Season 2 - Episode 4: Working with Native American Communities


October 20th, 2020

43 mins 26 secs

Season 2

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans, and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States. Indigenous peoples are the first people.

We recently, for the first time in US history celebrated Indigenous Peoples day, formerly Christopher Columbus Day. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the newly branded day. When many of our fellow Americans think of Native American people, vivid images of headdresses, wild and free dancing, mystery, and what is most likely the most popular thought would-be “cowboys and Indians.“

The relationship between Indigenous peoples of America and newcomers is complicated, to say the least. These complications have driven such a deep divide that they are indeed different worlds. Despite Indigenous Americans often living on sovereign lands apart from the majority of Americans, they are experiencing the same disparities in their lives that other people of color in America experience.

The impact of COVID-19 on Native peoples have gone wholly unreported. In fact, there is no news concerning Native people, readily available to the non-native population. This has contributed to the ignorance about the very people who paved the way for every newcomer to this land to live and thrive.

Our guest today, John Bird “Elk Child,” is a Diversity and Inclusion professional and has a Masters in Education. Although he was trained as a clinician he quickly realized that he had to choose between doing clinical mental health work or community/organizational work. He chose to work with communities and organizations and has been doing some form of that for the past 35 years.

John is also a proud member of the Black Foot People, who reside in both the U.S. and Canada. During this episode, John shares the rich history of the Black Feet Nation, belief systems, and communities of some native people that are in such contrast with the way the majority of Americans live, that it seems almost otherworldly. Tune in, take it in and apply all that you can to your life and the lives of others.