Late nights, early mornings of a PhD program

It’s been months since I’ve posted blog thoughts out loud. As I am in the last year of my program, I realize this is incredibly challenging. Suffice to say, in all that challenge… it is also an amazing privilege. Not easy, but amazing as in, “I can’t believe I just did that” amazing or “What the fuck was I thinking?” amazing. On days when I get approval and permission to carry on, say like for instance when IRB emails their approval it’s awesome. Or when my prof sends edits to share I need to add more to what I thought was the most amazing work I’ve submitted. Pretty much, this program has grown me.

I’ve endured some pretty tough challenges with family and personal life. Despite those challenges, I’ve managed to get through this far. Not only have I gone through coursework, qualifying exams, proposal, and working on a defense; I’ve also been a mom, daughter, sister, niece, Aunty, friend, partner and through each relationship with everyone, I grow and am still learning somethings.

While I’ve lived out the last seven years in this program at university, I’ve had the privilege to engage with some incredible members of my home community, and those from throughout Indian country and those north of the Medicine Line and south of us from Mexico to South America. At the moment I feel pretty blessed to have met some amazing people. I give mad props and have the utmost respect for those who’ve completed their PhD’s.

Honestly, this has been one of the toughest parts of my program. I mean, I’ve been to that place where I’ve felt like saying “heck with this” and accept that ABD status is fine. I completed coursework and could easily get a job, I even contemplated a request from elders to serve the community. After consulting with my nearest and dearest friends, I humbly and respectfully declined. Deep down inside, I understand I’ve got to finish this. For what’s its worth, I know I’m exactly where I am meant to be.

Which leads me to this next part of this blog thoughts out loud… I get asked this million dollar question… “What are you going to do when you’re done?”. I realize that I’m here to learn and love to learn, but of all the things I’ve learned in my dense readings, seminars, conference proposal writings to the next steps of publication, that I just want to learn more about my ancestors.

In all truth, what I’ve learned and unlearned is that I have ancestors who died fighting. And for those who survived, they endured cultural genocide and colonization. Today, I am here because of my ancestors. I am here because my great-great grandparents fought and resisted colonization, and as result my great-grandparents were born and they had my grandparents, and well, as a result of my parents… I am here. No brainer right? Classic #Indigenous human evolution. Well, living and learning how to be in this world as an #Indigenous woman; on Mother Earth, underneath Father Sky with a more purpose driven life (especially for those yet to come) is not always so easy. Especially while living in an “imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy” society! (hooks, 1984 & 2000)

After all that is said and done, at night, when the dust of the day has settled, or in the wee early morning hours of writing when I hear the clock ticking, the dogs breathing and dreaming, and the refrigerator humming, to be honest, I want a simple life. Enjoy the simple things like; the sounds of the morning birds while I’m savoring a fresh cup of coffee at sunrise, watch a beautiful sunset with someone I love up in the mountain meadows, sit by a camp fire, go for a run, take the boys out on a hunt with the bows, listen to the sound of snow falling, watch the rivers freeze up during winter, and later, see chunks of ice floating down the river. And when spring arrives, prep for another turkey season and see the melt off and the beautiful rivers turn muddy brown from run off. All of it in anticipation for the next season of summer when the fish run and gathering happens, and when fall arrives, head out into the hills again to hear the beautiful and majestic sounds of elk whistles.

You see there is so much more that I want to do when I’m done with this program. I mean, some days I want to be a better shot with a rifle. However, between work, school, and a family life, I’m not able to get out as often as I’d like for the life of me due to a deadlines, program requirements, and family life; not to mention the personal life challenges.

Due to late nights and early mornings, shoot, some days I just want to sleep a normal schedule. All this to say… when I’m done with this program, pretty much, I want to get out on the land more and hear the hills talk because I know that’s where my ancestors live.



hooks, b. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1984.

2 thoughts on “Late nights, early mornings of a PhD program

  1. Reading this post, I am left with a very broad smile. May you enjoy the shoot.


  2. I have come back to spend more time with this post. I think/hope I understand (or rather, I understand my version of it) the need to learn. Maybe it is deeply embedded in the need for context, that which is so easily ripped away in genocide. I hear in your writing a desire to understand and give away, to become a teacher in the best sense of the word. Perhaps you are engaged in a project that will give more to your community than they can imagine.


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