+SPOTLIGHT | Traven Joseph

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Traven Joseph

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What are your tribe(s): A’aniiih and Koyukon Athabascan

What’s your age: 24

Ndn name: Bad Road

Name: Traven Joseph

What are the first 3 words that come to mind when you hear the word healing?

Remembrance, laugh, love

Bio/ backstory, tell us what you DO and a bit about how you came to do it.

I currently work in Congress, legislating with one of Oregon’s Representatives. Being a lifelong student, I have always found it important to understand the mechanisms of all things. Anywhere from governments to my own life holistically. Finding time to take care of my mind and body, either from exercise, reading book, and listening to my many teachers in life. I look to keep myself busy and continue learning from the places I work and the people I interact with. Learning from community keeps you busy, and self care and education are all things we can always work on. I’ve always stayed grindin’ in this life, that’s how I have come to what I DO now.

How do you heal?

I heal by picking apart and piecing together thoughts about my past and my present decisions, by critically understanding my environment and how it impacted my decisions. Connecting that past with the present and how I can continue my life with positive energy. I heal by talking through the difficult things in my life, past and current. Most importantly, I heal by living my life with positive energy and treating myself and everyone else with love, kindness, and laughter. I walk with positive energy and a smile with every step while giving my attention to whatever is in front of me.

What is your calling right now?

My calling right now is packing my life full of experiences and giving my time to the places and people I am with. Creating memories and making the most of the time I have with my friends and family. To me, this can be from my professional experiences or from leisure time, which I am extremely grateful to have a balance of both in my life. This is what will be the host of my happiness; my connection to others

Do your ancestors affect what you do, how you live? If so, how?

Absolutely they do, I understand that our ancestors have fought for our way of life and have passed down their resilience and teachings through many generations to my existence today. I have a different fight than what our ancestors had in their time. The fight I’m living through, that many of us are living, is directly related to their actions that have allowed us to create the life we live now. To have moved away from their small, rural or isolated communities to an urban area set me up to have the education and standard of living that I was privileged to have. This is due to the sacrifices my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on had to make to better their own lives and in turn, mine. Moves that could not have been easy, but I will always be thankful for the choices that generations before me have made with myself, my siblings, and new niece in mind.

Who are your Mentors/ role models?

My mentor and role model is my mother, Jillene. I have experienced and learned so much from her and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I owe everything to her. She continues to be a source of guidance for me and for so many others. She teaches by doing, and myself learning by watching and doing has given me life lessons I will always be able to grow from, especially her eternal sense of giving with love.

What inspires/ drives you to keep going?

My mother and siblings. I want to do well in my life so that I can help them do well in their own lives as well. I want to be able to give back to my mother and siblings because they have given so much to me that has created the man I am today.

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?

Do not live your days so gently, be vigorous in the love you give yourself and with the love you give those around you.

I20SP