IndigenousWell™

Health Stories

Here We Go Again . . .

Here We Go Again . . .

Stacy Leeds (Cherokee Nation) | Age 52 | Downtown Phoenix + Tahlequah | Part Three ᏦᎢ Last month marked the third anniversary of this blog AND the one year anniversary of my re-entry into the law dean world. Last year,  I chronicled my health hesitancy with the post: Dean 2.0. Spoiler alert.…

Pete Coser, Jr: Apeyvkes! (Let’s Go!)

Pete Coser, Jr: Apeyvkes! (Let’s Go!)

Pete Coser, Jr. | Age: 42 | Jenks, OK (Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reservation)Muscogee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Marathon Runner Pete’s dad is an educator and that was my tie to the Coser family. Over the last few years, I’ve been watching Pete Coser, Jr. as he had made remarkable strides in…

Famous Last Words, Dean 2.0

Famous Last Words, Dean 2.0

Last week, most of you heard that I’ll be starting a new gig soon. In the latest episode of “the 20 year old Stacy never saw this coming,” I’ll pick up as dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University effective February 1, 2023. This…

Thyroid + 12 Years of No (Real) Bread

Thyroid + 12 Years of No (Real) Bread

Stacy Leeds (Cherokee Nation) | Age 50 | Tahlequah | Part Two ᏔᎵ | I launched IndigenousWell one year ago this month and laid out my (un)healthy story for the world to see. It was a doozy. Since then, 24 of my friends/colleagues have generously shared their own health journeys…

Robbie Vann: Being Change, Breaking Cycles

Robbie Vann: Being Change, Breaking Cycles

Robbie Vann (Cherokee Nation) | Age 34 | Tahlequah I met Robbie Vann when we both worked at the Cherokee Nation Gaming Commission several years ago. She’s one of the many Indigenous women who I keep tabs on, even from afar when we have very little day-to-day personal connection. And…

Alison Black: Genome of Community + Blood Memory

Alison Black: Genome of Community + Blood Memory

Alison Black (Cheyenne, Ponca, Osage, Prairie Band Potawatomi) | Age 41 | Red Rock Indian country is small, especially in Oklahoma. Really small. There are people you kinda know, even if you don’t really “know” them. That was me and Alison before we “actually” met each other in a basketball…

Auntie Ballers and How Natives “Discovered” Basketball

Auntie Ballers and How Natives “Discovered” Basketball

Basketball holds a special place in Indian country. In fact, Natives “discovered” basketball and now claim it as their own. True. It’s ours. If you are skeptical of this “discovery” assertion, you should have been in Norman, Oklahoma this weekend for the Annual “Oklahoma’s Best” All Indian State Tournament. Or…

Mae Dean Erb: “I’m Nothing Special”

Mae Dean Erb: “I’m Nothing Special”

Mae Dean Erb (Cherokee Nation) | Age 77 | Blackgum, OK Shortly after creating this blog, I reached out to Mae Dean Erb to see if she’d be willing to share her story. From the beginning of this endeavor, she has been on my mind of the people I hoped…

Lynn McCulley: We Really Are Made of Dirt!

Lynn McCulley: We Really Are Made of Dirt!

Lynn McCulley (Cherokee Nation)| Age 63 | Sequoyah County Back in 2007, I placed my name, my whole heart, my ideas and a bit of my ego on a public ballot for the first time, as a candidate for Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. As far as vote tallies…

Mariah Black Bird: Find Your Target Feeling

Mariah Black Bird: Find Your Target Feeling

M The best part about being a law professor? You get to be around bright young people and the positive energy they bring to most things. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship: you teach and mentor them, and if you do it right, some of them will be your life long…

Lori Enlow: The Gift of Life

Lori Enlow: The Gift of Life

L Despite my best efforts and self-awareness, my mind will still sometimes take a word and then pop-up a stereotype. A quick image in my mind of what X should look like. When you hear the words “ultra-marathoner” and “endurance athlete,” what do YOU think of? My friend Lori Enlow…

Candessa Tehee: From the Inside, Out

Candessa Tehee: From the Inside, Out

C In previous posts about Julie Reed and Melissa Lewis, I’ve made reference to a group of Cherokee educators and scholars that are collectively listed at Think Tsalagi and given the name ᏗᎦᏓᏤᎵᎢ (digadatseli’i) by the late Cherokee elder Benny Smith, meaning “we all belong together” – as in, we…

Greg Bigler: Screw Shoes

Greg Bigler: Screw Shoes

G 2020 was full of sadness and grief, but it also brought the joy of reconnecting in a meaningful way with my old friend Greg Bigler. Here I use “old” both in terms of the time we’ve known each other and the fact that he’s sort of an elder now,…

Dora Smith Patzkowski: Small Steps, Big Strides

Dora Smith Patzkowski: Small Steps, Big Strides

D For the most part (with noted exceptions), Cherokee people are incredibly positive. I find this elsewhere around Indian country as well. Communities full of people that for many generations, have every reason to get down on life, but they still focus on the positive and enjoy a deep belly…

LaNice Dorlac: Victim to Victor

LaNice Dorlac: Victim to Victor

LaNice Dorlac (Cherokee Nation) | Age 22 | Hometown: Tahlequah In 2013, I met LaNice. At that time, she was one of the fiercest 15 year olds I have ever encountered. I had the good fortune to judge the Junior Miss Cherokee competition when she was crowned and instantly fell…

Mike Stewart: Choices

Mike Stewart: Choices

Michael Stewart (Choctaw Nation) | Age 48 | Lawrence, KS Although this a blog was created with Indigenous women in mind, we will include men’s health stories as well, especially if there’s a special tie. In this post, I introduce Mike Stewart: my ex-husband and the father of my son.…

Corey Upchurch Johnson: Damn Ticks

Corey Upchurch Johnson: Damn Ticks

Corey Upchurch Johnson | Age 48 | Wagoner, OK You know those friends that just get you? The kind of friend that you can go years without seeing, and then pick right up as if you just saw them last week? I’m blessed with several of those kind of friends…

Daniel Schlittler: Finding Your Medicine

Daniel Schlittler: Finding Your Medicine

Daniel Schlittler (Cherokee Nation) | Age 41 | Alajuela, Costa Rica For the next health story, I’d like to introduce you to Dan, the first member of my family to willingly agree to be featured on this blog (as opposed to my parents, son and husband, who get dragged in…

Gabe Galanda: Everything Changes

Gabe Galanda: Everything Changes

Gabe Galanda (Round Valley – Nomlaki/Concow | Age 44 | Seattle, WA Health stories have different origins, motivations, paths. If we are lucky, being deliberate about our own physcial, mental and spiritial health will lead to one shared outcome: living longer, fuller lives. If that happens, the higher the likelihood…

Not Andrew Jackson’s Tennessee

Not Andrew Jackson’s Tennessee

My 12 year old son is a history buff, but a Cherokee/Choctaw one. After riding along (in a car) on a thousand mile journey following the Cherokee Nation Remember the Removal riders from New Echota, Georgia to Tahlequah, Oklahoma back in 2016, he became obsessed with Andrew Jackson and his…

Sam Alexander: Elders v. Flat Bellies, Game On!

Sam Alexander: Elders v. Flat Bellies, Game On!

Samuel Alexander (Muscogee (Creek)) | Age 74 | Wagoner, OK I’ve known Sam Alexander for many years. Watched him as a member of the Muscogee (Creek) National Council, actually the Speaker of that house, and as a CPA. I have much respect for his contributions to Indian country and the…

Robert Saunooke: A Time to Heal

Robert Saunooke: A Time to Heal

Robert Saunooke (Eastern Band Cherokee) | Age 56 | Cherokee, NC It was high time we let a man tell his health story around here, so I reached out to my friend and Indian law colleague Rob Saunooke. He was recently featured here by the American Bar Association for his…

Devon Mihesuah: For the Long Haul

Devon Mihesuah: For the Long Haul

Devon Mihesuah (Choctaw Nation) | Historian + Writer | Indigenous Foods Devon Mihesuah (Choctaw) is a friend and colleague since my days at the University of Kansas. She inspires me on so many levels. She’s one of the most prolific scholars and writers I have ever known. And a really…

Julie Reed: Fake It Until You Make It

Julie Reed: Fake It Until You Make It

Julie Reed (Cherokee Nation) | Age 44 | Currently: State College, PA As I said in my recent post about Melissa Lewis, I am part of a phenomenal mutual admiration society fan-girl club of Cherokee women scholars. We keep tabs on each other (and our brothers) at ThinkTsalagi. Julie Reed…

Kimberly Jumper-Brown: Intervention to Inspiration

Kimberly Jumper-Brown: Intervention to Inspiration

When I launched this website, I had a few rules in mind. At the top of that list was no “before and after” pictures. No magic pills. Nothing to make anyone feel insecure. No suggestion that health has a final “finish-line” where all your goals are met. No one “truth”…

Chrissy Arch: From Hobby-less to Success

Chrissy Arch: From Hobby-less to Success

Chrissy and I work together on the founding corporate board of Kituwah LLC, the business diversification company of the Eastern Band Cherokee. That’s been a great experience because I get a chance to visit the Cherokee homelands more often and it has blessed me new friends, especially Chrissy. I love…

Johnnilyn Kutten: Healers as Heroes

Johnnilyn Kutten: Healers as Heroes

Johnnilyn Kitten (Cherokee Nation) | Age 61 | Montgomery Village My heart and soul hurts for the profound season of grief and loss we see all around us from COVID. But even in the darkest of places, joy can be all around us. It gives me great pride (and joy)…

Melissa Lewis: Indigenizing Health

Melissa Lewis: Indigenizing Health

Melissa Lewis (Cherokee Nation) | Tahlequah | Public Health Expert + Modeling Lifelong Community Learning Parents aren’t suppose to have a favorite kid, and in that spirit, I’ll walk a very thin line as I talk about my favorite Cherokee women scholars. I’ve never met a Cherokee scholar that I…

Stacy Leeds: Being (un) Healthy

Stacy Leeds: Being (un) Healthy

I’m a professor, former law dean, judge, mom. The last 25 years, I’ve been going hard and fast. Most of the time, my energy is spent on the good stuff I wouldn’t take back, but I have a tendency to revert back to a lifestyle that could kill me if…

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Stacy Leeds: Being (un) Healthy

Stacy Leeds: Being (un) Healthy

I’m a professor, former law dean, judge, mom. The last 25 years, I’ve been going hard and fast. Most of the time, my energy is spent on the good stuff I wouldn’t take back, but I have a tendency to revert back to a lifestyle that could kill me if I didn’t get it together. I’m still very much in the process of getting “it” together. But I’m on to something.

Famous Last Words, Dean 2.0

Famous Last Words, Dean 2.0

Last week, most of you heard that I’ll be starting a new gig soon. In the latest episode of “the 20 year old Stacy never saw this coming,” I’ll pick up as dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University effective February 1, 2023. This will be my second rodeo: […]

Auntie Ballers and How Natives “Discovered” Basketball

Auntie Ballers and How Natives “Discovered” Basketball

Basketball holds a special place in Indian country. In fact, Natives “discovered” basketball and now claim it as their own. True. It’s ours. If you are skeptical of this “discovery” assertion, you should have been in Norman, Oklahoma this weekend for the Annual “Oklahoma’s Best” All Indian State Tournament. Or check out any state championship […]

Lori Enlow: The Gift of Life

Lori Enlow: The Gift of Life

L Despite my best efforts and self-awareness, my mind will still sometimes take a word and then pop-up a stereotype. A quick image in my mind of what X should look like. When you hear the words “ultra-marathoner” and “endurance athlete,” what do YOU think of? My friend Lori Enlow has forever changed those words […]

Picking Up Broken Glass + Broken Hearts

Picking Up Broken Glass + Broken Hearts

This week, I audibly sighed. At so many things. Near the top of that list? A few of the questions posed to the Hon. Deb Haaland, a Laguna Pueblo woman nominated to serve as the next Secretary of Interior. Not just the Indian Affairs part of Interior, the whole Department of Interior. I processed some […]