My ancestors come from many places. But culturally, I’m Sqelixw (Salish) and Amskapi Pikunni (Blackfeet). I’ve tutored and mentored young people for 8 years with places like CSKT Tribal Health, Salish Kootenai College, The Boys and Girls Club, and the MT Food Co-op/Kids’ Co-op. I’m also a wilderness survival instructor where I specialize in heritage skills, plant relationships, and survival scenarios. I’ve done this for 5 years but I’ve utilized these skills most of my life.
I’m also a scholar and a father. I’ve successfully completed a short list of disciplines while raising 5 children. Although it’s been tough at times, my kids have taught me exponentially more about growth than I ever learned on my own.
Some of my qualifications include a Bachelor of Environmental Science, an Associate of Forestry, a Master Level Tutor Certification, a Geospatial Science Certification, and a Wilderness First Responder Certification. Now, I’m extending my passion for nature to SUNY-ESF, where I’m currently pursuing a master’s degree in biocultural restoration.
This passion for science stems back to a childhood spent in the mountains. But growing up in the ambiguous world called “Indian Country” didn’t hold much meaning for me when I was that scrubby-faced boy running around the small rez-towns of western Montana.
It wasn’t until I grew into a man that I’d begin to fully understand the meaning of growing up on a reservation. And it wouldn’t be until my college years that I’d realize how important Indigenous communities are going to be in the decades to come. Humanity is yearning to see the world again with new eyes and these eyes will be colored by the perceptions of indigenous peoples.
My experience with coaching also stems back to childhood, but in the towns and countryside of the Flathead Indian Reservation. And I didn’t know it was coaching. Since I can remember, I seemed to find myself in circumstances where I had the opportunity to help other people. It was like I just seemed to be in the right place at the right time. So, I naturally filled teacher/mentor roles as I moved out of childhood and through teenhood on the reservation, and eventually into an adult/college lifestyle.
It took a while, but I saw that the things I said to people tended to have a profound impact. And as I volunteered and mentored with young people more, I noticed that these same principles also applied to older people…
Then it all clicked.
Being clear about who you are and what your purpose is may be the most important thing you can ever do. It leads to health, wealth, and happiness.
But there’s a paradox. You will never actually know who you are because who you are is constantly changing. So clarity involves patience, tenderness, and awareness. And it also requires boldness, aggression, and action. These are ways that I grew up believing in as that scrubby-faced young boy.
The day I recognized the benefits of these ways in other people’s lives I realized, right then and there, that this is my calling. I’m meant to help others find clarity. Which is great! Because I absolutely love seeing other people succeed.