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Be Your Authentic Self: Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Harbin Clinic is proud to continue its “Be Your Authentic Self” series and celebrate Native American Heritage Month. When we bring our authentic selves to work and celebrate our diversity, we connect with others in a genuine way that boosts engagement and enhances our colleagues’ ability to care completely for one another and, most importantly, our patients.

To build on the series, we celebrate Native American Heritage Month with some of our employees’ personal stories about their Native American culture and background.

Megan Teston, Lab Assistant

1. How does your heritage contribute to the person you are today?

I am proud of my heritage. I am part of the Mowa-Choctaw tribe that originates in a region that now includes Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Being Indigenous was fundamental to shaping me into the person I am today. My culture has a strong sense of community, respect for others and the environment, and the ability to adapt to changes. These are all influential in establishing my core values. The Native American culture is rich and lively, despite the adversities and obstacles many have experienced. Daily, my goal is to apply my ancestors’ tenacity and strength to fight for equity for all people in healthcare and everyday life. Relearning and exploring information that used to be withheld from us and using it to empower myself and my community has been rewarding and encouraging.

Megan Teston, Lab Assistant

2. What’s something you appreciate most about your culture?

 In addition to the social aspects of being Native American, the importance of being a responsible steward of the land is integral to our culture. Finding a way to recycle and upcycle as much as possible instead of relying on single-use products, growing as much of our food during the summer as we can, and researching native, forgeable foods are a few accessible examples of engaging in my heritage. I believe that the personal responsibility to enrich the land and its people is one of the most admirable qualities of being a Native American.

Rebecca Wheeler, Licensed Practical Nurse

1. How does your heritage contribute to the person you are today?

When I was a child, my family moved from Oklahoma to Georgia.  My great-grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee.  I am a tribal member of the Cherokee Nation. I am honored to be a part of its history.  In addition, I share the heritage of my mother’s family, both of which have molded me into the person I am today.  One of the beautiful things about my heritage is that I was raised to treat others with kindness.

I am proud of my heritage and have kept stories, pictures, and mementos that have been handed down through generations. As a result, it taught me to work hard and not take anything for granted.

Rebecca Wheeler, Licensed Practical Nurse

2. What’s something you appreciate most about your culture?

Something that I appreciate about my culture is the strength and resilience of the Native American people. Throughout history, we have overcome many adversities and hardships. Within my family and outside my family, I am honored to be a part of a strong and preserving culture.

Published November 10, 2021