosing my DOD civilian career was Ms. Yvonne Pardon (retired).
What is your favorite thing about your line of work?
The most favored aspect of my job is delivering analytical support to the Army Industrial Depots that result in quality, on-time parts delivery at the point of need.
How has your family’s American Indian ancestry/origins influenced your life?
My life has been most influenced by my family’s relationship with the earth and spirit. In my daily life I utilize natural herbs for healing and practice the spiritual teachings to maintain life balance.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given you?
The best advice given to me was to always view obstacles as an opportunity to grow and succeed rather than a hurdle to hold me back.
What personal accomplishments are you most proud of?
I am most proud to be a mother of two successful adult children, a grandmother of two boys and two girls, a graduate with three bachelor’s degrees and an MBA. I am also proud to be entrusted with high levels of responsibility both personally and professionally.
If you could learn to master one thing, what would it be?
I’m working toward and look forward to conquering math! One calculation at a time (lol).
What did you want to be when you grew up and why?
I wanted to be an activist and journalist because I love being a voice for the less fortunate and writing.
If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
I would choose to be a Speaker of the House. The day would be utilized in two segments: Open the floor to move the thoughts back toward the whole of the nation opposed to “own ideas/selfish desires” and reshape the current roles. Finally, begin immediate debate on prevailing issues and drive toward consensus. Wherever it may lead.
What’s the most thrilling/adventurous thing you have ever done?
The most thrilling experience was when I volunteered for deployment to Kuwait. It was a six-month tour for the DOD, Army and DLA mission in-theater. The experience illuminated the value of the daily activities performed stateside within DLA by connecting directly with mission outcomes I witnessed on the ground. It was thirteen years ago but it’s still the most memorable and honored experience I have encountered working at DLA.
If you could pick a personal motto, what would it be?
Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are. When I finally understood the truth behind this motto, I was able to free myself of trying to be who others projected me to be and began being the person that I was created to be.
Editor’s Note: The National American Indian Heritage Month observance has its roots in Public Law 99-471. In the intervening years, the observance was moved to different months until Public Law 101-343 set the observance in November. Please note that the title of this observance varies between agencies. The Department of Defense’s Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute uses the title set forth in the Public Laws, and that title is used at the beginning of this article to signify the DOD-wide observance. By Presidential Proclamation, the month is also observed as National Native American Heritage Month. In 1924, Congress enacted the Indian Citizenship Act extending citizenship to all U.S.-born American Indians not already covered by treaty or other federal agreements that granted such status. The act was later amended to include Alaska Natives, and as such, the month is also recognized as Native American/Alaskan Native Heritage Month.