Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Friday, January 09 2015
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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jpeg_pic.jpgHow to Enjoy the Holiday Season

We are in the midst of the Holiday Season and it will reach a fever pitch soon. Here are some suggestions to help you enjoy the holiday season.

Find meaning in the Holidays

We learn what a holiday means to us from our childhood. We observe what the holiday means for other people then interpret meaning to it. We gain notions about what a holiday is from the media. It is important to spend some time figuring out what is important for you and your family. Is it the time you spend together? Is it cooking? Is it being in fellowship together? Is it the rituals you built with them over time together? Figure out the meaning of the holiday for yourself and your family.

Building Family Traditions

The holiday season can be an incredible time of the year, but they can also be difficult for some of us. For myself, I am in the midst of building traditions with my family. Every year we clarify what is important to us, as individuals and as a family. Every activity is reviewed for whether or not it will continue on to the next year, or not. We are building family traditions together. It’s an exciting process.

Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Saturday, November 01 2014
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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jpeg_pic.jpgIf you are anything like me “Health and Wellness” is something that I aspire to do in all aspects of my life. For me it includes the mind, the body and the spirit. I didn’t grow up understanding what “Health and Welllness” meant. Throughout the years, I’ve been an active learner in this process. Ultimately, what I learned is that I need to be patient with me, allow myself to grow from my mistakes, forgive often, trust myself and maintain a spirit of discovery.

Mental Health

Depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks are some of the issues that Native people deal with. Some of these issues are biological in nature. That means your body isn’t producing the right combinations of chemicals so you feel out of sorts. There are medications available to help you get your body back in order. Get in touch with a psychologist or a psychiatrist to get the help you need.

I understand there is fear of going to a therapist or “shrink.” I know way too many people who don’t want to be diagnosed cause may mean that they are weak or something is wrong with them, so they avoid getting the help they need. They suffer silently. Sometimes, they use drugs or alcohol to feel better. Unfortunately, substance abuse is temporary and it can make a situation worse. There are many wonderful Native therapists out there, find one and give it a try.


Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Saturday, October 11 2014
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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jpeg_pic.jpg Language is essential to our lives. It is how we define ourselves. It is how we recognize the world around us. It is how we name our individual, communal and collective journey. Language is crucial to our being.

I grew up in a home where Lakota was spoken by the adults. My parents experienced the boarding school era. They chose not to teach us our language for our safety, they didn’t want us to experience ridicule, experience disconnection or experience loss. It is as adults that we learned to understand our language.

Growing up on the Rez, I didn’t understand the nuances of languages until I was exposed to people outside of my family and my community. As an adult I came to understand these people, their notions of themselves and how different we are. Most spoke formal English that sounded different. They framed their ideas differently. Believe me, it was confusing.

Sounding Rez is a hybrid language. It is a blend of languages, traditional Native language and English. Speaking Rez intertwines ideas, weaves our natural story telling ability and there is a cadence to the sound of it.

I still hear people speaking ‘Rez’ here in the city. When I hear it, I am suddenly home. It is when another Native on the street says, “Hey Nij” or “Hey Koda” or “Hey Kola.” I recognize them, and there is a connection. We are familiar to each other. There is a history that connects us. They become an aunt, an uncle, a cousin, a sibling, a beloved relative.


Nick-izms: Rez Born, Urban Raised
Monday, September 08 2014
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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jpeg_pic.jpgAs Native people, from a diverse world views, we have a lot more in common than we don’t. ‘Am I Indian enough?’, ‘Living in an urban environment and on the rez, am I indian?’, ‘What is being Indian?’, ‘How do we reconcile our painful histories so we survive, as a people?’

For a culture to survive it must adapt. It must remain relevant with the sociopolitical community constructs that enable it to survive. Twenty years ago I moved to the Twin Cities; it was 1987 when I fell in love with The Cities. I was a wide-eyed kid from the rural Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, on the end of summer trip for a college prep program, Upward Bound. The Twin Cities pulsated with excitement and called for me to discover it.

With the blessing of my parents and the love of my family, I embarked on new opportunities and the challenge of attending college at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D. I would return back here to work for ValleyFair for a summer when my love affair with Minnesota deepened.

The vibrant community of social activism pulsated. I come from a family that is active in tribal politics and understands how essential it is to be an active community member. Once I completed my undergraduate, I dreamed of Minnesota. The Twin Cities, the place where AIM began and their call to action brought me here.

Little did I know that my rural reservation upbringing would challenge me. Generations of my family, as many Natives, grapple with assimilation and integration. Over the years, through social activism and being involved with community, I found myself being the lone Native voice at the table. Firstly, I needed to define my voice, pull apart the childhood lessons with the urgency of being in non-Native spaces, ‘speak when you are spoken to,' 'don’t speak over people when they talk,' 'wait your turn to speak,' et cetera.

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