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 and my role is as a primary analyst for requests to prepare readiness status reports submitted to the assigned supply chain. I’m 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 toward 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, Wilma Mankiller and Maria Tallchief. Flesche was a reformer and the first recognized Native American to earn a medical degree. Mankiller was an activist and the first woman elected to serve as Principle Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Tallchief was the first Native American to earn the rank of 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 Department of Defense 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 Indians contributions to the nation offers an additional lens toward understanding the richness of the United States.
How long have you worked for the federal government including military service? Thirteen years.
How long have you worked for L&M and how did you get your start here? I have been employed in DLA Land and Maritime thirteen years and was fortunate enough to be hired through the “Pacer Program” formerly known as the DLA Intern 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). Editor’s Note: Pardon was inducted into the DLA Land and Maritime Hall of Fame in 2014.
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 results 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 use 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 you back.
What personal accomplishments are you most proud of? I am most proud to be a mother of two successful children, a grandmother of two boys and two girls, a graduate with three bachelors’ 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 step 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 sit on a white sandy beach to read a book and write poetry.
What’s the most thrilling/adventurous thing you have ever done? The most thrilling experience I have had 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.
If you could pick a personal motto, what would it be? My motto would be: Push for higher ground and never accept less, no matter how many doors are closed in your face, don’t give up, keep moving forward.