As a Native coach and trainer for over 25 years, I think there is a movement going on in Indian Country. Our people want to be healthy, strong, and heal from our historically traumatic past. It’s finding the courage to step out, step up and say, “I am ready!” without fear of ridicule or being made fun of because you want to change. I know when I decided to get healthy at the age of 23, there were a lot of people who said, “you think you’re better than us, who do you think you are, you are nobody, it’s not going to make you any different, you will be back.” Well, I never went back. I feel too good to do that. In reality, I didn’t and still don’t believe I am better than them. I wanted what my ancestors wanted- to be a strong Native Warrior, ready to defend our people and serve our people in any way I could.
In today’s time, there are more drugs being sold and used, sex is seen on television and there is a general lack of respect. Alcohol is sold at every event and corner, and it’s all readily available for everyone. Social Media also places its negative footprint in our lives every single day. How do we combat that and become healthy in an otherwise, hostile environment.
You hang out with those that have the same goals and dreams as you do. You see, a dream is already real, but it’s up to you to go out and get it. It’s already a reality, but how bad do you want it? What sacrifices are you willing to make to change behaviors and thoughts and reach for the stars? The first is to hang out with people who have a like mind. They want to change, they want to be healthy, they want to be in balance.
Our family has several mottos that we follow. The best is, “Have you made your Ancestors proud today?” Every single day, when I leave the house, I pray that I can do that. I pray that if I make a mistake that it doesn’t hurt anyone and that I can learn and grow from it. I pray, that someday, when I reach the spirit world, that my ancestors can look at me and say, “Great job warrior, great job, you made us proud by serving and helping the people and we are proud of you.” Before I go to bed at night, I give thanks for the opportunity and I always ask myself, did I make my ancestors proud?
As you head into 2015, sit down and write down some goals for the year. No, I’m not talking about a New Year’s resolution. Write down some goals that you want to strive for. Healing only occurs when we open ourselves to it and we are honest with ourselves. What are you going to do differently in 2015, to make your ancestors proud? You can’t keep doing the same things you have always done and expect different results!! Take those first steps today to change your life and to make your ancestors proud of everything that you do. YOU CAN DO IT!!
About the author
Wade is a descendent of Chief Red Bird Smith and the National Director of Native Programs for Bigger Faster Stronger, which offers clinics for coaches and athletes on the proper way to train. Wade emphasizes culture and identity as an asset to improve performance. In school, he excelled in football, basketball, track and baseball, for which he was highly recognized. Wade attended Haskell Indian College, where he still holds seven individual offensive records and from which he graduated with honors in liberal arts and natural resources. Wade and his family reside in Worley, Idaho, on the Coeur d’Alene Reservation.