The Bemidji Pioneer published a fantastic profile of Planned Parenthood educator Anna Goldtooth on how a chance encounter set her on a path to rediscover herself and re-examine her roots.
From the interview:
Goldtooth made the decision to major in Indian Studies at BSU, which helped her connect more deeply to her culture. During her coursework, she began realizing that the people she was reading about in books were not strangers, but her ancestors and relatives. She learned about traditional cultural beliefs and practices that contained valuable wisdom for today. She also became aware of the atrocities her people faced in the past, such as having their children taken and placed in abusive boarding schools, forced sterilization of women, the outlawing of their spiritual ceremonies and traditions, and the suppression of their language.
Doing some personal research, she found her friends could identify relatives who were given experimental birth control against their will by health professionals, and her own great-grandmother (and namesake) died during childbirth from medical mistreatment. She started to see how this historical trauma was affecting her community today, and the information empowered her. "I felt like I could see the bigger picture of what's going on," she says. "Indian Studies really gave me the tools and the language to talk about the experiences that we've had. That's given me more confidence."
That confidence led her to apply at Planned Parenthood, where she now uses the knowledge and tools she's gained to empower other young people. "This work is very personal for me." she states. "It's not just a way to get a paycheck. I'm talking about the things that me or my friends experienced growing up."
We're so lucky to count smart, genuine women like Anna as colleagues at Planned Parenthood. Read the full profile here.