A life-changing ‘Experience’
Passing a level of comfort to conquer a challenge may be daunting, but if pursued, I promise, stem beautiful life moments. Walking into FNX for my first day of interning was the most nerve-racking opportunity, and yet, since then, enlightenment is what I have gained. Helping to build such a great movement so early in its infancy while learning from such talented and diverse minds, brings the highest of honor to my heart. From the daily assignments of hard work at the station, to the weekly events and outside shoots, my life started to weave excitement, peace and ambition in a place where doubt and insecurities fringed.
My love and curiosity for the Native culture on a personal level is being fulfilled and heightened everyday with each new project; and with each new experience brought real stories that, in turn, seemed to bridge the gap between me and my family’s native culture with the Muscogee Creek Nation, four generations removed. While attending events and conferences I was being taught by Natives themselves and not some person far removed from the lifestyle whose perspectives were tarnished by the familiar, yet ignorant, stereotypical views.
While attending the California Indian Conference, I was captivated by the variety of accounts and discussions being presented by such extraordinary people from all over this state. Some of these stories passionately retold the sickening, modern day struggles still being faced today. Whether it’s the fight of being recognized as a Tribe, the struggles of innovators needing approval for their culturally based charter school, protests for pieces of land that have no voice to cry out against governments attempts to exploit its resources or a Native language sadly becoming extinct with just one more generation, all of these and so many more, some too brutal to mention here, exemplified the endurance and heart of the Native people as a whole.
That same endurance and heart was captured on film when we interviewed a Native family business. Their tattoo shop was the hub and heart of their family, whose purpose was to create a place for clients to feel comfortable and at ease, no matter their background; a business not driven by profit but by high standards, at times even having to turn away prospective clients because their wishes were too immoral to satisfy.
I am both fascinated and proud to be so welcomed during these events, displayed mostly during the Indigenous Peoples Day event at San Bernardino Valley College. The entire audience was called to surround the Bear family in the middle of the Greek theater. We all joined hands and round danced as they sang out in the night sky. The drums echoed all around us while the smell of sage met our noses with the help of the wind. In unity, we helped ask for friendship and gave thanks to the elements around us, for which we often completely ignore.
It is such a breath of relief to witness a culture full of people who honor their elders, who give thanks to the things that are so often taken advantage of, who care so deeply and passionately about the earth and the people who fill it up, native or non-native. If everybody was more familiar with this way of life, we would be more at peace as a people and less destructive to the Earth in which we only borrow from our children. I am happy that this network is shedding light on such a glorious way of life. Thank you FNX, for not only changing my life, but also the viewers who take advantage of its content. I am filled with excitement as the network builds each and every day.