As a Hocak hinuk (woman), nani (mother), sister, and relative, Jill's life purpose resides within the space of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and is part of the bridge between Indigenous communities, academia, holistic wellness, cultural traditional healing, and healthcare. Jill's life work and lived experience have prepared her for this role. She has experience working in academic, corporate, and clinical settings both within Native American communities and in mainstream society. She has lived experience as an Indigenous woman in both urban and rural environments that add to her diverse worldview and give her a strong sense of grounded Indigenous voice to pursue her life purpose of helping to heal and empower Indigenous people.
Her experiences pursuing a PhD at University of Minnesota School of Nursing as an Indigenous woman allowed her to develop a heightened awareness of systemic racism and oppression. She recognizes systemic racism and oppression are deeply embedded within healthcare and academia. Far too often, she sees non-Indigenous people benefit at Indigenous communities’ expense when they are rewarded as leaders and advocates of diversity and equity. They often publish research articles and misrepresent, misinterpret, and misguide their ‘findings’ within Indigenous communities with adverse impacts on Indigenous communities.
This experience gave her life purpose and call to action a deeper sense of need and urgency: the opportunity to stand her ground, speak her truth, share her Indigenous lived experience, and find comfort in uncomfortable spaces, conversations, and initiatives. We all have tremendous work to do and cannot accomplish this alone. I hope to continue to network with others who value diverse and Indigenous voices and perspectives. We can impact social climate change that will give life and acceptance to diversity, equity and inclusion.