A perfect Colorado summer evening


"West Virginia, mountain momma, take me home, country roads"

Last week I had a wonderful opportunity to travel up to West Virgin-ey for a leadership seminar.  It was hosted by the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Offices. A total of 12 tribes were represented and I felt honored to be part of such a wonderful group of people.

My head was so full of new and great information by the time I left on Thursday and I can't wait to implement what I learned.  I love being re-energeized and being reminded that although our work is challenging, it is also so fulfilling.

We stayed at the Fish and Wildlife's National Conservation Training Center which sits on over 500 acres.  It was beautiful and I felt like I was at camp all week.  All our meals were provided for us in a large dining hall with huge rustic chandeliers.  Giant taxidermy bears, deers, and wolves graced the hallways. The rain sat over us most of the week, but I didn't mind too much.  It made the already green vegetation vibrant and the smells of boxwood and dogwood hung heavily in the air.  I didn't think my hair could get any more frizzy from humidity, but apparently West Virginia's got nothin' on South Florida!

On our last evening together, we all headed down to the fire pit.  Although the rain had finally stopped, it had soaked most of the wood, so it took awhile for the fire to get started.   We made s'mores, laughed, told stories, and shared about the week.  I sat and listened, watching the crackling fire create bouncing shadows and turning everyone's faces a deep amber.  It warmed us from the chilly damp air and as the sky grew dark, we all drew closer to the fire. The fireflies eventually appeared and twinkled all around us, no doubt trying to compete with the twinkling stars above.  


Its easy to get caught up in the day to day drama of the office and we can quickly forget why we do what we do. The fights in Indian Country are real and hard and it takes strong leaders to make significant and positive changes. Sometimes I'm not sure where my future career will take me, but I hope that I will always have the opportunity to work alongside tribes.