+ SPOTLIGHT | Siera Begaye
What are your tribal affiliations?:
What’s your age?:
What are the first 3 words that come to mind when you hear the word healing?
Hozhó (balance), Prayer, and Community
Shí éí Siera Begaye yinishyé
Tsé Ńjíkiní bashishchiin
Ákót’éego diné asdzáán nishłį́
This is how Siera Begaye identifies herself as a Diné woman from the Navajo Nation.
Having moved to Page, AZ in elementary school, she grew a strong bond with the canyon walls and plateau peaks that would eventually turn into a love for visual storytelling.
Known to have an outgoing personality and an affinity for the visual arts, she is a working model, actor, and co-owner of a production company. She has collaborated extensively with Native artists across Turtle Island in an adamant effort to increase representation of indigenous women in media and technology industries. To sharpen her skills, she received training at the world renowned acting school, The Second City, in Chicago, IL and is preparing for upcoming roles in independent short films. A self-taught social strategist, she has quickly become one of the top influencers in Native Country and has led to partnerships with nonprofits like The Native Wellness Institute, I20SP, Well For Culture, and The Anasazi Foundation.
How do you heal?
I’ve been healing and identifying that every day is a healing journey. On a day to day basis I’m constantly healing; by laughing, continuing to go to traditional ceremonies, improving my relationships, making a positive circle of friends, and offering my spirit that self-love. We are going to go through certain things and that is just humanity. I started to heal when I knew that I couldn’t do it alone, I had the humility to ask for help because my wellbeing depended on it. As much as those who’ve helped me heal, I wanted to return that energy and do it on a day to day in my own community.
What is your calling right now?
My calling is to creating visual medicine. Being involved with certain projects such as “Native Women on The Front Lines” a video spotlight talking about sexual abuse and the parallels to environmental abuse in Standing Rock, South Dakota. Also working with the influence I have with my online community reaching 20K people; my posts focus on social issues, positive encouragement, and healthy relationships. Being in the community I’ve helped facilitate workshops with the Native Wellness Institute. My first experience with NWI (Native Wellness Institute) was through the Native Youth Leadership Academy in 2014. Leading up to a intertribal collaboration with The Indigenous 20 Something Project which is a project under NWI that started in 2017.
Do your ancestors affect what you do, how you live? If so, how? Like in what way?
Growing up in a traditional family the understanding of our culture and the responsibility of what our ancestors have passed down to us has shaped the person that I am. On sunny or rainy days they are our stability, a spiritual people that we’re able to root ourselves to. I’m still learning so much about my people and culture and I plan to continue to learn for the rest of my life. It is a blessing to be able to have that knowledge in my generation today. They have given us all a chance to live and walk in beauty. The lessons they have passed down to us will be carried with our people for thousands of years to come.
Who are your Mentors/ role models?
Who ever you come across in life I’m sure they’ll be able to teach you a thing or two. I deeply respect all the relations that we are able to make. My role models are women who are bringing positive change into their communities. My mentors are the matriarchs in my family.
What inspires/ drives you to keep going?
My Ancestors, community and younger generations continue to inspire me.
If you could relay a mantra, message, wisdom, ism, food for thought to Indigenous 20 somethings from the US and abroad what would you say?
I encourage you to “Hozho Nahasdlii”- Live in balance, Spiritually, Mentally, Emotionally, and Physically. You’re a person/spiritual being don’t forget to take care of your spirit and love yourself.