Honoring You by Cabinet Secretary Kelly Zunie
Thinking of the many Native women I meet both professionally and personally I am amazed everyday at the sheer tenacity that they wake up with and face the world. I am especially inspired by the women who show up everyday to nurture their families, support their kids at their school/sporting events, run businesses and programs, take time to do the cooking for feasts, care for the elders, enjoy their family time and basically handle the everyday tasks of life with happiness in their hearts. I also understand that life isn’t always so positive and easy.
Many times women will tell me that they don’t ever plan anything because plans never work out, or that they don’t have dreams because dreams never come true. I totally understand where they are coming from because at one point in my life those very words came out of my mouth. I used to view life through a victim lens, meaning that I blamed others and circumstances for my own lack of joy and happiness, lack of purpose in life and lack of motivation to do anything! After awhile even I got tired of hearing my own story of lack over and over and over.
I remember talking to my mom about how hard life was and basically just complaining and she said, “If you feel like nothing is going the way you want, then DO something about it!” Of course that rendered me speechless and made me mad…not mad at her but mad at myself. It also made me think of another quote that says, “A person either hates losing enough to change or hates changing enough to lose.” I decided that I strongly disliked losing!
I decided to own my power, to create a life of my own choosing. I dove into book after book looking for examples of happy women, strong women, women who lived their lives based on principle, women who lived lives of integrity, women who aren’t afraid to show love to their partners, children and communities. THAT continues to inspire me. It doesn’t happen overnight, so please exercise patience with yourself.
Each of us is born with a mission and purpose. You may feel a strong pull to one of following: feed the hungry, heal the sick, educate the ignorant, clothe the naked, comfort the lonely, spread beauty, inspire the masses, heal families, liberate the captive.
There are many more and you get the idea, but begin to recognize your gifts, talents and abilities. Put down the magnifying glass and pick up the mirror. Recognize that you bring value to your families, your jobs and communities by living your mission and purpose. Your voice is valuable. No matter how bad a situation may look, we need to understand that we stand on the shoulders of great women who came before us. We are now the shoulders upon which future women will stand. We are the grandmothers, mothers and aunties that carry on positive traditions, culture and language. We do not have to perform tremendous feats of multitasking to be great.
You are enough. You are my inspiration. You are a Native woman.