When I was young, I had one dream that led to another dream in my adult life.
Fresh out of college, I applied for my first teaching job. Back then, you completed your resume with a section that showed “your interests.” I remember typing “I hope to become a Native children’s author.” Little did I know it would take 30 more years before I landed my first contract.
Perseverance and a constant pursuit of knowledge in the craft of writing carried me through. Writing for children is not easy. Even though I kept going, there were many times I wanted to quit.
A perfect example of being creative is this cartoon The Arc of Every Long Project by John Hendrix.
Surrounding yourself with an encouraging community will help you reach your goal. They will guide you in your craft and hold you accountable…so…you…just…keep…going.
In the middle of pursuing my first dream (around 2001), an important person in my life, Donald E. Loudner, asked me to share my research to help others. This led me to another dream I didn’t know I had.
Once I shared my research with Don Loudner, the Commander of the National American Indian Veterans Association, he invited into a special community.
Over time, Native people who wanted recognition for ALL American Indian Code Talkers came together. Collectively we identified at least 30+ tribes who had code talkers who served in WWI or WWII. The most well-known group is the Navajo, but other tribes like the Choctaw, Comanche, Hopi, Meskwaki (Sac and Fox), and other Dakota/Lakota nations (and more) also had members who used their own language to send messages over the radio during the war. These men saved lives.
During many rounds of presenting evidence to Congress, in support of recognizing these men for their honorable service, I connected with incredible people, including Dr. William C. Meadows (who has continued his research of code talkers), Robin Roberts (veteran, who actively engaged in the campaign for recognition), Comanche Chairman Wallace Coffey and Choctaw Chief Gregory Pyle, to name a few. Finally, a bill was signed into a law in 2008, recognizing all Native American Code Talkers.
Then, on November 20, 2013, the largest Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony was held in Washington D.C. at the Capitol. Emancipation Hall was filled wall to wall, and I had a chance to attend with my family. It was a dream I never knew I had!
Everything happened at just the right time. Our kids were older, and we all traveled to this once in a lifetime event together.
So…persevere. Have patience. Keep learning. And you will find your dreams come true at the perfect time in your life!