Shiloh White Hawk
Jicarilla Apache & Assiniboine Dakota Sioux
from Dulce, New Mexico.
"Initially, I thought that I wasn’t artistic so I wasn’t sure what I would bring to the table when I started at Native Works. After some time I felt comfortable, I was working on something that was already there. I put my best into whatever I am working on so any opportunity that was given to me I tried to jump on it. When I started screen printing, I was surprised at how much went into making a T-shirt. It makes me feel good knowing that someone is buying something I made and wearing it. The fact that its contributing to Chief Seattle Club as well is an awesome feeling.
I spent 10 years of active duty in the Air Force, so I was able to travel all over the world and meet different people so coming to Native Works and working with different people from different Tribes and seeing how they incorporated their different traditions in their art, there were some similarities there. To be a good leader you have to be able to follow first so working with Native Works brought out my natural instincts to work hard and learn from those around me.
I was a grass dancer and I was taught the old ways of grass dancing. There’s an old style and a contemporary style. The old style has a lot of elements that are made from the earth and aren’t as flashy as the contemporary style. Working on Native Works ‘Home’ bracelet reminded me of when I use to dance. It makes me feel good that our Native Community here takes pride in what we are doing and making, even though our traditions may be different. We all come together with one goal and that’s to help each other out with the resources the Club provides. I get to learn a lot from the Elders and that’s something that is invaluable about my work here that I enjoy.
Coming from a reservation prior to here and becoming an Urban Indian I get to see a lot of both sides. I learned a lot growing up in a remote area about the traditional ways. When I was in the military I kind of lost touch with that because I was busy in my career and doing what I had to do. In the past I was active in my culture but like I said I lost touch with my culture. As far as Chief Seattle Club, the services that they offer for Natives is just one little aspect of what they provide. Being in a group setting and learning from others is setting an example for the younger generation. I am 35 but there’s a lot of younger people who see us working on our art and returning to our culture and they can look up to us, while we learn from our Elders. Native Works and Chief Seattle Club provide that gathering space and that’s essential for being Native in an urban environment. I’ve lived in a lot of cities and I’ve never seen anything like Chief Seattle Club before as far as a centralized place where we can all gather together, whether it’s just to eat or greet each other or work together on art in Native Works.
The services provided through Chief Seattle Club have been so helpful and I have been able to utilize them. With everything that I’m going through in my personal life, my supervisors go out of their way to expresses concern for how our individual lives are going at that moment. I am diagnosed with PTSD and I’ve suffered with it for years. It took me a lot to get out from under it and to be working with Native Works has really helped me cope with a lot of the things I’ve been struggling with and fighting with, whether its depression, PTSD or the stress of finding housing. The products that we sell go back into providing these services. helping people helps the individual as well. I think it’s great that we can set an example for all Tribes to see that we can all come together as one and help each other out. It’s a great thing to be working for the club and to be a part of something bigger that’s changing people’s lives. When I move on I will still be a club member, I think we’re all one big family."